Stunt performer and actor Jason Bell was born and raised in Victoria, Canada, where his love for stunts developed after watching Star Wars. Bell’s athleticism can be credited to a childhood of sports, including soccer, hockey, and mountain biking. Attending college in Mexico City, he returned to Victoria where he received his diploma in business and tourism. Jason Bell is also a former active duty Army veteran who served eight months of combat duty in Afghanistan.
Bell is no stranger to the small screen, having appeared in many hit TV shows including Arrow, The 100, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Fear The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, and many more. He can next be seen in the highly anticipated Star Trek Beyond, playing Captain Kirk’s right-hand man.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Jason Bell to discuss his history as a stunt performer and his role in Star Trek Beyond.
What drew you to becoming a stunt performer and actor?
When I first watched the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie as a kid, it sparked a passion for action martial arts and the fantasy world. In my later years, I dabbled with high school plays here and there but didn’t take acting seriously. After college and my military stint, I re-ignited the spark and thought no better place to apply it than to TV and Film. In 2010 I left the Army and started martial arts training and took some acting classes. I visited a couple of sets in that time and thought there is no cooler or creative setting. I then got myself an agent, started doing auditions for whatever I could and threw my resume towards any and every stunt coordinator in and out of town that would maybe give me a shot. (laughs).
Has there ever been a stunt that you’ve been reluctant to perform?
I don’t think I’ve been reluctant but more aware of the caliber of stunt. In my opinion, complex ratchets (wire work) can be some of the toughest on your body. It takes a whole team comprised of the stunt coordinator, stunt riggers and stunt performers to pull off. I did a ratchet on the first season of CW’s “The Flash” as the Firestorm stunt double. The action was Firestorm pulls a lever that explodes and he goes flying back about 15 feet into a wall. We did about an eight-hour rehearsal the day before just for that one stunt and I was going into pads the whole time, which is really not bad. But on the day of the shoot, the only thing absorbing my hit was a nice hard wall! When you’re asked to a do a certain stunt you should be comfortable enough to tell the coordinator that you are unable or not comfortable doing it. It can be very daunting but also very rewarding after you pull off a cool stunt without a hitch.
You’ve appeared on a lot of TV shows. Do you have any favorite memories from behind the scenes?
I just finished working on War for the Planet of the Apes and I am a huge fan of the series but even more of a fan of actor Andy Serkis. I love his work and I got to briefly chat with him. I was taken away by how down to earth and friendly he is. Another recent memory would have to be a rehearsal day I did on Power Rangers. I filled in for the Red Ranger double to do a cool wire stunt. Without giving away any details, I have to say it was the most fun stunt I had the opportunity to do.
What can you tell us about Star Trek Beyond and some of the stunts you performed?
This is a tough one! Without revealing anything that we haven’t seen in the movie trailer, playing Captain Kirk’s number one security guard, I pretty much went wherever he went. (laughs). It was more of an acting role than it was a stunt role. I can’t really reveal too much, but I can say that the stunt work for this movie is crazy! We had an insane team of talent pulling off amazing stunts. I would be as bold to say that this is the most action stunt-heavy Star Trek film.
The character that you portray is Captain Kirk’s right-hand man, is there anything else you can say about the character?
My character is definitely more a man of action than words. (laughs). Wherever Captain Kirk goes, I go. As the right-hand man with the other guard, we are strictly there to watch Kirk’s back at all times and go with him where needed. There’s tons of action in this movie and you’ll definitely see me in it.
Star Trek has a huge fan base, so what can fans expect from this new installment?
You’re going to see a more vulnerable Captain Kirk, an unsure crew and a very ruthless and intimidating antagonistic character(s). The film is a darker more action driven Star Trek and the crew is going to be challenged in ways they’ve haven’t been before. I think this will be the best film in the series.
What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects that you’re working on?
Many of the TV shows I work on are off hiatus and starting to film again, so I’ll pretty much be living in the DC world. My bread and butter shows are CW’s “Arrow”, “The Flash” and “Legend’s of Tomorrow”. I’ve been lucky to double some very cool characters in that universe including Firestorm and Hawkman. If those characters ever come back, hopefully, I can fill those boots again. I also worked on the first Deadpool and Deadpool 2 is coming back to start shooting I believe in October. I would love to get back on that one!
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so is there anything nerdy about you?
I’m big into UFO’s and UFO documentaries. I visit my dad down in Palm Springs every year and I literally drag my wife up the mountains there in hopes of finding one, I always hear there’s many sightings in the desert there. I’m even planning an Area 51 tour next year in Nevada. I want to drive down the highway and visit these little nostalgic UFO type diners and talk to the locals (not that they would have any interest in what I’m talking about). So yeah big UFO nerd right here! (laughs).
Catch Star Trek Beyond in theaters on July 22nd.