Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Guy Bews

From Rodeo Rings to TV Screens: Award-Winning Stunts Become An Albertan Family Affair

For the families behind Alberta's success at the SAG Awards, the set of The Last of Us was more than a workplace; it was a family reunion with adrenaline as the guest of honour

Alberta is known for creating rodeo stars, but there’s another skill set that our province is producing ‘double time’ that fewer people know about.

Stunt doubles… and great ones at that.

The award-winning HBO series The Last of Us, filmed in Alberta, made a big impact at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last week, garnering much-deserved recognition.

One of the series’ wins was for an Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble.

From Rodeo to Stunts

Actor Nick Offerman and stunt double Guy Bews on the set of The Last of Us.  PHOTO | GUY BEWS
Actor Nick Offerman and stunt double Guy Bews on the set of The Last of Us | Guy Bews

Not surprisingly, the stunt performers who elevated the series to its acclaimed status are predominantly from Alberta and have been in the industry for many years.

Alberta’s widespread rodeo culture means that performing dangerous stunts for money is just another day at work for many locals. 

The overlap between Alberta’s thrill-seeking rodeo spirit has bred a tradition of stunt work that spans multiple generations.

Some of the biggest names in rodeo, The Bews and The Woolseys, have also become our province’s top names in stunt performing.

Both families helped get The Last of Us recognized for stuntwork.

Guy Bews, whose long filmography includes high-profile films like Inception, and the hit TV series Fargo served as stunt co-ordinator for all nine episodes of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us… they were searching around the world for a coordinator, and then all of a sudden they were like ya know we got a guy out here that can do the job,” Bews told the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

A “Can Do” Family Affair

Guy also got to work with his family throughout the season.

His son Cooper, daughter Jace and brothers T.J. and Peter all appear in the series. 

While some people might feel scared having to direct their family members while they do risky tricks on camera, the Bews crew all share a typical “can do” Albertan attitude.  

An explosion from Episode 5 of The Last of Us. PHOTO | BELL MEDIA
An explosion from Episode 5 of The Last of Us | Bell Media

Guy says that’s what has gotten them this far in the business.

“I can say sometimes [production] might not feel that you do a cool gnarly gig safe enough…where they might wanna go CGI, and you have to talk them into it and say we can actually flip this semi-truck down the center of the highway…there’s a tool and a way we can do this, and we’ve done it before.”

Guy’s father is Tom Bews, a rodeo competitor who has been breaking ground since the 1970s as a stunt performer and wrangler.

Legendary stuntman Brent Woolsey was also a stunt coordinator for one episode. He performed in the series with his adrenaline-seeking children, Lindsay and Tristin, Sally Bishop, Jason Glass, Kelsey Andries and Samara Von Rada.

Both clans took full advantage of working with family.

“It was cool because there (were) so many people and so much going on, so we were given a lot of creative freedom,” Lindsay told the Calgary Herald.

“We would partner up with people and get to create our own action within all the action that was going on. I was like: ‘Oh, there’s my brother. I’m going to tackle him down and beat him up.’”

Lindsay Woolsey barrel racing. PHOTO | LINDSAY WOOSLEY
Lindsay Woolsey barrel racing | Lindsay Woosley

Who wouldn’t want to get paid to beat up their sibling once in a while?

Sally Bishop, another of Woolsey’s daughters and a former rodeo trick rider said working on set was truly a new experience.

“Everything was built from scratch,” Bishop says. “It was just so impressive in scope. I have worked on lots of different shows, but definitely, there was this feeling that this one was different.”

Beyond the Albertans above, other local athletes-turned-stunt performers helped to make the series stand out. Calgary-based Kelsey Andries, an IFMA Muay Thai World Champion and martial arts expert Martin Cochingco, who, before getting into stunting, was a breakdancer on the Edmonton Eskimos “hype team.”

The HBO project was a monumental team endeavour, creating 1,490 jobs – making it the largest series ever filmed in Canada. 

The series garnered eight Emmy Awards, including one for Calgarian Michael Playfair for Outstanding Sound Mixing, alongside numerous other SAG awards. 

The series’ success demonstrates Albertans’ exceptional ability to excel in any task they undertake.

No matter how terrifying it is.

Share this story

Stories in your Inbox, daily or weekly

Choose the types of stories you receive.

Related Stories