Interview: Stuntwoman Bridgett Riley (Watchmen, Catwoman, Power Rangers, and 5 Kickboxing Titles)

Bridgett Riley, woman of action.

Stuntwoman, boxer, superhero – Bridgett Riley is an action chick through and through. “Bridgett (Baby Doll) Riley” has electrified crowds in 45 professional fights, won kickboxing titles, and performed an amazing variety of stunt work, doubling for actresses in high profile films like Watchmen, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Jumper, Transformers, Pineapple Express, Serenity, Million Dollar Baby, Catwoman, Star Trek: Enterprise, and so many more.   

AFC: You have such an impressive resume between boxing and stunt work. 

Bridgett: Awwwww, thank you so much. I really appreciate that. 

AFC: What made you get into boxing? 

Bridgett: After karate, continuous fighting, and then 5 titles in kickboxing, well, boxing was the next best logical move for me. I wanted more action. I fell in love with boxing as a result of my kickboxing training. The team I had the privilege of being a part of based a great deal of their strategy in the game of ring war – on boxing. Blinky Rodriguez and Benny “the Jet’s” sister, Lilly Uquidez Rodriquez (my manager and trainer), favored a boxer’s style. I loved every moment of it. I was introduced and surrounded by not only talented kick boxers from all over the world, but great boxers. It was terribly thrilling and I couldn’t get enough of this enticing sport!  

AFC: How did you get into stunt work? How did you go from boxer to stuntwoman? 

Bridgett: I fell into stunt work after landing my first gig in Los Angeles on The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show. A talent manager spotted one of my training sessions at the Jet Center and asked if I’d be interested in reading for a part in the series that had not yet been shot over here in the U.S. I was like, ”Heck, yeah.” I played alongside “Bulk and Skull.” It was so much fun. A fellow actor/stuntman suggested I audition for the stunt team. I did, started working stunts, and this was my version of college that opened up several doors for me in stunts. I juggled stunt work with kick boxing back then which directed my path into boxing. 

AFC: Which projects were the most fun to work on? 

Bridgett: The first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie was a lot of fun. Being on location in Australia with my good friends was such a rewarding experience in so many ways. I had a good time on the TV series Martial Law. I played the character “Babydoll” on the Fox TV series WMAC Masters, shot in Orlando, Florida, and a season of that show not only taught me a lot but I had a blast with so many amazing martial artists. I loved working on the TV series Dollhouse. My boss was a skilled coach and it’s always so much fun to work with friends. Scary Movie 2 was one of the times of my life because I worked with a few of my very best friends. I enjoyed working on the movie Watchmen because I fell in love with the city, Vancouver. I got to learn cool fighting techniques and work with great stunt guys. 

AFC: Out of all of everything you’ve done, which project or boxing win are you most proud of /which one do you feel is your best work so far?  

Bridgett: My “Rocky” moment was my 1st boxing bantamweight world title defense live on ESPN 2. The girl from Liverpool boasted in the interview that it would not go past four rounds. This fight took place in Vegas and there were two HUGE billboards promoting the fight with my picture on them. Nothing like a little pressure. I was knocked down in the first round. I was so hurt and I do not recall how in the heck I was able to get up and stand unassisted on my own two feet. But I did. Amen. I came back and knocked her out in the 9th round. It was truly something and I will never forget it. Thank God I was able to recover and come back like the champion – by the grace of God and good training – I grew into.  

AFC: Which stunt job has been the most dangerous?  

Bridgett: Danger is often a factor. There is no “small” stunt. Everything must be checked and re-checked. Horrific accidents happen on “easy” gigs. I pray a lot. I was suspended 100 feet in the air on one small wire – that was a little gnarly. Jumping from the top of an SUV to the top of a moving car was a little tricky. Timing is big. I guess I specialize in fighting which takes timing and rehearsal, but I also love learning other stunts as well. Ratchets can be tricky and wire stunts can ding you up a bit. I did a stair-fall down concrete/steel-tipped stairs twice. That was a good time. I don’t know if one stunt stands out but I will say this business keeps me close to God and on my toes on the edge. 

AFC: Do you ever have that moment of regret right before you perform a stunt where you’re just like, “What the hell am I doing?” 

Bridgett: No, not in stunts. I get nervous, but I love it. I had that feeling in professional fighting. Getting judged, performing, and facing a person that wants to purposely knock you out cold…well, that made me feel like “WHAT am I really doing here?” but it always made me rise above the fear and move through it. I so dug that. 

AFC: How frequently do you get injured while performing stunts? 

Bridgett: I’ve had MANY bruises, cuts, bumps, and bang ups. Super sore at times. It’s part of it. I am used to it though from gymnastics in my youth, to martial arts, to professional fighting. Now stunts is like normal for me. I fall down well. I am a lil’ clumsy in life so it just makes sense that I do stunts, hehe. 

AFC: Any injury stories you can share with us? 

Delivering a head kick, doubling River in Serenity.

Delivering a head kick, doubling River in Serenity.

Bridgett: On the movie Serenity, a stunt guy had to go under me as I ran up another stunt girl and gainer flipped backwards off her chest on a wire. Well, the guy underneath me bashed heads with me and I was just about knocked out on my feet. I recovered though but it hurt so bad and I had to play it off. Sometimes the adrenalin is running so high that you look down and do not even realize you are bleeding. Weird. But cool. 

AFC: What kind of things do you do to keep in shape? 

Bridgett: I’m addicted to running. It’s one of my forms of therapy. I still prefer to train in boxing the best. I enjoy hiking and being outside. Sprints are good and stair climbing rocks. When I get to train w/ stunt people on fights, I dig that. I like kickboxing training as well. Muay Thai is one of my favorite ways to train and train others. 

AFC: To me, it seems like women of action are expected to perform in some kind of high heeled shoe or rather skimpy outfits, like the Silk Spectre. Have you had to perform a lot of stunts in this kind of apparel? How does it affect your work? 

Silk Spectre (Watchmen)

Silk Spectre (Watchmen)

Bridgett: This is part of the job. Women get minimal pads if any at times and high heeled shoes are sometimes a must depending on camera. Wardrobe sometimes makes us shoes that are stunt friendly. I like these wardrobe people. It just depends on the shot. The Silk Spectre outfit was horrifying to me. I was like, Ugh, I better lose weight. There was little room to hide anything. I had to do a full body cast for that suit. What a trip that was. I had a tiny outfit for the reshoots of Scorpion King as well. Ugh. I am just so self conscious and I have a few self esteem issues that I am working on, but one thing I know: I will not do nudity. That is just not for me. I have certain boundaries. I also feel that I have worked so hard to be taken seriously, respected, and not to be objectified.  

AFC: Do you feel like you are treated any differently in the boxing/stunt community just because you are female?  

Bridgett: I am respected in this arena. I had such an intense work ethic in the gym. Lily taught me that to. We were there to train. I was NEVER a gym bunny nor a stunt bunny. I worked hard for everything I got as a fighter and it goes a long way. (smiles

AFC: What was your role in Transformers? Did you have to work with any CG stuff, like, reacting to things that weren’t really there? 

Bridgett: I only worked a day on that show. It was fun though. Yes, we had to dodge imaginary things. That’s a lot of fun. I love love love acting.  

AFC: This is for my own curiosity: I have a friend, Elisabeth Fies who did some stunt work for Power Rangers as well. I know this is a long shot, but did you ever cross paths with her?  

Bridget: Awwww schucks. I do not think I know her, but I am bad w/ names and I’ve been hit in the head quite a bit. I started the show at the very beginning when we were still using Japanese footage. They went through a few stunt coordinators and MANY stunt players through all of the years. I worked the first years, did live shows all over the country, did one national commercial, and shot the first feature. It’s been such a great ride in my education for a future in stunt work. I still pinch myself that I get the opportunity to work in this exciting field. 

AFC: You have done stuntwork for comedies, science fiction, and action adventure, including a number of superhero movies (Catwoman, Watchmen)? How different is your actual work when you cross genres? 

Bridgett: Superhero movies seem to take a bit more rehearsal in specific movement. Usually it is an action design that is uniquely stylistic. Not to mention the outfits, Yikes. Comedies are a bit more light, but stunts are still stunts. I love it all. I love film. I love TV. I love MOVIES.  

AFC: Are you working on any other projects right now? 

Bridgett: I am in rehearsals, but want to keep that on the D.L. for now. (smiles

AFC: Where can people find you on the internet?  

Bridgett: My official site is www.babydollriley.net. Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. GOD bless you and everyone reading. 

Thanks, Bridgett. Thanks also go out ot http://twitter.com/swiv of the “Somewhere in Vegas” program for introducing us. 

Bridgett doubles and performs screen capture for video game WET.

Bridgett doubles and performs screen capture for video game WET.

Previous stunt pro interviews:
* La Faye Baker (Mission: Impossible 3, Star Trek) part 1 and part 2
* David Leitch (The Bourne Ultimatum, Wolverine, Confessions of an Action Star part 1)  and part 2
* Luci Romberg Part 1: Zombieland, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Super Dave
** Part 2: Ninja Warrior, Barclaycard Freerun Championships

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