Many women would love to be mistaken for Beyonce, Rihanna or Vivica A. Fox.
For Angela Meryl, it's her job. The Germantown native stuntwoman doubled for Beyonce in "Obsessed," for Rihanna in "Battleship," and Fox in "Kill Bill" and also spent five weeks in Istanbul working on "Skyfall," the new James Bond film in theaters now.
Meryl, a Willingboro High graduate, who splits her time between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, is just out with "Stunts: The How-To Handbook," which is available now on her web site angelameryl.net and Amazon.com. Growing up a gymnast and athlete helped inspire her to get into stunts, which she kicked off in the 1994 film "First Kid."
Despite performing all kinds of daredevil activities on nearly 100 films and television shows, Meryl says she's never broken any bones and only had three stitches in her career, which ended up on her finger after being slammed through a table in "Kill Bill," in which she performed stunts for Fox in her fight scene with Uma Thurman and Thurman's double.
"Thank God I have been really blessed. There have been times where I could have really died," said Meryl. She was excited to crash an ambulance in "Grey's Anatomy," and to be slammed through a glass door by LL Cool J's stunt double in "NCIS: LA."
"I had always wanted to go through a glass door. It's exhilarating," she said. Any stunts she has yet to try that she hopes to book? "I'd like to do something with fire. Maybe not a full body burn, maybe bottom half so you can still see me," Meryl said. "I want to do a car chase in Philly or New York," said Meryl who did some slower driving work on "Paranoia," which shot in town last summer with Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman.
So is there anything she is afraid of? "I passed on a bungee jumping job with only an ankle harness," Meryl says. Her book is as much advice for aspiring stunt actors as it is stories about her career. "You've got to persevere and get in people's faces," she explains. It's also good to have a mentor. Meryl cites Debbie Evans, "THE female driver in the business," who did a famous motorcycle chase scene in "The Matrix," with inspiring her throughout her career.