Hi guys. My nephew suggested I do this AMA after a photo of myself with Robin Williams went viral the other week.

I was going to school, I was in college at UNLV in Las Vegas, and I happened to wait on a little person and he says to me how would I like to be in show business? And I kind of laughed it off and said sure, and he said "Well, they're making this movie called Under the Rainbow," and he says "I'm not really sure, but I'm told it's a remake / spoof on Wizard of Oz, and they need a lot of little people to play munchkins." So he gave me the info, I got home, talked to my sister, talked to my friends, "do you think this guy is on the level?" and they said "It doesn't hurt, look into it, we'll go with you." So it was all in LA, I contacted the people, told them about myself, and the rest is kind of history. I came out to California, I ended up working 2 weeks on the film as an extra while I was there, they asked if I would mind doing standing work as there was a little actress is, and i was about her size - so they showed me what to do, and from there I ended up working about 2 months on the movie, and then I met other people, continued to do stand-in work, worked on movies that had stunts in them, they had another short adult in to double these kids, and I thought "I could do that." So one day someone came up to me and said "we're doing this stunt next month, would you be interested in doubling?" and I had never done a stunt before, but I said "Sure, yes!" So I ended up meeting more stunt coordinators, more stunt people, and then in 1984-85, I still continued to do stand in work but I was getting more work as a stunt person. So I just started stunts for the rest of my career.

Another photo:

http://imgur.com/gfPF2Oo

My IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201970/

Victoria's helping me out, she's doing all the typing, ask me anything.

https://twitter.com/reddit_AMA/status/516305295925346306

EDIT: Update: I'm taking a break, but I will be back to answer any additional questions at a later time. In the meantime, I started my own dog rescue, it's called Adopt Me Rescue, and you can visit our website at http://adoptmerescue.org

Comments: 157 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

ContrabannedTheMC64 karma

What's the worst injury you've got doing a stunt? Also, what's the craziest thing you've seen on set?

LauraDash125 karma

I worked on a movie called BASEKETBALL, it was the guys that did SOUTH PARK, and the story are these guys are idols, and they have like a Make A Wish part in the story where they grant these kids a wish. So there's a simple scene where they grant this little kid his wish list to hangout with the Baseketball team, and they take him every place, and they take him at the end of the evening to this bar. So there's drinking, and the little boy gets onto the shoulders of Trey Parker, and he forgets that the kid is on his back as he goes out the doorway. So the gag is I'm supposed to hit my head on top of the door jam, and I'm supposed to fall back on a pad. And there was a stuntman doubling for Trey Parker so I was on the stuntman's shoulders, and there was supposed to be safety people outside the door, and when I hit my head, the stunt coordinator - the pad was supposed to be - it's a called a "Follow Pad" (well that's what he calls it), it's supposed to follow me wherever I land and then I land on the pad. And before we set up the shot and rehearsed it, I had asked the stunt coordinator "Does this pad fit in between the doorway" because sometimes you have to adjust it if it's too wide and he said "no, it fits perfectly." So we never actually rehearsed me falling. And there was no person outside the doorway with another pad or just in case. And the coordinator was like "i'm going to be there, follow you wherever you land" and I couldn't react to looking back or doing anything or moving to the side, it was just a straight back fall, kind of like in JURASSIC PARK, just straight back. And I ended up falling 3 feet outside the door, which then was a parking lot. And when he was realized I was going further out, the pad got stuck between the metal plates, so as he pushed it, it kind of stopped, so by that time i was down on the ground, I had asked him (the stunt coordinator) if I needed a gatorback (which is what motorcycle riders use to protect their backs) but i had a t-shirt on, so if I had worn one you would have seen the ripples. I had a little swimmers vest underneath, but the coordinator said "You don't need that, i will catch you." I still had it, but i fell on my back on the concrete...and I could move, but I was in excruciating pain, so they rushed me to the hospital, and I ended up breaking my L2. Broke my back.

Craziest thing? I can't remember. Can you be specific as to a crazy thing?

ContrabannedTheMC36 karma

Thanks for replying. That sounded painful.

As for a crazy thing, I suppose it could be someone else's stunt gone wrong, an actor doing something weird, or something. How about a humorous anecdote instead?

Thank you for taking the time to do an AMA.

LauraDash50 karma

Just some of the jokes - that when actors have to fly on wires, they don't have a clue of what it feels like, and it's kind of painful in your crotch area, so they're like "Oh my! OOOH!" and of course, Robin Williams and some behind-the-scenes stuff where he makes jokes about his "flying duties" was hilarious.

LauraDash57 karma

When I worked on JURASSIC PARK, we got to go to Hawaii and we were on the smaller island of Kauai. And we actually got caught in the hurricane. What happened was the crew couldn't get out in time, so we had to basically all stay in the hotel along with everyone else who was staying there to hide out. So they had in the hotel a basement, so we all stayed there, but the crew and everyone, we all stayed together. So we're in the same room with Spielberg and all the actors, and I thought "Hey, if Steven Spielberg didn't get out, he's still here, then we're all gonna be find." The next morning, Kathleen Kennedy was able to get a private plane to fly in from Universal to pick up basically all the actors, and the rest of us ,the crew, had to stay, because the crew was over 100 people. So they got all the actors out, the kid actors, the director of photography, but while we were there, what are you gonna do? We played cards, UNO, we all just got to know each other. The one thing - if you're gonna get stuck in a hurricane, it might as well be with the cast and the crew, because when all the lights went out, we had a generator from the set, so everyone else was in the dark, and right before the BIG hurricane hit, they had just enough food for everyone to feed us, but if it was 12 or 1 AM, we could just get food from the craft service table. So it wasn't as scary, but we ended up staying the whole event through the hurricane. And then the next day, they were trying to get another private plane to land, but they couldn't, so the rest of the crew had to stay an extra 2 days, so they finally - because the runway and airport was supposed to be open for supplies for the people who lived in the town, and they had to get all the tourists back out to go home - and I guess they ended up getting supply planes and they loaded up the tourists in those things, but we got a private plane to take us to Hawaii and then to LA.

dragonfly199343 karma

best catering on a film?

LauraDash75 karma

Gosh, I think DANTE'S PEAK. There was a particular caterer named Tony's Catering, and whenever you work on a movie and you know Tony's going to cater the meal, you know the food is going to be amazing.

Frajer41 karma

Which movie did you have the most fun making?

LauraDash79 karma

I'd have to say it's a tossup between GOONIES and HOOK. GOONIES we got paid to go down waterslides, and on HOOK just the sets were amazing, and the cast and the crew and I mean - we would be laughing every day.

LauraDash28 karma

The original Pippi Longstocking, because I thought it was such a popular character, they decided they wanted to do an American version of it, so I wanted to say how they did cars flying: what they did was they had these two huge giant cranes, and one was on one side, like 1/2 mile apart, so they put these giant cables on, and when they did the sidecar of up and flying, they had a car that was going one way so that the car would go up, and then they had a remote control where the sidebar would go from side-to-side and this guy who had the remote control, he would be watching us and he would make it go up or down. So when we did that stuff, then in post production after a movie is done, then they take the cables out so you can't see that. They also built a little spy plane, and so in the story, Pippi is in the front and she's supposed to be spinning around, and the boy is in the back and I'm in the middle. Again, they had these 2 giant cables attached to these 2 giant cranes and 2 cars, so the guy was supposed to be using remote control. What ended up happening was that something happened - we were supposed to go up above this little white picket fence - we didn't get to go up high enough, and we hit the picket fence, and because we're on cables, no one had any control over this sequence. Once we hit that, we're swinging now because we hit the fence, we're swaying, we're going up, and then all of a sudden we start to flip over - and we're not supposed to, we have 4 cables, so that doesn't happen, but because of that - and there are actors on the real fire engine, they see this thing coming at them, and they see it's coming RIGHT for them, within inches, they got lucky their heads didn't get chopped off or fall off the fire engine. Then all of a sudden we flip over, and the coordinator had said "Just in case anyone flips over, you're going to be seat belted in" - so if it hadn't been for those seat belts, we would have fallen out of this thing!

So then a week later, because when we hit the fence in the story, how we make this plane fly is we ride it like a bicycle, and Pippi is spinning around, so we dented the front of the tire so they had to fix that - we waited a few extra days, they filmed something else, and then there's another scene where they see it going up in the air, and there was nothing for us to hit or anything, no reason for it to flip over, so they are pulling it, we're in it, and then all of a sudden we feel it - it's going to flip over again. And so we all say "DUCK!" we all hide, and then all of a sudden the whole thing flips over again, and this time - we were up pretty high, about 30 feet, so then finally they start to lower us down but you're seeing the world upside down, you see the ground coming awfully quick! Thank goodness they were able to have that control, they pull us out, and the director was like "Okay, let's put them back in" and the stunt coordinator said "nope- this thing is not set up properly - I won't put my girls back in there, it's not safe." So then they ended up doing the old-fashioned ways of putting it on a "Gimble" and then they move it up and down to make it look like with fans to make it look like they are flying in the air.

Amphibialrabies6926 karma

What's the craziest, most badass stunt you've ever done? Also are dinosaurs real? You can be honest

LauraDash41 karma

When I was working on COP AND A HALF, with Burt Reynolds, I did this stunt where we were in the little boat, and the two bad guys are chasing us in a boat, and there's these 2 tugboats, and as they are passing each other, boats are not like cars where you can stop on a dime in the water, so the idea is we fit right in-between the 2 tugboats, and as they passed, the other boats behind us can't make it through, so we barely make it through as the tugboats pass. We must have done it like 12 times, and the director kept saying "CLOSER! CLOSER!" and on one of the takes, one of the tugboat captains said "I had to close my eyes on that one take because I was scared you guys wouldn't make it."

Hahah! Really? You think they are real?

Hexodus16 karma

Fucking loved Cop and a Half, I remember that scene very well. Who doubled for Reynold's mustache?

LauraDash27 karma

His name was Lance Gilbert, and the funny part was that the guy who was coordinating the movie at times, Glen Wilder, he also doubled for Burt Reynolds in other movies. And of course, Burt wanted to do a lot of his own stunts as well (still for his age, back in the day!) and that was a unique movie because the little boy was really small, and there were no really small black people to double him, so they don't like doing that but they painted my face black and put a wig on me, and in like the skateboarding scenes, they actually had a local little boy doubling him that was also a little black kid.

x_server20 karma

I think that was supposed to be a joke, Aunt Laura.

LauraDash24 karma

I'm just a serious person! Haha.

Hexodus23 karma

Have you ever received any special gifts from the actors you doubled for?

LauraDash49 karma

Every once in a while, a child or their mom or parent will give me a little gift as a remembrance. On war of the Worlds, Dakota Fanning and I, she had me as a stunt double, a child stunt double, a photo double, and a stand in, because the hours - they can only work so many hours - they sometimes would have the 2 stand ins photo-double her as well. So we took a photo together, all 4 of us, all in costume, and she gave me a nice little remembrance book along with that photo and a nice little letter saying "thank you for keeping me safe."

Some kids will hand-make a sign, but it's usually nothing big. Just something thoughtful.

joefitness19 karma

What's the process like when there's a stunt you don't feel comfortable doing? Do you get 100% of the decision of doing the stunt? Have you ever opted out of a stunt where another stunt double took over?

LauraDash39 karma

Yes, when I was working on JURASSIC PARK, I had worked with Spielberg before and he's a perfectionist like most good directors. They were building the large tree where the car gets stuck in, or the Jeep, and in the scene, the Jeep gets pushed over and the little boy is still in the Jeep or doesn't get out of it, anyway he's up in the tree. anyways he climbs up the tree as he says "You've gotta come down" so I knew that at some point, it's written that the car falls, hits the trunk, stops and they continue to climb down and then at some point the car then ends up falling on top of them as they get down. So the tree is - over 20 feet, it was made out of metal and it had hydraulics because the car had to be on hydraulics to be dropped. So knowing what my capabilities are, I didn't feel comfortable that I would be able to go as fast as was expected. So as we went through all the stunts in the movie, I spoke with the coordinator beforehand, I said "I can do all the stunts required, I just don't feel comfortable doing this." so for that week, they replaced me with another stunt person, and then I continued the rest of the movie.

itsjustnes18 karma

what made you decide that doing stunts was the career for you? how did it happen?

LauraDash25 karma

There's a rate at when you do stand in work, you get paid a lot less than when you do stunts. And I was just getting more busy doing stunts, and it's hard to make a living just doing extra work and stand in work. The money is basically doing stunts.

LauraDash17 karma

I was working on A PERFECT WORLD, with Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner, there's a scene I double for the little boy where he takes the little boy in the car and I think they are drinking soda and he was like I'm not allowed to drink soda, and the little boy has to go to the bathroom. For whatever reason, they put me in a far away spot so you could kind of see him off in the distance, and Costner has his lines, and Eastwood came up to me and said "So, huh, act like you're going to the bathroom, but don't hold it too tight" because i was a girl. How they cut it and stuff, I don't think i was in the background, I think it was the real kid, but I'm not sure.

DaMattman17 karma

Has there ever been a time where a stunt went really wrong? What was that like from your perspective?

LauraDash26 karma

I worked on HALLOWEEN 4, and in the scene - it's where Michael Myers is up on the roof, and the sister is lowering Jamie (Danielle Harris)'s character, and at some point as she's lowering it, Michael Myers is coming, he's on the roof, and so then she (the sister) drops the rope - it's supposed to be a rope - and I'm actually on a cable, and the FX people are supposed to cut the cable and I fall like 3 feet and the sister falls off the roof (a high fall).

When I was dropped, they cut the cable, when they cut the cable, the cable snapped my face and hit me in the face. And that wasn't supposed to happen. And I had - almost like if you got hit with a rock in the face as hard as you can - so I had this whip-mark on my face, and it came really really close to my eye, but i'm very very lucky I didn't lose my eye.

It was very painful, and everyone was like "OMG! We're sorry, that wasn't supposed to happen!"

Sageas17 karma

What is your "go to" funny anecdote from your career so far?

LauraDash37 karma

It was true when Kirsten Dunst had a crush on Brad Pitt, and she had to do this little quick kiss on the lips, and she was like "I'm so nervous! Augh!" so it was just kind of funny to see her, she was 11 or 12, so it was kind of funny and cute.

Or for HOOK, I think Dustin Hoffman thinks that he's funny, he's a funny guy but he's not known as a comedian-comedian, so he's always trying to upstage - he was trying to crack jokes, and Robin Williams was trying to crack jokes, and they were trying to out-do each other.

ReasonablyConfused17 karma

Does your dwarfism affect your risk of injury and recovery time?

LauraDash18 karma

Nope! Not at all.

rebel_girl_jaxi16 karma

This is such an interesting AMA! I always wondered how people got these jobs! Thank you! My question is if you could work on any movie with any actors who would they be and why?

LauraDash18 karma

I've always wanted to work with Robert De Niro. I did not work with him when I worked on HEAT, I did work in a small scene with Al Pacino. So one of my dreams to meet Al Pacino I ended up meeting him, and the other person I'd like to meet would be Meryl Streep.

ReasonablyConfused14 karma

How tall are you?

LauraDash24 karma

I'm a four foot five. So the kids that I double are usually between the ages of five and a short 12 or 13 year old. Once they reach 13, then they become too tall for me to double.

EmergencyExitSign13 karma

Were you ever starstruck with a certain actor you were doubling for? Like, you were honered that you briefly pretended to be them?

LauraDash19 karma

I double for children, but there's always an actor that you work on a set and kind of -the first time I met Steven Spielberg. I watched CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, I'd seen E.T., so when you work with a big director, I was a big fan of Dustin Hoffman's, so I get startstruck.

DevonDoesTomahawk13 karma

Do you believe that "sexual favor for director in order to get the part" exists? How often do you think it occurs?

LauraDash25 karma

People still say there's a casting couch, but I can't answer that. I've gotten all of my jobs through working hard.

catapult9012 karma

What were Matt stone and trey parker like?

LauraDash22 karma

They were very humble. They were excited to do this movie. I'm not sure - I think South Park was in its first season or show, I think they were hoping to make them, themselves, a star, so they were just excited to be on a set. They had done smaller projects, but this was like their first big movie.

latchkeys12 karma

Did you ever pass on a movie that you later regretted?

LauraDash25 karma

Kinda yes, kinda no. I was offered to work on RIVER WILD with Meryl Streep, and they basically made it a double in the boat, in the raft. And the coordinator was like "We're going to be hitting 4 and 5 level rafts" or rivers, I should say, so "Once you get out here, you can't say you're not going to go in that water." So I thought about it and thought about it and talked to him about safety in the water, outside the water, and the person that was doubling Meryl Streep was a professional river rafter, so it wasn't someone who wouldn't know what they were doing, so that made me feel more comfortable, but I felt the pressure of working someone who wasn't used to stunts, they could convince them to go down rivers that weren't safe enough. So I decided to pass on that one, and because i was good friends with the Joe Mozello family, I go tot double on Jurassic Park, and after the film was over, we talked and he said "yea, there was a river they chose to go down but they were all worried so they decided to send the fake one down the river to see what would happen, so they put sandbags in to weigh it down for what it would be for all the actors, and it got sucked under, and I heard it came up 4 or 5 miles up, a week later." So they chose not to pick that one, but those are just things where i was like "No, I don't think I'm going to do this movie."

dragonfly199310 karma

weirdest movie you stunt doubled for?

LauraDash16 karma

I worked on - it wasn't weird, but - I worked on an episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and I got to play Zelda Rubenstein's daughter on the episode, and it was called "Felicity" or something was the character that I played. And in the story, Zelda's character dials into a radio chat-show, and she was talking to a child psychologist, and that was his expertise, and what I always liked about TALES is that they always had different big guest stars, so Twiggy was one of the guests and if you're a fan from the 1960s', everyone knew who she was, and I was a little kid in the 60's and I had her haircut and everything, everyone wanted to be Twiggy, so it was fun that I got to play Zelda's daughter, but the psychologist thought that she was (her character) was schizophrenic, that she was one and the same person, but at the end, you found out it was 2 different people at the end after everybody else has been killed off - you see me standing next to her, although in the show I've been dead for over 100 years or something like that. So it was kind of creepy.

DeathAndRebirth10 karma

Did you ever get seriously injured doing a stunt?

LauraDash19 karma

Just on that particular movie - I come home with bumps and bruises, that comes along with the job, it's expected. If you're watching a movie and you think someone gets hurt or bruised, they probably did.

DeathAndRebirth8 karma

Damn thats rough hahaha

do you think the job is worth all the bruises?

LauraDash17 karma

Stunt people are adrenaline junkies. They enjoy what they do - I know I enjoy what I do. It's fun. Every day is different. So I would say yes.

bungabung9 karma

What were you originally going to school for at UNLV? Are you glad you took this career path over what you were planning on doing previously?

LauraDash21 karma

I was majoring in music and art. Yes, most definitely.

DickCheeseBurgerMan9 karma

What is the most douchiest thing an actor or some fame has ever done to you (you don't have to use names though it woukd be fine if you did )?

LauraDash14 karma

Everyone is pretty much respective of one another, so everyone's just been very very kind.

Jay_j887 karma

How many bones have you broken(if any)?

LauraDash15 karma

Just the one L2, thank goodness (knock on wood). I'm very fortunate, even Jackie Chan himself admits to breaking every part of his body.

Jay_j884 karma

very lucky! Good luck, and congrats on all your success!

LauraDash5 karma

Thank you very much, it's my pleasure!

3urritos5 karma

Do you ever hang out with other famous little people like Peter Dinklage or Warwick Davis?

LauraDash7 karma

No, I do not.