Z is for Zoë Bell!
I vaguely knew of Zoë Bell from her stunt work on the two Kill Bill movies for Quentin Tarantino - but I hadn't yet seen those movies when I saw Grindhouse in 2007. I marvelled at Bell's work - acting and stunts - in the Tarantino portion of the double feature - Death Proof.
Zoë Bell was born in Waiheke Island, New Zealand. Her mother was a nurse; her father, a doctor. When she was in her teens, her father treated an injured stuntman and got his phone number to give to Zoë. She was already involved in gymnastics, Taekwon-Do, dance, high diving, scuba, and track and field. She called, and soon did her first stunt work for a New Zealand soap opera called Shortland Street.
After that she started doing stunt work for both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena: Warrior Princess, which kept her busy for several seasons. She eventually moved up to being Lucy (Xena) Lawless's main stunt double in that show's fourth season.
More TV stunts followed. Then, Bell was hired as one of the doubles for Uma Thurman for the Kill Bill movies. Initially she was only supposed to do smash and crash stunts - going into walls, being thrown across the room, etc - but she proved such a good double that with some sword training she became the main stunt and fighting double for Thurman.
This led to Tarantino writing Death Proof for her - in it she plays herself, menaced by a man (Kurt Russell) who kills with his specially rigged car - he can slam it into other cars and live through it because it is - as the title states - Death Proof. Only Bell's extraordinary stunt skills allows her to survive his attack.
Because stunt work is so visual and visceral - we need some video for illustration - here's a nice montage from Artemis Chosen - thanks, Artemis!
Bell has since appeared as an actress and stunt double in every movie Tarantino has made since - of course, that's only two - Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. But she's done other acting and stunt work - notably doubling Sharon Stone in the ill-received Catwoman movie starring Halle Berry and in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
I adore Zoe Bell - and wish even more movies and TV shows would feature her - I think she's smoking hot - and combined with her accent and her amazing stunt abilities - va va va voom indeed!
And that brings the A-Z Challenge to an end - but you know what - in an extraordinary coincidence - the Challenge always seems to end on my birthday! (Not really a coincidence, by the way)
To celebrate, I always throw in something extra to this post - let's see what we can get up to...
Let's let the ladies serenade me in three clips from some fave flicks...
First up - PJ. Soles and Rock-n-Roll High School -
Second is Renee Zellweger from Empire Records -
And last but not least E.G. Daily from Better Off Dead!
Happy Birthday to me!
Until next post - late this week - I'm taking a few days off - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!