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Double Dare

Year: 2004
Production Co: Runaway Films
Director: Amanda Micheli
Cast: Zoë Bell, Jeannie Epper, Lynda Carter, Lucy Lawless, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino

When Zoë Bell first started to make headway in Hollywood off the back of her success with Xena: Warrior Princess, she was taken under the wing of veteran stuntwoman Jeannie Epper before she made it with her breakout gig, doubling Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. This is the story of how it happened.

The film crew happens to be there at the right time for a large number of focal points in the lives of both women circa 2001-2004. Epper is stunt royalty in Hollywood, having doubled for Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman TV series amid a myriad other roles.

And Bell is the tomboy gymnast from suburban New Zealand who didn't even know what a stunt performer was a few years before getting the job doubling Lucy Lawless on camp classic Xena. When it shut down and she found herself out of work, she went to Hollywood to try her luck, and the camera's there to document her and Epper's friendship and mutual support in several pivotal moments. We see Zoë showing her stuff in Tarantino's training gym, meeting the director for the first time and her disbelief at getting the call that she's got the job.

In between the loose chronology of the story with asides for awards shows and the other people in Jeannie and Zoë's lives, there's a good amount of talking head interviews, including those with luminaries like Tarantino himself and even Spielberg, who came of age as a director in Epper's heyday.

Plenty of documentaries lately don't even make particular secrets about how constructed they are, so it's hard not to wonder how much of the action on screen is truly unfiltered and genuine. But being Australian I recognised the disaffected, unselfconscious manner Bell showed, and it all seemed like quite uncensored, uncrafted reaction.

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