Interview: Stunt Actor Debbie Evans talks The Fate of The Furious, her time with the Ghostbusters and memories of Paul Walker

My entire life has been a Cinephile dream, I was Born in 1982, started watching films like Ghostbusters 2 when I was not allowed to, I was probably 8, since then I have never turned back! The fact you have been through almost all my favourite films through my life, through everyone’s lives, is absolutely insane, do you ever look back and think, what if I had done something else? Was there anything else you wanted to do before going fulltime into stunt work?

It’s funny I was actually thinking of being a research scientist, which I don’t think I’m smart enough for, but I wanted to help others, so that was kind of my goal! I think I still help others to have a release from everyday life with what I do, so I like to think I’m still helping people to live bigger and better lives in some way.

Knowing how far you’ve come, how many people that now look up to you, not only stunt lovers, but women and men who can see this strong and brave role model of a woman that just keeps on going, keeps on getting stronger, what can you say to them if they’re also trying to follow their passion?

Well I would say don’t let other people’s opinions of what you can do stop you from accomplishing anything. Because when I was a child, girls weren’t supposed to play sports, girls riding motorcycles was looked down on and if I had listened to any of those people I wouldn’t be doing what I do today. So, just follow your dreams and be willing to work hard to get them and most likely you will succeed!

 The long line of films you have been involved in, just to get everyone on the same page, Ghostbusters 2, Back to The Future, Terminator 2, jumping to present day the entire Fast and Furious franchise!

Yes, Ghostbusters 2 I was hanging upside down in the courtroom (being picked up by a ghost and thrown across the courtroom), as I was hanging upside down along came Bill Murray “Hey, do you hang out here often?”, he was being really funny, he had a captive audience and he knew it, I couldn’t go anywhere.

 Just lately I watched Monster Trucks with my boys, which was an absolute guilty pleasure for myself and the kids.

Yes, I drove Big Red (in the Monster Trucks Film).

Now you just finished Fast 8, how do all these roles come to you now? Do you have this extensive list of text messages or emails you just pick from?

What happens is our Stunt-Coordinators bid for the job, they all know who I am, what I can do and what I’m capable of and my reputation precedes me, they just call me and ask me if I want to work. That’s how it works and now I have a long history of doing some really cool things, so the phone just rings and I go to work. Like you, I have a family and I just figure that I am supposed to get the work that does come in, I don’t worry about it when I’m not working which seems to work out fine. I work on commercials and TV shows as well as features. It looks as if Fast 9 (Fast and the Furious 9) might be coming up, so I’m hoping to be on that as well, because I have done the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th, so I think I should do 9 & 10, don’t you?

Some of my favourite work you have ever done in the last Ten years was as Trinity in The Matrix Trilogy, incredible Ducati driving skillset you have there! When and where did you learn to ride like that?

Debbie Evans Stunt work in The Matrix Reloaded

I started riding when I was 6 and competing was I was 9 years-old! I went camping and riding about every other weekend as I was growing up and I was on my motorcycle from the time the sun went up till it went down. You know that feeling where you have been in the ocean all day and when you get out you still feel like you’re in the ocean? Well when I would go to bed at night I would hear motorcycles in my ears that weren’t running. I lived and breathed it, by the time I was 15 I got a factory sponsored ride with Yamaha. I used to compete against the men in the kid’s class against the boys, I loved it all. My abilities just continued to get stronger and stronger and pretty soon I was the first female expert in Trials. People would say a woman could not ride at that level, but I never ever let that sink in, when people said I couldn’t do something I took it as a challenge to prove them wrong.

Are you slowing down anytime soon? You said you have Fast 9 hopefully around the corner, what else have you got coming up next?

I really don’t know at this point, like I said, when the phone rings I go to work. A lot of the time we don’t know ahead of time, people just call last minute and then we’re off and doing something, but I am really looking forward to Fast 9.

Fast 8 was so much fun! We went to Iceland and Cuba and Cleveland, New York City and Atlanta, we just ripped it up doing all kinds of really cool stunts. I am looking forward to people getting their hands on the DVD and being able to rewind all the action scenes again and again.

Are you good friends with most of the cast and crew on the Fast and Furious films now? Any crazy stories you can tell us about your time on set?

To tell you the truth, a lot of the times we are on a separate unit, we’re doing the car chase stuff and the actors come in for just a day or two. There are a few times when I am on first unit with the actors. I remember working on the first one (The Fast and The Furious) and meeting Michelle (Michelle Rodriguez) and how excited she was to meet me, she wanted to be an action star, so she could be doing the things I was doing. She still gets really excited about what I do and that’s always nice when you have actors that your doubling that really love your performances and appreciates it.

Paul (Paul Walker) was a great guy as well, he never had to go anywhere with an entourage, just a regular guy that would talk to anybody, just super, super cool and everyone misses him so much! We are keeping him in our hearts and minds, I like the way the franchise is keeping him alive throughout the entire saga so far and really honouring him, which is really, really special!

Fate of The Furious is out now on Digital – Released on 4K, Blu Ray, DVD 2nd August 2017

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