Stunt Actor to the Stars – Part two

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Marlee Barber, in demand as a stunt actor

In part two of this profile, stunt Actor Marlee Barber discusses being set on fire, working on a Jackie Chan movie and appearing in high profile television commercials. Marlee also shares a fun must-watch video of her practicing stunts on the family farm!

Twenty-three year old former Walla Walla girl Marlee Barber is a tough act to keep up with.

Although she’s only a few years into her career as a Stunt Actor, she’s already hit some highlights, including working on a Jackie Chan movie.

“…what we call a full torch – where your whole body is on fire.”

“Jackie has been in Sydney filming for his new film, Bleeding Steel,” Marlee said.

“It was all over the media because he shot a fight scene on the Opera House, which was a huge deal.

Marlee works with Jackie Chan on his latest movie
Marlee works with Jackie Chan on his latest movie

“I was lucky enough to get a couple of days on camera doing a little stunt acting and actually got a scene with Jackie himself.

“All the stunties were very jealous of me, because there was a moment on camera of just Jackie and I – so we’ll see if it makes it in the final cut.”

Another favourite moment is something quite chilling – being set on fire for Australian drama Secret City aired on Foxtel.

“The story line is the girl is in China and she’s protesting, so she douses herself in petrol and sets herself alight in a public place,” Marlee said.

“It was a very special moment because it’s not often people write into their scripts that a woman is burnt, because people don’t want to see that.

“So when I got offered the job, it was almost like, this could be the only time in my career that I do what we call a full torch – where your whole body is on fire.”

Marlee is set on fire for a stunt in drama Secret City. Photo: supplied by Marlee
Marlee is set on fire for a stunt in drama Secret City. Photo: supplied by Marlee

It’s a stunt that is performed to very strict safety standards.

“You have to have a team of six stunt people assisting,” Marlee said.

“Everyone is given one job, and that job has to be done perfectly, because any little slip up and it is your body on fire, so it has to be done 100%.

“It is a very adrenalin filled moment, but you’ve also got to stay calm and do your performance – because you’ve got to act as well, taking directions from your stunt coordinator and your director.

“I had to take a fall onto concrete, landing on my stomach while on fire.

“The second take I did, the director was so happy because it looked like I collapsed and landed face first onto the concrete.

“They want it to be natural – they don’t want it to look like, ‘Oh, I’m ready to fall over and I’ll put my arms out.

“There are a lot of things going on, so you’ve got to keep your cool.”

While dramas and action films are a stunt actor’s dream, the 23-year-old also enjoys appearing in television commercials.

“A recent commercial for Toyota was a pretty big job,” Marlee said.

Marlee featured in a commercial for Toyota
Marlee featured in a commercial for Toyota

“It was for their end of financial year sale and ran for two months and involved a lot of leaping over different obstacles, jumping from building to building.

“It was a very physically demanding job and I enjoyed being able to act in it as well, so now I get called to auditions for acting, not just stunt work.

Marlee leaps into action for a Toyota commercial
Marlee leaps into action for a Toyota commercial

“Another good commercial I did was the Australia Day Lamb ad.

“It was called Operation Boomerang and I was one of the special op’s who was rescuing everyone.

“It was funny, because dad’s a lamb farmer, so when I was asked to audition for it, I was saying to myself ‘I have to get this job, I have to get it for dad’, so when I got it, I was pretty happy.”

Marlee’s next goal is to work overseas.

Marlee as a stunt double to Elodie Yung for feature film Gods Of Egypt
Marlee as a stunt double to Elodie Yung for feature film Gods Of Egypt

“A lead double role is what you want – to get that international job where you sign for six weeks, three months or six months.

“It’s a lot about networking, promoting yourself and having the right personality as well as skill set.”

You can read part one of Marlee’s story here http://bordercafe.com.au/2017/01/19/stunt-actor-to-the-stars-part-one/

To highlight Marlee’s commitment to training, she put together a fun video of stunts on her family farm at Walla Walla. Click below to watch it.