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As a child Zoë Bell had no real idea that she could be a stuntwoman – that is, until her father, a doctor, came home with a phone number procured while treating a stuntman for a head injury. Bell made the call and soon after this innovative woman had her first stunt job – jumping out of a car in Shortland Street. That was in 1992 when Bell was just 14 years old. Since then she has been beaten up, set on fire, thrown out of high-rise buildings, ridden on the bonnet of speeding cars and much, much more.
Bell began regular stunt work on local productions Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and then Xena: Warrior Princess (by season four she was Xena’s stunt double), before moving to Hollywood. Her big break came when she was cast as Uma Thurman’s stunt double in the Tarantino film Kill Bill. Bell’s talents as a stuntwoman were recognised in the 2004 documentary Double Dare, which focuses on her and veteran stuntwoman Jeannie Epper. Since that time Bell has also taken on acting roles, and won numerous awards for her stunt work.
In this extract from a Close Up interview, recorded when she was in Aotearoa promoting Double Dare, Bell practices a few stunts on reporter Haydn Jones while talking about her career.
Watch more about Zoë Bell:
Driver distractions with Zoë Bell, television commercial for Auckland Transport, 2019.
Zoë Bell talks to the Hollywood Reporter about her early career.
Read more about Zoë Bell:
Kiwi stuntwoman Zoë Bell talks Taika, Tarantino and saving ugly animals.
Image: Screengrab from Close Up, courtesy TVNZ.
Catalogue Reference TZP605422
Reporter: Haydn Jones