Interview With Stuntwoman Luci Romberg

By Ruth on March 29, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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People who execute stunts for a living never cease to amaze me, and thanks to the Artemis Film Festival, I have been able to connect with yet another phenomenal “kickass” stuntwoman, Luci Romberg. In spite of her incredibly busy schedule, Luci and I recently chatted about a wide variety of topics, including her work in the industry as well as her true passion. 

RH: It’s so nice to talk with you, Luci. Since you’re back east right now, am I to assume that you are filming something?

LR: Yes, I am doubling Anna Kendrick on Pitch Perfect 3.

I wondered if that’s what is might have been since it was listed on your IMDB as the next thing you were filming. Now, were you at the Artemis Film Festival last year?

I did happen to go. A bunch of my friends were on the panel, so I went and watched that. And then my friend, Paul Feig, was being honored, and so I stayed and watched him get his award. So I wasn’t involved with it; I was there as an audience member.

So was I. Last year was my first time to go. I found them as I was interviewing various filmmakers.

One of my friends invited me, and I didn’t know what it was. I tagged along with her, and I thought it was really cool.

And this year, you’re an honoree and getting your own award.

Yes, schedule permitting, I’ll be there.

Cool. So I was looking over your work, and you’ve had quite a career so far as a stuntwoman. So how did you end up choosing this as a profession?

I don’t remember ever knowing what a stuntperson was. Growing up, I just assumed that the actors did all of their own action. I don’t remember ever thinking, “Oh, there’s stuntpeople.” I was a national champion gymnast in college. I won the all-around my senior year. I was an all-league soccer player in college as well. It was always my goal to do two sports in college. So I accomplished that, which is awesome.

My senior year, a teammate of mine, who was a couple years older than me–her name is Natasha Hopkins–went out to LA doing stunts and acting. She came back to visit, and she was telling me all about it and encouraging me to do it, too. She asked what I was doing after I graduated, and I had no idea. So she said that I should come to LA and try stunts. And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds awesome. I have nothing going on, so that sounds really cool.”

So I spent the summer in Europe, and January 1st, 2005, my mom helped me drive across the country, and I moved to LA. I was trying to figure out how the heck to do it and what to do, and that’s kinda half the battle. Figuring out how it’s done.

Photo Credit: Jason Paul

I am absolutely fascinated by what stuntpeople do. I knew there were stunts, but I never really thought about it till I went to the Artemis last year. I think a lot of viewers are like me–they just don’t think about it. While I’m not an expert, I greatly respect what you guys do. And my daughter will be attending the festival this year, too. She is going to love it because she loves action films more than I do.

That’s just so neat! I’m so glad.

 

Looking at your most recent works, you were in Ghostbusters. I have not had the opportunity to see it yet, but I have definitely wanted to.

It’s really good. It’s really funny. A lot of people talk crap about it because of the whole “woman” thing, but whatever. I do understand. I mean, if I wasn’t in the movie, I might think, “Why would you ever remake Ghostbusters?” But I think people need to give us a chance.

Another thing that hurt us too was China. They won’t release anything that’s supernatural, and that’s half the world’s freakin’ population! And they won’t see it because the Chinese government won’t allow it. So that sucks.

Oh my goodness!

I doubled for Melissa McCarthy in that movie. And now there is a clause in her contract that states that any movie she makes, I am her stunt double. Which is awesome. I love her so much. She is one of the most amazing, hard-working, intelligent, awesome people that I know. I feel super fortunate and grateful to be a part of that team.

With Melissa McCarthy on the set of Ghostbusters

That is so cool! I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone who knows Melissa McCarthy. My experience has been that people either love her or hate her. There doesn’t seem to be anything in between.

I just don’t see how anybody could hate her.

Well, you know how it is nowadays. People think they can say whatever they want because they’re anonymous. So while I don’t know her, it’s really neat to hear from someone who does know her and has worked with her. Because no matter what someone may think about her, I think she has done a lot for women and really championed women’s causes.

You know, loyalty in this business is very rare, and for her to put her neck out for me and put me in her contract–that is a very rare thing. Aside from how funny, hard-working, and intelligent she is, the loyalty factor in itself is just mind-blowing to me. Most actresses don’t care who their stunt double is, and that’s fine and I totally get it. But for Melissa to bring me along in  this journey with her and to trust me the way she does… that is the biggest compliment, in my opinion, that a stuntperson can get. She has made my life so much better. She’s given me so many incredible opportunities. My career wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is today without Melissa. I am forever indebted to her, and I appreciate everything she does for me. I love her. She is frickin’ awesome!

That is truly impressive! I’m so glad to hear that. You know, I’ve never talked to anyone who had negative things to say about her, but all the garbage that comes across the internet…I don’t believe seventy-five percent of what I read. I think some people don’t like her because she is such a strong woman and she is such an activist. Some people can’t deal with strong women. 

Very true.

But what you said about loyalty–that is exactly right. It does not happen much in this business. 

Oh, so true.

Back to your recent works, you were also in the new Jason Bourne movie. 

Yes, I was. We shot it about a year ago in Vegas. We were there for three weeks shooting all the Vegas stuff. I didn’t get a chance to see the movie, but basically he’s being chased all the way down the strip, and the car crashes into a casino. So I got to do some driving for that–it was a lot of fun. Gary Powell {stunt coordinator} has been really good to me. He’s a legend in the stunt business. He coordinates all the Bond movies. He’s unbelievable. Every time there is a spot available, he tries to throw me in. I’m super grateful and lucky to be on his list.

As I was looking through your credits, I noticed a short film you had done called Tru Beauty. What can you tell us about this film?

Yes, the idea behind Tru Beauty was that I wanted to shoot a Freerunning film. I was talking to my friends and my brother, and they suggested I put a story behind that. And I thought that was a great idea. I suffered with bulimia in college, and I wanted to give back in a way. You know, people look up to me because I’m a strong female that never deals with anything. They see me as super positive all the time. So I just wanted to put it out there that while I am a strong female, I suffer too. Basically my idea was to love yourself, and that is what I tried to put out there. If I could just help one person realize that it’s okay to suffer and not to be perfect all the time. So this film is my attempt to let women–and men too–know that it’s okay to deal with things like this. I want people to love themselves and be okay with who they are. Self-acceptance is key. It is a ten-minute film that you can see on YouTube. I highly recommend that you and your daughter watch it. I think everyone should watch it.

I definitely want to watch it. While I never experienced bulimia, I was obese for a good share of my life, and it is something I had to overcome. There’s a long story there, but it took several years to get to the point where I finally changed my lifestyle and lost the weight for the right reasons. I had to change my lifestyle, and when I did, it made all the difference. 

It’s all about consistency. People don’t get it. There’s a strong misconception about what it means to be healthy in this country and what exercise actually means. Eighty percent of weight, as you know, is diet. When I was growing up, my parents did their best, but they didn’t know what nutrition actually was. And now being in California and being in the business, you learn what it means to eat healthy. There are so many crazy misconceptions about what we should be eating and how much. So good on you for doing the research. So congrats to you for keeping the weight off.

© 2009 andy batt -photos of luci romberg – freerunner/parkour artist

Well, thanks. I think a lot of people have this idea that it’s gonna be a quick fix, but it’s not.

No, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. A diet means nothing. Recently, I watched this documentary called Overfed and Undernourished. And of course, we all know it, but one of the main points of the documentary is to only eat things made by the sun. We shouldn’t be eating things that are made by man in a white lab coat in a packaging place. That’s not what the human body was meant to eat. Our bodies don’t know how to break down things that are genetically modified by man. That really made sense to me. And I know it’s hard, and we all try our best. But the number one thing is consistency. And that’s why the word “diet” makes me angry! I don’t understand what that means! It’s a lifestyle, and I don’t get why you do it for just a few months. That’s not the way to bring about change. The weight is going to come back. But it’s nice to know that you and I are on the same page with that.

© 2009 andy batt -photos of luci romberg – freerunner/parkour artist

That’s right. Now, it seems that you are mainly listed as stuntperson. There’s some acting listed, but stunts are your main thing, right?

What some people don’t realize is that some stuntpeople are actors. I have no interest and no inspiration to be an actor at all. I enjoy doing the action, and I enjoy taking on the character of the actress. But for me, acting just doesn’t inspire me at all.

So as a stuntperson, do you have a typical workout routine or regimen you follow?

Do you know what Freerunning is and Parkour?

I actually don’t, no.

I’m an eleven-time world champion at Freerunning and Parkour. I’m a member of Tempest Freerunning–I’m the only female. Parkour is a discipline, and if you look it up, it will make more sense than just me telling you. The visuals make it easier to understand. It’s about efficient movement–getting from point A to point B–as fast as you can. Freerunning is about creativity and style without adding any unnecessary movements. Basically, we jump building to building. We jump off walls. It’s similar to gymnastics, but on the concrete. And the main part about that film Tru Beauty is Freerunning and how Freerunning changed my life.

I compete for Red Bull. We have a contest called the Red Bull Art of Motion. I’ve been top female eleven out of eleven times. I am undefeated. So that’s my main thing. I am a part of a team. We have three academies. We are the first people in the world to create an academy, and now there are academies starting to pop up everywhere. We are really pushing the art of Freerunning. So stunts is my job and I love it, but Freerunning is my true passion in life. I think Freerunning helped push my career in stunts because I was one of a very few women in the whole world who did it.

I also box. And I have also been getting heavily into hot yoga.  I do cardio. I do interval training on my own. I hike a lot. I go running with my dog. People always ask, “What’s the best exercise?” Exercise that is the best is the thing that you’ll do, the things that you enjoy. I love to move. I grew up playing every sport possible. My dad was a tennis coach for thirty-five years. My mom is sixty-six now, and she’s still a professional barrel racer in the rodeo. I grew up with athletic parents, and they required that my brother, my sister, and I had to do sports in high school. Athletics and movement has been such a part of my life. It’s my favorite thing to do. I started freerunning in 2008. Back then, most people that I asked about it didn’t know what it was. Now nine years later, most people that I ask tend to know at least a little bit about it.

Well, I wasn’t familiar with it–

–but now you are!

That’s right! And that’s one of the best parts of doing these interviews is I get to learn new things. So you’ve been filming Pitch Perfect 3. Anything else coming up you can mention?

I don’t know. I do a lot of TV. I work doubling Renée Felice Smith {NCIS Los Angeles}. I am hoping Santa Clarita Diet gets picked up for another season on Netflix. I doubled Drew Barrymore on that.

That show has created a lot of buzz. I have not seen it yet, but I’ve heard a lot about it.

And also Office Uprising. I doubled Jane Levy–I’ve actually doubled her before. That was a lot of fun. And recently, Melissa and I did a Superbowl commercial, and I doubled her on a film we just finished that won’t be released till 2018.

It sounds like you are keeping busy, and that’s a good thing. So thank you, Luci, for your time today. I’ve learned so much, and you’ve inspired me, and I’m sure you’ll inspire my readers.

My pleasure, Ruth. Nice chatting with you.

With Melissa McCarthy

I admire the fact that Luci is so transparent about her true passion in this world and even her personal struggles. In fact, I watched Tru Beauty, as she recommended, and I found that it was incredibly inspiring. In fact, I could barely look away from the screen. I was fully enraptured and even found myself getting emotional at times just because I could see and feel her passion. Everything I’ve seen of Luci’s work has been mesmerizing and overwhelming, and I cannot believe how fortunate the stunt world and the human race in general is to have such a motivational, genuine, impassioned woman like her in their midst. She doesn’t flaunt what she does; she shares it. And through it all, her humility and “true beauty” shines through. No, she may not be a glamorous, raving beauty that walks the red carpet in some slinky dress with perfectly coiffed hair and designer stilettos. No, instead when she wears that kind of ensemble, she is expected to do some of the most aggressive and energetic stunts known to man! Luci’s inner beauty irradiates to every ounce of her being, and just chatting with her or watching her on the screen gives one a sense of awe and exhilaration that if she can be herself in front of the screen, it’s okay for us to be ourselves too. Flaws and all! While I cannot guarantee that I will see her at the Artemis Film Festival next month (schedules and frenzied activity can keep that from happening), I am so grateful to the team at the festival for recognizing this powerful, stimulating, kickass female who has truly embraced everything about herself, and in so doing, she has paved the way for all of us to feel that we can do the same, no matter our insecurities, strengths, talents, or weaknesses. So please take a moment to check out all of Luci’s links below and consider watching the stunt reel I’ve posted and/or watching her Tru Beauty film on YouTube. I can guarantee that you will come away feeling enlivened, flabbergasted, and completely captivated by the wonder and marvel known as Luci Romberg!

FOLLOW LUCI

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

IMDB

 

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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