Reality & The Impossible
For Jalil Jay Lynch, the stunt industry is not just about thrill, but about passion, health and determination
Most adrenaline junkies would sell their first born for a piece of the action Jalil Jay Lynch sees on a daily basis. At any given moment he's either pulling off bad-ass cycling maneuvers, or free falling - Jet Blue style.
As a 15-year stunt industry veteran, Lynch's career has seen more highs than Kate Moss during fashion week. After exploding on the scene in the 1991 urban-classic New Jack City, Lynch used his cinematic expertise on such titles as Collateral, Torque, Bad Boyz 2, and The Underclassman. This year alone has been a nonstop, action packed journey for the legendary stuntman - he's worked with R&B superstar Usher on Dying for Dolly, morphed into an actor in the highly anticipated Outkast film My Life In Idlewild and he's currently the stunt coordinator for the upcoming Showtime original television series Sleeper Cell. Further proving Lynch is the King of Daredevils - he's the most nominated person in the history of the World Stunt Awards. In true adrenaline junkie fashion, he's currently getting a fix assisting in action sequences with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx in the upcoming film Miami Vice.
MF: You seem to have one of the best jobs in the world! How did you get involved in the stunt industry?
Lynch: As a kid, I was inspired by shows like The Fall Guy and Dukes of Hazzard. When I got older I began fronting a business as a professional BMX racer. In the movie New Jack City three guys were injured doing motorcycle stunts. I was asked to try the stunts and the rest is history!
MF: Out of all the stunts you've done, what's your most favorite?
Lynch: That's very hard to decide... there are so many different types of stunts, but if I had to choose I would say car or motorcycles stunts, which is what I'm best known for.
MF: What is your most dangerous stunt?
Lynch: Every stunt has its difficulties and dangers. The stunt you take for granted could cost you your life. I would say the most difficult stunt is when you're working for people and not with them. Meaning, someone who feels like "you are working for me and do what I tell you to do" -- they tend to not have an open mind with their performers and that can be dangerous.
MF: How do you feel about actors who do their own stunts?
Lynch: Good one (laughs). Well, a stuntman is there to make an actor look their best - reality is my life and doing the impossible is more my business. As a stuntman I would say to actors, don't risk your own safety. Some production companies want actors to do pretty much everything, which makes it harder to keep things safe. My job is not to be detected by the audience. We have to assist them in performing to the safety parameters. I would ask actors to not take extreme risks because as professionals it's our job.
MF: You are now working with Jamie Foxx on Miami Vice. How is it working with him?
Lynch: Everything on Miami Vice is going great - I assist Jamie in his action sequences. He's a nice guy, easy to work with and concerned about the people he works with.
MF: Being that your work is so physical how do you stay in shape?
Lynch: I'm a member of Stunts Unlimited (www.stuntsunlimited.com), which helps me to stay healthy through outdoor exercises like jet skiing. It's tough to keep a good diet because I work late hours and it's hard to not eat at night. My weight varies depending on the actor I'm working with. If the actor is heavier then I lose weight because I have to put on pads and gear -- so I must be smaller to fit. I'm usually between 175 - 200 pounds. I work out three times a week and do a lot of cardio.
MF: What would you say to the average person who wants to get involved in the stunt industry?
Lynch: I would always advise them to follow their dream - jobs come and go in minutes and there's an overload of under qualified people in the stunt business who don't have a passion for the craft. It takes more than talent - you need passion.
MF: Once again, it sounds like you have one of the best jobs in the world!
Lynch: I do but the most important thing in my life is my two kids. This job is not for family. There are many days and months of not being around my family. There's no such thing as an advance notice, scheduling anything is close to impossible and there is no vacation. I am moving toward my goal to become a second unit director, which is the main director designed for getting all action shots - hopefully that will give me more time. However, I do love my job and I'm blessed to do what I love.