I’ve interviewed several talented people over the years, but I rarely get the opportunity to chat with stunt performers. Luckily for me, I recently had the privilege of chatting with Skyler Mowatt, the incredible stunt performer, who has worked on some amazing shows like Supernatural, Riverdale, Altered Carbon, and Van Helsing. Learn about how he got involved in this career, why his job is so important, his goals, and more!
PopHorror – Thanks for chatting with me! How are you doing?
Skyler Mowatt – Anytime, thanks for having me on! I’m doing well, I’m currently on the eat, sleep, train, schedule right now.
PopHorror – I feel that! How did you get involved with being a stunt performer in the filmmaking business?
Skyler Mowatt – I’ve been steeped in film from a very early age. My dad’s been in craft service in film, having me on various sets, helping him, poking around, meeting people since I was six. My first film gig ever was being an extra in The 13th Warrior at six years old. That was definitely the seed that started it all. From that point, I grew up loving movies, and at the same time was training in Taekwondo. I was always intensely drawn to the action. I first learned about stunts as a career choice on the set of Stargate Atlantis, from the stunt coordinator James Bamford. From that point, I was locked on target. My path became clear. From then on, it was basically a training montage, making a lot of mistakes along the way, and trying my best to be helpful to already established stunt people in the business wherever I could. I stayed on that until I got my first shot on Supernatural working for Lou Bollo doubling an actor jumping through a window. From there, I kept training hard and trying my best to earn the trust of stunt coordinators showing that I can get the job done. Any coordinator hiring someone new is taking a risk, so proving your reliability and competency beyond a reasonable doubt is the central component.
PopHorror – That’s awesome. You are also a firearms expert, can you explain how you have helped bring awareness to firearm safety in the industry as well? Were there any films, in particular, this came in handy for?
Skyler Mowatt – I’d hesitate to call myself an expert, as I have the honour of knowing a few true experts of the craft, but I do have a solid enough background in shooting technique and firearms knowledge thankfully to be useful in applying it as a specialty. I promote firearms safety and proficiency through a few ways. The main one many know me for is social media content. I’ve also given seminars to stunt performers both new and already established on the topic of firearms safety, technique, and dispelling and clarifying myths about the difference between blank and live fire. I’ve also introduced many stunt performers to the idea of owning guns themselves and training them as a discipline. I’ve always maintained that being capable behind a gun is an extension of martial arts, and not separate from it, as it meets the literal definition of martial art. As far as when the safety aspect of it comes into play, it depends if the show or movie is doing practical gunfire as opposed to gas power airsoft, or a similar system. The treatment of them for safety doesn’t change at all, but the focus on where I can help comes down to being proficient at technique myself and helping my fellow performers on getting them to look sharp. One area where general gun knowledge has been in high demand is in motion capture for video games. With that, I can fill a performer role as well as an advisory one, and so far thankfully that has been going incredibly well.
PopHorror – That’s awesome and very important work! What was the first film you did stunt work for?
Skyler Mowatt – First thing I did stunts for, as I mentioned earlier, was Supernatural season nine. Doubling the main bad guy for the episode jumping through a cabin window. It was an honour to be trusted with that as my first ever gig, I’ll always be grateful to Lou Bollo for taking that leap of faith in me. My first feature was on War for the Planet of the Apes, as one of the soldiers in the opening sequence. So much fun. All practical gunfire on that one.
PopHorror – That’s so cool! What’s your favorite thing about doing stunt work?
Skyler Mowatt – My favourite aspect of the job is doing fight sequences. I love getting in deep on a challenging choreography sequence. It’s incredibly satisfying to get it just right, and look at the final product and see a job well done. It’s also just hugely fun. It’s largely what we train for, so to get to put it all together is the best.
PopHorror –I bet! You’ve worked on series like Supernatural, Riverdale, Altered Carbon, and Van Helsing. What was it like to work on such high-profile series and with fantastic actors?
Skyler Mowatt – It’s been a surreal experience at times. To get the opportunity to work on these shows with amazing performers is an honour I’m always grateful for. To be able to say I had a small part in making these shows is so cool. To be able to say I had a one on one fight with Anthony Mackie and his incredible stunt double and the fight coordinator of the show Aaron Toney, I can hardly believe it sometimes. To be able to have a one on one fight scene with Iko Uwais from The Raid was an honour I couldn’t have dreamed of. It’s been a huge amount of the fun, the people I’ve worked with along the way made it so.
PopHorror – And they’re lucky to have worked with you as well! Are there any series you would love to be a part of that you haven’t done yet?
Skyler Mowatt – I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan, it would be such a dream to work on a Star Wars series. I absolutely love what they did with The Mandolorian, so some future series like that would be incredible. I’d love to double a Jedi or Sith character for some lightsaber duel scenes. That would be a peak moment for me.
PopHorror – You can do it! I hope you get to work on a Star Wars film, with your body of work, I can totally see it happening! What’s your goal for your career?
Skyler Mowatt – My goals currently are to continue to push the envelope on being the best performer I can be, to build my knowledge base in areas that I’m currently weak in, such as water work, driving. I’ve been building my skills in editing over the past couple of years, but I definitely need to build a knowledge base on shooting the fights themselves. There’s so much to work on, it never ends, and that’s one of the best parts about the job.
PopHorror – I know you will do anything you set your mind on. You’re definitely a hard worker! Anything else you’d like to talk about?
Skyler Mowatt – I’ve thankfully had the chance to talk about quite a lot with you guys so thanks for that! I would just say that it’s important to me to point out that civilian firearms ownership is under constant attack up here in Canada. If you’re a Canadian, and you’re interested in firearms training at some point in the future, I’d recommend you check out the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights. It’s an excellent advocacy organization with impeccable ethics and transparency, dedicated to educating people on the subject, as well as fighting for our interests. Being able to own and use firearms is essential for me to be able to do what I’m doing as a specialty, and help others improve their own skills. That concludes my shameless plug. I want to thank you guys for having me on, it’s been a real pleasure.
PopHorror – Thank you so much, Skyler. We appreciate your time and your advice. We hope to talk to you again in the future and wish you all the best with your future projects!