“The Fall Guy” Fight Coordinator Jonathan Eusebio on That Insane Spinning Garbage Truck Chase

Another veteran from the John Wick brand of innovative and high-octane action, stunt coordinator Jonathan “JoJo” Eusebio was thrilled to work on stuntman-turned-director David Leitch’s action comedy, The Fall Guy. Due to the wall-to-wall stunts, he was brought in to assist the main fight coordinator, Sunny Sun. A member of Leitch and Chad Stahelski’s 87Eleven Action Design company, his impressive C.V. includes Deadpool 2, Black Panther, and the first three John Wick films.

Almost two months after its theatrical debut, the deliriously entertaining actioner featuring Ryan Gosling (as legendary stuntman Colt Seavers) and Emily Blunt (director Jody Moreno, Colt’s ex-girlfriend) is still playing in 1,000 theaters domestically, even though an extended cut has been available on streaming for a month. The cinematic love letter to stunt performers is a clarion call for official industry recognition—in the form of an Oscar category for stunts—for all the blood, sweat, broken bones, surgeries, physical therapy, and ice baths at the end of very long, hard days. As Leitch explains in one of the many “making of” featurettes, the “fall guy” refers to the stunt performer who “steps in and takes the hits,” whether it’s falling off the horse, down the stairs, off the bike, or in any number of bone-crunching stunts.

For Eusebio, working with two of his mentors—Leitch and second unit director Chris O’Hara—was a great way to pay tribute to a field that is often overlooked, despite its crucial role in the business.


The film shines a spotlight on stunt performers. What does it mean for you to be a part of it?

David Leitch is one of my mentors; I kind of followed him into stunts. It’s really special to be involved in his movie, which is an ode to the stuntman. We put in a lot of work and destroy our bodies to entertain people, so it’s nice to be recognized.

How long was the shoot?

About four months. I came in the middle of it. I was with Chris on the second unit, and Sunny was with Dave on the main unit. Sunny and I have worked together a lot over 10 years, so we have a shorthand. We always conceived everything together. Both of us knew each piece, so if we had to interchange, we could do it.

L to R: Director David Leitch and Ryan Gosling (as Colt Seavers) on the set of THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch

How long was the prep and training?

A couple of months. Ryan was already training by the time I came in to work with Winston [Duke, who played Dan Tucker] for the “movie within the movie” scene by the Sydney Opera House, where Jody controls the camera and Colt is the space cowboy. We choreographed it, filmed the stunt in Previz, and showed it to Dave. Then, we trained Ryan, Emily, and the stunt performers. We wanted Colt and Jody to move in unison with each other in that scene, basically like a dance between them. That’s what we tried to convey. It had a lot of moving parts—wires, pyrotechnics, stunt guys in alien costumes.


This film focuses on practical effects and character-driven action choreography. Can you talk about that?

With practical stunts, you can actually see the real danger involved and the physical skill needed to pull it off. You always want to make all your action character-driven. Even though it’s physical movement, it’s visual dialogue. The action has to propel the story forward and make sense for the character. You’ve gotta think about why they’re doing this. What are they learning from the scene? What did they learn from the previous scene that serves this scene? It should be clear why they’re doing what they’re doing.

When Colt goes to find the main star of Jody’s movie, Tom (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), in his apartment, a pretty wild fight breaks out. What went into that sequence?

Ryan was fighting the guys upstairs, and Dan was fighting downstairs in the kitchen. There were a lot of stair falls, guys, coming through balconies, falling on the floor, throwing someone over the counter, and gun fights. We did PreViz for a week and then rehearsed with the actors and stunt guys.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch

One of the biggest action set pieces is the garbage truck chase, where Colt fights one of Tom’s henchmen as they careen down the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Was that shot practical as well?

Definitely. We rehearsed it in the studio first. The garbage bin was built by special effects, and the actors and stunt guys were harnessed into the bin with an armature connected to the truck so they wouldn’t fly out of it. The armature is a metal piece built onto the rig and telescopes above, with the actors and stunt guys harnessed to it. They’re actually moving with the truck as it’s spinning. All that was shot practical and real. They’re really fighting in the bin and getting pulled down the street.

Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch

What went into planning something that complicated?

We thought about how you would fight in something that’s moving and spinning. How does the human body react to the gravitational forces pulling on the body with things spinning and moving all around them? You’re not going to be able to move that much because you don’t have a firm footing. The choreography was based on the fact that you don’t know how your body’s going to react, but you also don’t want to fall off while this guy is trying to push you off a moving vehicle. So, you look at all the variables and come up with how to resolve them.

How long did that take to rehearse?

A couple of weeks to conceive the idea and test it out with the stunt guys. Sometimes, you get the actual piece of equipment or at least all the dimensions. In this case, we had the actual bin and the truck in a rehearsal space, so we choreographed and tested with the bin stationary first. Then, we slowly started moving and bringing the truck up to speed. It took a few days to shoot because it involved many locations—the Harbor Bridge, the tunnel, and city streets.

Ryan Gosling really got dragged behind that truck! How was it working with him?

He’s a great guy who really supports the stunt community. He’s also such a great performer and athlete. Anytime you get that combination, it’s always a pleasure.


The climactic chase has Colt hanging onto a hovering helicopter while he fights Tom, swinging himself from one skid to the other underneath. It was a pretty nail-biting sequence! How did that come about?

It was a two-fold process. We built an actual helicopter with all the interior specs so we could practice in the actual space while it was stationary. Then, when Colt gets on the skids and swings underneath, we couldn’t do that part with the helicopter in the air. So, Micah [Moore, assistant stunt coordinator] did a lot of PreViz through Real Engine to see what it would look like if someone’s really swinging underneath a flying aircraft. Then, we combined the real footage we shot and Micah’s PreViz to come up with the final shots.

Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers in THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch

What other intense stunts can you tease about the extended cut?

There’s a chase sequence that’s not in the theatrical cut. We had to build this warehouse for a much longer chase after Ryan’s fight in the club when he chased the drug dealer out of the club. Within a week, we built this giant factory, where Ryan did all the parkour stunts, running through the scaffolding inside the warehouse. It was really fun to work on. We rehearsed that for two weeks.

What’s your take on the current state of stunt safety?

I’ve been in stunts since 2000. Safety equipment is definitely much better than in the 80s when they didn’t have roll cages or protective equipment that we have now. They were basically grabbing the seatbelt and hanging onto it like a strap. Some guys have told me they used duct tape and toilet paper rolls for pads. But now, with much better safety measures, you can do crazier things for a longer period of time and with more repetition. PreViz really saves your performers—you can see the action sequences in advance. So, knowing the variables, you can mitigate them so no one gets hurt.

What do you think of the recent industry push for a stunt category in the Oscars?

It’s been really pushed this year, and this movie has a lot to do with it. Dave and Kelly [McCormick, Leitch’s producing partner and wife] are really pushing for a stunt category in the Academy Awards. There’s one for every area except for stunts, which I think is odd. Especially in action movies, stunts are a huge part of the design, concept, and the look and feel. So, I think it’s long overdue.


The Fall Guy is playing in theaters and the extended cut is available on streaming now.

Featured image: L to R: Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers and Emily Blunt is Judy Moreno in THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch


Su Fang Tham

Su Fang Tham is a story analyst and freelance writer covering film and television. Based in Los Angeles, she has been a contributing writer for Film Independent since 2016. Her work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Movie Maker, Cinemontage, British Cinematographer, A.frame, and Creative Screenwriting.