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9 Actors That Showed off Real Skills In Movies


Whenever you see an actor do something in movies, there’s always a sense of disbelief added to it. Maybe they used a stunt man, had some special effects going on, set up some props or just flat-out used the perfect take out of dozens of failures. In some movies however, the actors displayed some impressive skills where no trickery of any kind was involved. Let’s take a look at some of those magic cinema moments.

Tom Holland – Spider-Man

A big part of the reason why Tom Holland was cast as Spider-Man, apart from being the perfect Peter Parker, is that he is a trained dancer and gymnast and actually inserted some gymnastics into his audition tape. So whenever you see Spider-Man flipping around and tumbling, most of the time that will in fact be Holland himself. He does most of the Spider-Man stunt work all by himself!

Lance Henriksen – Alien

One of the most iconic scenes of Alien will always be the knife trick that Bishop does to scare Hudson. Well, it turns out Lance can actually do this in real life and has had to demonstrate it multiple times because of that scene. He doesn’t always do it perfectly though: even on the take that was used in the film he caught Bill Paxton’s pinky finger with the knife.

Keanu Reeves – Youngblood

In fact, Keanu pretty much owes his whole career to the skill he gets to show off here. Keanu was a proficient hockey goaltender and was actually offered a chance to do a tryout at a major junior club. Keanu’s ambitions were never to actually have a career in hockey, however. He decided to go acting instead and earned his first big role in Youngblood as a goalie to Patrick Swayze. 

Jack Nicholson – The Shining

The most infamous scene of The Shining has to be when Jack grabs the fire axe and chops his way through the door. As they usually do in these scenes, they first had a prop door but since Jack Nicholson used to be a volunteer firefighter, he was a bit too good at axing through it. They actually had to get a reinforced door brought in so he could fully show his ability to smash through doors.

Bill Murray – Kingpin

In this movie, Bill Murray bowls three straight strikes at a certain point. This was in fact genuine and the reaction of the crowd was just as real as they saw Bill Murray do this on his very first attempt. Murray himself claims he hadn’t practiced at all before the scene and the co-director, Bobby Farrelly, had already warned the audience that he wanted Bill to throw three strikes so they might be there for a while.

Mandy Patinkin – The Princess Bride

Mandy Patinkin was a trained fencer, which allowed him to do the fencing scene and create one of the best known sword fights in cinema. Despite his training as a fencer, he still had to practice for eight hours a day for over two months so both he and his co-star Cary Elwes could do the fight scene left-handed and backwards. And they even had to learn each other’s moves.

Daniel Day-Lewis – The Last of the Mohicans

It’s no news to anyone that Daniel Day-Lewis is an extreme method actor, but he never went quite as far as he did for the filming of The Last of the Mohicans. He actually lived off grid for six months in preparation, teaching himself all kinds of survival skills. And even during filming, he refused to eat any food that he hadn’t hunted or gathered himself.