If you watched closely during the action scenes of 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, you might have seen some local talent flying and falling in the stead of three different actors.
Holly Raczynski, a Provincial Martial Arts club instructor who teaches karate to students in Salmon Arm and Sicamous, worked on the movie for two summers starting in 2017.
Raczynski has 24 film and TV show credits to her name. Some of which include shows like 2017’s Arrow, 2016’s Supergirl and movies like Man of Steel, TRON: Legacy and Watchmen.
In Dark Phoenix, Raczynski was the stunt double for Sophie Turner who played the supercharged telepath Jean Grey. She also doubled for Jennifer Lawrence playing the appearance-changing Mystique and Aphra Williams who played an alien in the film.
Stunt doubling draws heavily from Raczynski’s background in gymnastics and karate, the latter being her favourite thing to double for.
“In general I prefer fighting, I like the fight scenes I like the action scenes, the hand-to-hand stuff,” Raczynski said. “Wirework can be fun when they’re flying you up into the air and they’re not crashing you into anything.”
Due to an injury sustained while performing a stunt on the set of Dark Phoenix in 2017, Raczynski had to take a break to recover. That break didn’t last long though, just a year later she was back working on the same movie when the studio decided to re-shoot the second half.
For Raczynski, bigger budget movies like Dark Phoenix provide the opportunity to perform more grandiose stunts. At the same time the bigger the movie is, the more a stunt performer’s work can be hidden.
“There’s so much computer graphics that are added to those big budget movies that sometimes it’s harder to notice or see the stunts you do,” Raczynski said. “Lower budget type shows that don’t have the money to do that kind of stuff in, you kind of see more of your stunts.”
More recently, Raczynski doubled for Kelly Overton – the titular character of the Van Helsing TV show which wrapped it’s fourth season in Vancouver.
Although Raczynski has no upcoming projects, she says the film season in Vancouver is ramping up again for a busy summer so more work may be in store.