Hearing Gemita Samarra describe a typical day at work may make you wince.
“He kicks the table at my face, which pushes me off the chair. I try to hit him, but he slaps me down again. I get up, get slapped back down… I ended up getting kicked in the face more than I reckoned I would on that movie.”
You may remember this scene from the latest James Bond installment, Spectre. Don’t remember seeing Samarra? That’s because she was the stunt double.
Samarra, a Brit with Spanish roots who’s now living in Los Angeles, was born and bred with adrenaline running through her veins. The daughter of circus performers, the 22-year-old model/actress/stunt double got into horse show jumping and synchronized swimming as a kid and regularly tagged along with her older brother on rock climbing and kayaking missions.
By the time Samarra decided to get into what she describes as “sport modeling” at 17, the writing was on the wall. “There was a role for which they needed someone who could perform underwater,” she remembers. “That’s when I discovered that stunts was even a job someone could have. I talked to the stunt coordinator on that shoot about the work, and from that day, I decided to train really hard and see where it took me.”
All Samarra’s training, which remains a huge part of her life—whether it’s kick boxing, climbing, or surfing—has led to gigs doubling for big-time actors on major films like the aforementioned Spectre, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and the upcoming drug cartel thriller Infiltrator. But it’s also scored her acting roles on shows like Game of Thrones—though she’s the rare exception to the Game of Thrones rule.
“I play a girl who’s not naked and isn’t dead yet!” she says.
Well, one out of two’s not bad.