Luci Romberg! I would like to help everyone get to know stuntwoman Luci Romberg. She has done some amazing things and is capable of so much more. As has been mentioned here before, she has worked on several shows and movies including: True Blood, Monk, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Heroes, Zombieland, and Chuck. That is only the beginning of her work. She is also a freerunner and is the only female member of Team Tempest. You can check out her work at http://www.luciromberg.com/.
Luci was also one of the winners of the G4’s American Ninja Warrior Challenge and went to Japan twice to compete in the Ninja Warrior competition. G4 is holding another competition with the deadline for video submissions just last week on August 9. However, they will be holding open casting tryouts soon near Los Angeles. I certainly hope G4 is smart enough to take Luci back for a third try. I’m just guessing, but I bet they don’t get many women competitors trying out for Ninja Warrior, or at least not enough awesome ones like Luci. I did get to talk to Luci about Ninja Warrior, but that will be in part 2 of the interview.
So how did this woman get her start as a professional stuntwoman? She was in college at TWU (Texas Women’s University) and one of her gymnastics teammates, who was a few years older, had graduated and gone to California where she got into stuntwork. When she came back to visit Luci, she told her all about it and got her interested in it too. So after Luci graduated college, she moved to California to try it out and the rest is history.
AFC: Which jobs have you enjoyed working on the most?
Luci: I had a blast working with Clint Eastwood on Changeling. He’s awesome. Then Indiana Jones, that was amazing.
AFC: Did you get to work with Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf?
Luci: Yeah, they were both great. I also worked on a movie called Zombieland. That was so much fun. We were on location in Georgia. I was doubling Abigail Breslin. We had a blast. We were working nights, so we’d go hang out afterwards and not sleep much, but it was a lot of fun.
AFC: I saw the preview for that – it looked really good.
Luci: Yeah, it’s pretty fun. It should be good. I’m in the trailer. I’m on the back of the van in this ugly yellow princess dress. It’s really funny. Ridiculous! It was a lot of fun.
AFC: Which film was the most physically challenging for you?
Luci: I don’t know honestly. I worked on a show last week called Super Dave and I was doubling an actress, but she wasn’t there that day, so it was only me. We had 5 different setups so I was going, going, and going. I had to climb a tree really fast and do a bunch of free running and bail out of a car. It was fun. Then I worked on a Kid’s Choice Award promo with the Rock, and I had to jump off of this 17-foot ledge a bunch of times. That was kind of tiring. I guess that’s it. It’s so hard for me to remember. I don’t know why.
AFC: Well, you’ve done so many. Do you suffer any injuries a lot being a stuntwoman?
Luci: Well, yeah. My friend Lisa Hoyle, she doubles Keira Knightley and we have a game where we take pictures of our bruises or our cuts and scrapes and we email them to each other and call them our “souvenirs.” She worked on Friday the 13th last week and she sent me a picture saying, “Oh look at my souvenir.” And like her entire leg is bruised. It may definitely happen, but it’s mostly bumps and bruises for the most part. You do suffer some injuries, but that’s the point of why we are professionals. I mean, everyone could do what we do once, but the point is to be able to get back up and do it over and over again to get the shot.
AFC: So have you suffered any severe injuries?
Luci: No, not too bad. Not while I was on set. During training I broke my jaw one time and I broke my finger in training but nothing major while I was working on set. That’s good. I’ve been lucky so far.
AFC: How did/does your family feel about your work?
Luci: My family supports me. My parents would probably rather have me use my degree, but they are very happy for me, and they’re happy that I love what I do, you know. My brother is 2 ½ years younger than me. He graduated college and he came out for the summer to LA to visit me. I kind of introduced him to the business because he’s a really good athlete. Now he’s starting out also. We are actually buying this house together.
AFC: He’s following in his big sister’s footsteps.
Luci: Yeah (laughs). It’s hard because my friends are always like “Oh, keep us informed on what you’re doing.” But I don’t do that because I don’t want them to think “It’s all about Luci.” It’s just my job, you know what I mean, so I don’t really tell people when I’m going to be on. My close friends I do, but it just makes me kind of uncomfortable, you know.
AFC: Does it ever bother you or do you enjoy the fact that it’s not your face on the screen, and you guys are not always recognized?
Luci: I just love to work I just want to work whether I’m doubling somebody or playing a part or whatever. I just love to work and being on set. You know, just having fun and just doing what I love, so it doesn’t bother me if I get recognized or not. I do it for the love of the work.
AFC: That’s awesome. How has stunt work changed over time - from when you first started to now?
Luci: Well, I’ve only been here for 4 ½ years, but all the older guys I talk to and older women say residuals have greatly been affected. But it’s hard for me to relate to that because I was never in the era of when residuals were so great. From the stories they tell me and back in the ’60s some of my mentors worked 3-4 jobs in one day, which is unbelievable! Now we’re lucky to get one! The business has changed a lot. It used to be a very small, tight-knit community and now it’s just growing and growing, which is good, but bad at the same time. You have a lot of people who come out and are like “Oh I can do that” and come out and try to do it. I don’t know. It’s hard. It’s a tough business. It’s very competitive. It has changed a lot and is still changing with new media and everything. Residuals as we see it today is kind of going out the window. I guess time will tell.
Luci: Yeah, he’s great.
AFC: Oh, have you gotten to work with him?
Luci: I haven’t worked with him, but yeah, I worked out in his gym before.
AFC: Cool! He mentioned that he is seeing a lot of directors use CGI instead of having people do the actual stunts. Do you see this happening more often?
Luci: Absolutely! Even though I’ve only been in it for 4 ½ years, even in that time there is so much going to CGI and it looks like crap personally. Hopefully, they will figure out that they do need us more. But you know, there’s always going to be work for some people, it might not be as much as we would have liked but hopefully CGI will still look like crap so that we can actually still be employed.
AFC: There’s always just a fakeness about the CGI.
Luci: Totally! I can’t stand it. Spider-Man looks so stupid. I’m not ripping on Sam Raimi. He’s amazing, but I just don’t like it at all.
AFC: Do you find that there are more obstacles/prejudice just because you are female?
Luci: Kind of. I would say that it’s hard because not a lot of guys will hire women to do ND - nondescript - cop or the security guard or to get shot or the FBI agent to get shot. I worked on an episode of Chuck a month or so ago and I was shooting guns, and I got shot or whatever but they cut that out. I don’t know if it’s because people don’t want to see women getting shot or what. I don’t know what it is, but it’s getting better for women getting hired for those spots but it still doesn’t happen like for the guys. It’s still rare when you get that ND spot where you get shot. It’s hard too, but you know a lot of women kind of make us look bad. I don’t know what it is, maybe with their level of athleticism, but it’s getting better. So hopefully it will continue to improve women getting the ND spots. You know we can die just as well as the guys. It is getting better just a little bit. There are a lot of women who have worked many years to see that happen, so it’s cool to see that paying off just a little bit. It’s all baby stuff.
In part 2 of the interview, Luci talks about Ninja Warrior and freerunning.
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