adBlockCheck

Stuntman Typecast As Guy Who Falls From Balcony Onto Table

Top Headlines

Recent News

What’s Inside Trump’s Tax Returns

Donald Trump’s aides have confirmed that the Republican presidential nominee will not release his tax returns despite numerous public calls for him to honor the expectation of transparency for presidential hopefuls. Here are some of the potentially damning contents that Trump prefers not to release to the public

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

Hillary Clinton Holds Infant Grandson Upside Down By Ankle In Front Of Convention Crowd

‘Family,’ Candidate Says

PHILADELPHIA—Seeking to make her case to the nation’s voters as she accepted her party’s presidential nomination Thursday night, Hillary Clinton reportedly began her headlining address at the Democratic National Convention by holding her infant grandson, Aidan, upside down by his ankle and firmly intoning the word “Family” in front of the assembled crowd.

Hillary Clinton Waiting In Wings Of Stage Since 6 A.M. For DNC Speech

PHILADELPHIA—Saying she arrived hours before any of the members of the production crew, sources confirmed Thursday that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been waiting in the wings of the Wells Fargo Center stage since six o’clock this morning to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Depressed, Butter-Covered Tom Vilsack Enters Sixth Day Of Corn Bender After Losing VP Spot

WASHINGTON—Saying she has grown increasingly concerned about her husband’s mental and physical well-being since last Friday, Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, told reporters Thursday that the despondent, butter-covered cabinet member has entered the sixth day of a destructive corn bender after being passed over for the Democratic vice presidential spot.

Superfoods: Myth Vs. Fact

Though the media often heralds certain foods as cancer-fighting or immune-building, many of these claims don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. The Onion separates the myths from the facts regarding so-called superfoods

Cannon Overshoots Tim Kaine Across Wells Fargo Center

PHILADELPHIA—Noting that the vice presidential nominee had been launched nearly 100 feet into the air during his entrance into the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, sources reported that the cannon at the back of the Wells Fargo Center had accidentally overshot Tim Kaine across the arena, sending him crashing to the stage several dozen feet beyond the erected safety net.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Stuntman Typecast As Guy Who Falls From Balcony Onto Table

LOS ANGELES—Billy Atchley's prodigious fall from a balcony onto a table in a 1997 episode of Walker, Texas Ranger launched a successful career—one which has included falls in Westerns, romantic comedies, and historical epics. However, the 32-year-old stuntman said Monday that he feels suffocated artistically.

Atchley on set beside a high-fall air bag, which he has never gotten to use onscreen.

"Producers, casting directors, even my own manager: All they see, or want to see, is a guy who falls from balconies onto tables," said Atchley, who was classically trained at the Tallahassee School For The Performing Feats. "But I'm also capable of giving quieter, more nuanced performances, like falling drunkenly down the stairs, or getting hit on the back of the head with a chair."

Atchley's versatility has occasionally been recognized by directors like Target Trigger's Josh Durkee, who hired the stuntman to fall from a veranda onto a desk, and later gave him a role falling from a terrace onto a bench. But such opportunities are rare, and often end up on the cutting-room floor. Atchley, despite having appeared in nearly 200 feature films and TV shows, said his true range has not been explored.

"I'd like to show the stunt-industry powers that be that I have a much wider range as a performer by throwing myself through a plate-glass window," Atchley said.

While Atchley can't pinpoint the moment when he went from feeling like a skilled, valued stuntman to feeling like "a caricature of a stuntman," he recalled a time when falling from balconies onto tables was creatively rewarding.

"The first few times I performed the stunt, I was so completely in the moment," Atchley said. "These days, though, I mostly spend the time between the balcony and the table thinking about what bills need to be paid, or what I have to pick up from the supermarket on the way home."

"I may still be putting my shoulder into every fall, but it's been years since I've put my heart into one," he added.

Doug Kaminski, Atchley's longtime manager, said he has gone out of his way to get his client more diverse and challenging work. Yet Atchley said he's come to feel that his manager is "more concerned with the bottom line" than in securing creatively rewarding work.

Atchley sleepwalks through another role.

"Doug got me a science-fiction thriller set in the year 2079," Atchley said. "At first, it seemed like an exciting departure for me, but then I showed up and it was like, 'We want you to fall from this floating anti-gravity platform onto an alien shape-shifter who has momentarily assumed the characteristics of a table.'"

Wife Susan Atchley has noticed a change in her husband over the past year.

"He used to get back from a shoot full of enthusiasm, but now he comes home beaten and battered by falling from balconies and onto tables all day," said Susan, who added that she sympathizes with her husband's frustration. "He really does have so much more to offer—I've seen Billy get hit by a car, and it was wonderful."

Said Atchley: "I'd give anything to put on a flame-retardant suit and be set ablaze in order to play a character with an actual emotional arc for a change."

Increasingly discouraged, Atchley has rebelled against his typecasting by ad-libbing stunts during his scenes, earning a reputation as a prima donna who resists direction.

"We were minutes away from shooting Billy's scene, when he walks up to me and asks if instead of falling from the balcony, he could try staggering back a few steps and spilling head-over-heels down the stairs to the saloon floor," said Brian Hendra, director of the upcoming motion picture The Domino Effect. "Who does he think he is? [Stunt actor] Wayne Taylor?"

Even Kaminski said he is bored by his client's constant lectures about artistic purity and "how Jackie Chan or Buster Keaton would do it."

"He's known in the industry as the guy who falls off balconies onto tables—what's wrong with that?" Kaminski said. "Audiences love people who fall off balconies onto tables. Why not give them what they want?"

Kaminski added: "What Atchley needs to understand is that falling off balconies onto tables is not just an art form—it's a business."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close