Fresh off his scene-stealing turn as Ken in Greta Gerwig’s smash summer hit Barbie, Ryan Gosling takes on a different kind of iconic role as a stunt man who must find a missing movie star in The Fall Guy. Directed by David Leitch, who also brought us the glorious John Wick (his uncredited directorial debut with Chad Stahelski), the film is a loose adaptation of the popular 1980s TV series of the same name starring Lee Majors. Based on the trailer that just dropped, The Fall Guy is a welcome throwback to the classic action comedies, giving Gosling another chance to exhibit his leading-man acting chops.
Those of us of a certain age practically grew up with Majors, starting with his hit series, The Six Million Dollar Man (1973–1978). The Fall Guy debuted in 1981, in which Majors played stuntman Colt Seavers, who moonlighted as a bounty hunter with his cousin (and aspiring stuntman), Howie Munson (Douglas Barr). Heather Thomas played stuntwoman and love interest Jody Banks, and each episode featured the team engaged in action-packed adventures that conveniently made excellent use of Colt’s extensive experience and knowledge of stunts. In keeping with the theme, the introductory montage paid tribute to classic stunt scenes from Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, Silver Streak, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Poseidon Adventure, among others.
After ending its five-season run in 1986, The Fall Guy largely disappeared from the TV landscape, although the first season was released on DVD in 2008. Plans for a feature film date back to 2010, when Dreamworks started developing a project purportedly starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by McG. That film never quite got off the ground. By 2020, Gosling and Leitch had signed on to Universal’s feature film loosely based on the series, with original series creator Glen A. Larson serving as one of the executive producers.
Per the official synopsis:
He’s a stuntman, and like everyone in the stunt community, he gets blown up, shot, crashed, thrown through windows and dropped from the highest of heights, all for our entertainment. And now, fresh off an almost career-ending accident, this working-class hero has to track down a missing movie star, solve a conspiracy and try to win back the love of his life while still doing his day job. What could possibly go right?
Gosling’s Colt Seavers isn’t a bounty hunter on the side; he’s just a stuntman—a bit past his prime—who stumbles into solving a mystery. (No, Gosling is not doing his own stunts.) Emily Blunt costars as Jody Moreno, Colt’s ex-girlfriend and a former camera operator who finally gets the chance to direct her first film. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays movie star Tom Ryder, who goes missing mid-shoot. Stephanie Hsu plays Ryder’s personal assistant, and Winston Duke plays Colt’s stunt coordinator and BFF. Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham appears as Gail, the producer of Jody’s film. And Majors (now in his 80s) is expected to have a cameo; we’re hoping he might even perform the theme song, “Unknown Stuntman,” that he wrote and recorded for the original series,
The trailer opens with Colt prepping for a dangerous stunt that involves driving a car that’s hit by a helicopter. He pulls it off, but apparently Jody didn’t know he’d been hired on her film; we’re guessing the break-up was less than amicable. (“You are literally the last person on Earth I wanna see.”) Things nonetheless seem to be going well until Ryder disappears, and Gail tasks Colt with finding the movie star, or else Jody’s film will never be finished. All Colt finds in Ryder’s hotel room is a dead body on ice. That brings him into conflict with a lot of bad elements who are now trying to kill him “and not in a fun way.” He definitely gets to make excellent use of his stunt expertise, including a car chase with an adorable doggo—and it’s all set to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Seriously, what’s not to like?
The Fall Guy hits theaters on March 1, 2024.
Listing image by YouTube/Universal Pictures