It was back in 1997 that Paul Howell started his career performing adrenaline inducing stunts on film and television. Working as a stuntman on box office hits including Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman, Peaky Blinders and Outlander, Paul sat down with Source to tell us all about his thrilling career and how you can get involved.
How did you get into stunt performing?
As a kid I grew up watching programmes like The Fall Guy and films including Hooper. I was always trying to be Evel Knievel, jumping my bike over ramps. I left school and went straight onto a Youth Training Scheme, which focused on sport and leisure. I joined this scheme because I knew one of the placements was at Camelot Theme Park in Lancashire; I knew the position was to be part of the jousting team. So, I went to Camelot and became part of the entertainments team doing daily jousting shows. Within a year I was a knight and falling off horses for a living.
What has your favourite job been, and why?
Wow, I don’t think I could pick one! I was fortunate to be part of a record-breaking team on Game of Thrones that set a record for most guys fully set on fire at once. That was great, and I was proud to work with a great bunch of people. I have been lucky enough to travel all over with my job and see some amazing places that I probably wouldn’t get to see if I wasn’t filming there.
What would you say the highlight of your career has been?
I’ve enjoyed everything during my career and I haven’t got a single highlight as such. I’ve been part of The British Stunt Register for 22 years now and even now, I still enjoy that feeling I get when the phone goes for a job!
What are some of the biggest challenges of being a stuntman?
One of the biggest challenges as a stuntman can be mentally. You might be on a shoot that consists of numerous weeks working nights. Or it could be 4am and you’re 40ft up, just about to fall off a building: it’s windy, rainy cold, and you’ve got to maintain your focus. Being prepared for a stunt mentally is a big challenge and learning to stay focused is essential.
What advice would you give any students or young people looking into a career as a stunt person?
You only get out what you put in. Joining The British Stunt Register is only the first step. Train hard, gain skills, improve them, and constantly add to them throughout your career. If it’s your dream, don’t give up on it: go for it and make it happen.
FIND OUT MORE
Get all your stunt double inspiration at www.thebritishstuntregister.com