Paul Lacovara is a premiere Hollywood Stunt Performer. His resume is very extensive and many will recognize the films Mr. Lacovara has worked in. He was kind enough to grant InvestComics an Interview.
Hello Paul, first let me thank you for taking the time to come on to InvestComics so that comic book fans can learn more about your craft. You perform stunt work in the Avengers movie coming out this May, but more on that later…..we hope!
Jay Katz: So Paul, the first oblivious question(s)here would have to be, Where are you from and when did you first realize you wanted to be a stunt performer?
Paul Lacovara: I was born on the Central Coast of California in the city of San Luis Obispo and was raised on the outskirts in a town called Los Osos. I always wanted to be in the industry and actually wanted to be an actor first, but found out that I am better with the physical side of things rather than remembering dialogue. I finally came to the realization that I wanted to be a stuntman when I was working on the movie We Were Soldiers. I started as an extra but got a day of stunts and fell in love with action right away.
JK: How long have you been doing this line of work?
P.L. I started pursuing stunts about ten years ago but have really been working steadily for the past six or seven years.
JK: You have an extensive resume to say the least, have you ever taken the role as the guy that doesn’t put himself in harm’s way, well better said, as an “actor”? Or would you just prefer the dangerous game of stunting?
P.L. I would love to be an actor, but I think I would really need to put stunts on hold and start studying the craft of acting in order to be successful. I’ve had a few acting parts here and there but only minor roles. If I were to make that transition, I think I would really miss the action as well as the comradery between the stunt players and myself. I also think I wouldn’t get as big of a rush from delivering a good size monologue as I do a good rough and tumble fight scene, getting thrown thirty feet through the air, or jumping a car.
P.L. There haven’t been too many times where I have been uncomfortable with a particular spot. If I do have concerns, I talk with my stunt coordinator or fellow stuntmen to see what they think, and we end up working it out. If there is a spot where a stuntman is totally uncomfortable with the action, it might mean he/she shouldn’t be there and someone else should be doing it. We don’t accept jobs where we aren’t qualified. If so, that is a good way to end a career; either by word of mouth or actually getting hurt.
JK: Do you have fear in your line of work or do you have to basically have a block?
P.L. I wouldn’t say I am fearful when I go to work, but at times we may get nervous because there can be a lot of pressure that comes with executing the stunt properly. Or sometimes you know you are going to get absolutely wrecked in the stunt and it is going to hurt, but that’s what you sign up for and sometimes you just gotta throw down and go for it. I think as stunt performers, we get an adrenaline rush whereas the average person would become fearful.
JK: You have a family, what would you say if your wife or child decided that they too wanted to do your line of work? Is it like having your tattoo in the sense that; “well you can do it….”
P.L. I am not sure if I want my son to get in to the business or not. I used to think, “Of course he’ll be a stuntman, what else is there!?” but that was
early on in my career, and before I actually had a son. Now that my boy is two years old and is the one, besides my wife, who gives meaning to my life, I don’t know if I want him risking his life just so someone can sit in a theater and say, “Oh that was cool!” I want him to do whatever makes him happy. If that means being a stuntman, then I will fully support him and teach him everything I know. I think many children of stuntmen don’t have a choice. –By that, I mean that the kid sees that Daddy has a really cool job, makes a good amount of money doing it, and the kid may go to set with his Dad here and there, and before he knows it, stunts just becomes a way of life. It’s kind of a natural progression to form a career as a stuntman if a family member is already successful. It is almost like they are raised in the business whether they like it or not. –That being said, my kid will probably be a stuntman.
JK: Being a stunt person requires to be in tremendous physical shape. Do you practice the martial arts as part of your training to perform on your job?
P.L. Martial arts has always been a part of my life. I remember my dad teaching me how to correctly throw punches in the backyard when I was about five years old, and since then, some form of martial arts has constantly been beckoning me. I always trained off and on, and when I got into this business is when I finally became dedicated to my training and earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I also think it is important to not get tied into one form of training though, so I am always trying to mix it up with different disciplines.
JK: I noticed you are a UFC fan. Do you have a favorite fighter and why?
P.L. I think Chuck Liddell is one of my favorite guys because we are from the same town (San Luis Obispo) and we actually used to know each other when I was a bartender. Most recently I found myself favoring GSP, simply because he is so well rounded and has just been unstoppable.
JK: As said before, your resume is ridiculous. Movies you’ve worked in include Pirates of the Caribbean 4, The Green Hornet, Hulk, Thor, Paranormal Activity 2, Transformers 1,2, and 3, just to name a few. The one stand out I wanted to ask about is the Star Trek movie where you earned a Screen Actors Guild Award. What was that like for you to win such a prestigious award?
P.L. For the record, I didn’t work on Transformers 3. I got called for it, but it didn’t work out in the end. As for Star Trek, I am proud of being part of such a great project and such a phenomenal stunt team. There were so many talented individuals on that show and I was happy to just be part of it and work with such wonderful people. There are quite a few of us in this industry who have won a SAG Award and it’s nice for the stunt department to get a little recognition. Most of the general public doesn’t realize we even exist. In fact, some of the other award committees seem to forget we exist at all, but it is nice for SAG, our union, to realize we are such an integral part of the movie making process. Without us, you simply can’t have an action film. How interesting it is for us to risk our lives when making a movie or television show and barely get a nod when it comes to award season. We aren’t in it for the award; that’s not what we are about. But it is nice to get it, nonetheless. Also, how boring would it be to just watch drama after drama, after drama!!! Thank God for the stunt department!
JK: Some of your movies fall within or right at the feet of the comic book entertainment genre. Are you a comic book fan?
P.L. I haven’t always been a comic book fan, but since the entertainment industry has been moving that direction, I can say I am definitely more into it than ever before.
JK: What superhero movie would you like to see come to the big screen? Why?
P.L. Ya know, as long as Loki is there to defeat that superhero or be a part of the team, I couldn’t care less who comes to the big screen (laughing). Team Loki all the way!
JK: Your body of work extends to television as well, CSI: New York, Alias, CSI: Miami, Bones, Scrubs, etc is there a difference as far as your approach for television or is the same every time you go out?
P.L. My approach to my job is the same whether it’s for television or features. I train hard and come to work prepared no matter the size of the project. I am always ready to throw down and help the stunt team be as successful as possible.
JK: Do you have aspirations of getting behind the camera one day as a full time director?
P.L. I would definitely like to get behind the camera more. I have been doubling many of the leading actors, making a decent living, and am now ready for a bit more. Most recently I’ve been focusing quite a bit on coordinating and as my career evolves, would like to eventually make my way into second unit directing, which will allow for more expression of creativity and innovation.
JK: You have a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, Minors in Geography & Anthropology.That’s impressive. Ever going to use that?
P.L. While I don’t think I will ever go into any of those fields professionally, I do use sociology every day. I am always studying how people interact with each other and find the behavior of people within their society very interesting. I also think everyone should study anthropology. It just makes sense of our evolution and existence on this planet. I could expand more, but that’s another interview in and of itself!
JK: Okay so you worked in this movie that has the entire comic book world buzzing. The buzz became heighten during the Superbowl when Marvel aired a new trailer. This movie looks Spectacular! Of course we’re talking Avengers here. Now knowing that you are bound by the confidentiality waiver they make you sign, but can you give us a little bit of insight?
P.L. Oh man! I wish I could give you some insight! All I can say is that I am so proud to be a part of this movie! Not only is it such a great ensemble of thespians but also such a great collaboration of stunt professionals. There is such a huge amount of action in this movie and we have some of the industry’s best actors; with those two combined, I really think this is going to be one of the best comic book films/action movies of all time! No matter what movie comes next, The Avengers is always going to rank at the top!
JK: So what’s after the Avengers movie that we can all watch in awe over you?
P.L. You’re too kind! I wrapped filming on R.I.P.D. a few weeks ago where I doubled Ryan Reynolds and that will be coming out in 2013. It’s another big action movie and should be a big hit! Since then, I have worked on a couple commercials for Target and Dr. Pepper 10. Those should be out in the next month or so.
JK: Attached to this interview is a You Tube video with various stunts that you have performed. Is there any place else fans can see Paul Lacovara or keep up with your work?
P.L. That video is my old stunt reel. It’s a bit dated and I will be getting another one out soon. I think it will be a bit shorter and more action packed with some recent footage. The best place to keep up with my work is probably imdb.com. I don’t do twitter or anything like that, but keep my resume on imdb.com fairly current.
Jay Katz: Thank you so much Paul, we look forward to seeing you in the Avengers movie! Continued success, and be safe!
P.L. Thank YOU so much and hopefully we’ll be talking again in the near future!