Jackie Murray is an accomplished martial artist, gymnast, dancer, and business owner. In the film and television industry, she is a successful and dedicated assistant director, production manager, stuntwoman, and actress.
Jackie was born and raised in a Martial Arts family and gained much experience training in locations all across the world including Hong Kong, China, the U.S.A, and her home, Australia. Her primary style is Kung Fu, and she is trained in Karate, Wu Shu, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Tai Chi, including the traditional weaponry of these arts. She is also a proficient Gymnast and is an accredited Level 1 Gymnastics Australia coach.
For many years, Jackie has held ownership over her family’s Martial Arts studio, which she herself expanded to include tuition in Dance, Gymnastics, and Parkour. She is an extremely successful Master, who in 2011, was inducted into the ISKA’s (International Sport Karate Association) Hall Of Fame twice and awarded the title: ‘Female Instructor of the Year’.
Having entered the Film and TV Industry as a child actress, Jackie’s passion for both the Performing Arts and Martial Arts led to her unite the two when she began to pursue Stunts. Here, her skills truly flourished and she showed not only promise as a Stuntwoman but through much experience and training, expanded herself to undertake roles as an Assistant Director -Production Manager and also Safety Assist(WHS).
Jackie has been involved in the Film and TV Industry since childhood, appearing in several commercials and short films. Over the last 10 years, she has gained notable successes as a Stuntwoman for tackling high-risk jobs including multiple full-body burns. She has also gained multiple acting roles in which she has been able to align both her Acting Persona and Stunt Persona to complete both dialogues-heavy and physical roles.
FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Jackie to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am a company owner x 4; an actress, stuntwoman, first Assistant Director, Assistant Stunt Coordinator, and Film and TV Safety Supervisor.
What are some of the most known projects you have worked on?
Marvel, The Kingsman, The Bold & the Beautiful, Home & Away, Mavrix, Love you like that, Wyrmwood, The Moth Effect, (Gold with Zac Effron)
-What are your role/s in the film industry?
Stunt woman, Assistant Stunt Coordinator, 1st AD, Actress, Producer, and Safety Supervisor.
What do you like most about what you do?
The Variety of roles I can do.
How dangerous is a stunt job?
Stunt always will have danger attached to the job but with all the safety precautions and training and equipment we now have access to makes our job so much safer to do.
What training and qualifications are required?
There are many qualifications and lots of training that must be done to work within the stunt field. There is also a grading system that must be met and a panel of people run under the MEAA that approve you and your application to become a stunt performer.
There is also a number of levels that you work your way up. When you first get accepted into the stunt world you are known as a SAP and then you apply to work your way up the ranks. See the stages below :
-SAP (Stunt actor provisional)
– Stunt Actor
– Assistant Stunt Coordinator
_ Stunt Coordinator
Is there an age limit to stunt work?
Too young or too old? Yes, starting age of 18 yrs. However, you can you a younger specialist in a field and request a dispensation from the MEAA Stunt Panel.
Did you find it difficult to work as a stunt woman in a male-driven environment?
Yes, when I first started they were getting the male stuntmen to dress as a woman to do the stunts even when there was a Female stuntwoman available. Times have changed a lot now and there are so many stunt women working within the industry and it’s great to see.
What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
There is so much out there in the way of learning… I have a rule that I live by and that is to learn at least one new thing a day. One thing I love is that directors are becoming more accepting of Stunt Coordinators and Stunt Professionals helping out with the actions scenes and having more say in the direction of action scenes and how to shoot and edit them or now more and more we are seeing 2nd unit Action director credits.
What are some of the difficulties of the entertainment business?
The long hours we do and trying to also have a family and children and the travel.
What are the different sorts of stunts?
Wow, there are so many to list and we would need this full magazine to list them all…….. But here a few of the most common used regularly:
-Basic Trip and Falls
– Driving Sequences from basic driving to precision driving to racing, crashing, rolling, and exploding cars.
– Car knockdowns
– Jerk backs
– High Falls
– Fire both on our bodies and explosive fires
– Gun & weapons
-Water & Boat
– Motor Bikes
And I could keep going and going…
What is involved in performing a stunt?
Stunts can be very basic to doing things that we think are never possible. What’s involved in a stunt no matter how basic still holds risk and the stunt person and all involved need to be well trained and highly skilled to make it look amazing in a safe way.
So training is a must also making sure preparation of what’s involved is fully thought out and rehearsed over and over to rule out all the risk and show all the possibilities in making a stunt look and work to its full potential in keeping stunt safe but as real as possible so the viewers watching the stunt feel like they are there when it’s happening.
What do you do when you’re not filming?
Okay, so here is yet another long answer that I may need pages for (laughs).
When I am not on set filming which is not very often, I am a mother of 3 amazing children (So cleaning, cooking, school, shopping, and all mother and taxi duties). I am a wife so basically add that to mother of 4. I own 4 companies so working on all the paperwork and everything it takes to run a business with 25 staff. I find time to train and I also prep scripts and do script breakdowns for Safety reports and 1st AD scheduling along with Assist stunt coordinating doing stunt breakdowns and budgeting etc…
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I have met so many famous actors and would take forever to list them all but some of my favourite for many different reasons are Zac Effron, Rebel Wilson, John Jarrod, Hugh Jackman, Hugh Sheridan, David Wenham, and Susie Porter.
If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you? Me.