A car is chased by a car, it’s on fire and the roofs are jumping.
Zandara Kennedy certainly leads a less than ordinary life as one of Hollywood’s most famous stuntwomen.
And Canadian adventurers in the US gave the Sun a fascinating, and terrifying, insight into the dangers and excitement of their crazy, adrenaline fueled day job.
Zandara specializes in stunt driving and later this year will compete in Formula Drift, the world’s drifting championship – a style of driving in which the driver uses the throttle, brakes, grip, drift gear and steering to keep the car in command while gliding spectacularly around corners.
She calls it motorsport figure skating. Fire skills are also characteristic.
Jupiter is now his push – but he’s breaking out with a resume of film and TV appearances in the likes of X-Men, Deadpool and The Walking Dead.
He also stunt doubled for stars like Anna Heche, Uma Thurman and Julianne Anderson to name but a few.
After breaking her arm performing circus arts at the age of 14, Zandara put on a performance show.
At 19, he supervised the Motion Picture Drive Clinic founded by legendary stuntman Rick Seaman, and got his first big break working in a Stephen Segal film in Canada.
It’s not an easy break, especially when the stakes are so high – but Zandara nods.
“It’s a big leap of faith for a stupid organizer to hire someone to do something,” he said.
Not all productions have great budgets, so you have to get it right the first time around. There’s only so many cars someone can crash in a day.
“It’s one thing to know how to do something technically and maybe try to do it with two people, but we really don’t have that luxury in the movie,” he continued.
“And then of course you hire the person. You want to know that they’re going to do the job right away, get the job done right away, because time is money.”
“A lot of times we only build one item or the other. If you think you’re going to crash into a florist or something, you only have so many resets and each one costs money.”
Zandara has no problem building a roof or building either.
But should a professional stunwoman be intimidating?
The key, he says, is not to think about anything.
“Of course we think about details when we think about how to make it safe, but any type of rumination beyond that type can really easily turn into anxiety,” Zandara said.
“For me and for many people who do things that I know, we manage the stress by just existing, but not always focusing on what is important to do, until we can actually do it and do something. .
His cars are a strong suit – Zandara is also a mechanic who works on his own rides – and how he managed to crash safely.
It may be all part of the job – but it still hurts.
“You know it’s coming, but you don’t have to pretend,” he said of his mental approach.
“T-good ones are definitely the worst. They don’t just want to move your body. They’ve always been fun for me.”
Funnily enough, being fired up also requires incredible mental strength and focus.
“The first one was definitely ugly,” he recalls.
“There’s something very primal about how your brain reacts to fire. My first fire was burning in practice, so it wasn’t a big deal.
“But you’re moving a lot faster than you think. I find the biggest challenge with fire is slowing your brain down enough to stretch it, because you often finish the action before you actually warm up.”
Zandara’s friend and fellow firefighter Colin Decker is the world record holder for the longest full body burn ever – an incredible three minutes and 27 minutes burning from head to toe.
He is not ready to follow her lead, but he never gives up on anyone.
“I’ve always loved our bodies and I’ve loved my body,” she says.