BATTLING through traffic on the M25, Kerri Parker knew she was running out of time before the cameras started rolling.
Always prepared, she resorted to cleaning her teeth with bottled water and applied tape to her most intimate of areas.
She says with a laugh: “To this day I don’t know what the other drivers thought.”
Welcome to the world of the body doubles — the movie stars you are likely to have seen on screen dozens of times but would not recognise in the street.
The profession was put in the spotlight last week when Lily James’s stand-in for upcoming mini-series Pam And Tommy was unveiled.
Marissa Hoffman, 26, will fill in for the Brit actress during sex scenes in the drama that focuses on the 1995 marriage of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and rocker Tommy Lee.
And Kerri, who has doubled for Megan Fox and Cate Blanchett on movies in the UK and across the pond, knows just what Marissa has in store.
As the stand-in for Jessica Raine in the 2010 movie Robin Hood, the 36-year-old took on the role of Princess Isabel of Gloucester for intimate scenes.
The former Army medic reveals: “I met the male body double ten minutes before we climbed into this castle bed covered in furs.
“It’s a bit awkward. One minute you’re saying hello and the next you’re looking longingly at each other pretending you’re about to make love, wearing special skin-coloured underwear.
“We joked about the relationship moving fast for a first date.
“Once the director positioned us in bed, we shoved an intimacy cushion between us down below. They’re used just in case an actor can’t control himself. It can happen and it’s for everyone’s comfort and personal space.”
There are other tricks body doubles use to make sure they are prepared for steamy scenes.
Kerri, from Norwich, says: “I always worry about smelly breath so I carry mints in my bra and we popped them regularly during the shoot.
“Over six hours, the cameraman shot a selection of wide shots and close-ups, which were merged into the film after the real actors did their love-making scenes.
“Most of the time you are lying there making small talk about the weather and footie. Pretending to feel sexy while being watched by a crew is hard.”
Kerri also filled in for the film’s leading lady, Cate Blanchett, who played Maid Marian. While you may only see glimpses of her in the final cut, the role required months of preparation.
She says: “I’d been exercising, dieting and studying both Cate and Jessica’s pictures to ensure I was the same proportions.”
More recently Kerri has stood in for Liz Hurley in US TV series The Royals.
And she doubled for Megan Fox in the 2008 romcom How To Lose Friends And Alienate People.
Kerri got her big break while living in Hollywood 16 years ago. After finding work as a model she was scouted by Playboy to live at Hugh Hefner’s infamous Playboy Mansion.
She says: “In 2005 I saw a casting for women with Army training to be body doubles in The Bourne Ultimatum movie. You had to know how to fire a weapon and have had proper Army training.” Kerri got the job.
She says: “As a glamorous girl people don’t expect me to have a huge range of stunt skills. I’m a rock climbing instructor, top female stunt driver, I can shoot a myriad of weapons, I have black belt in karate and I’m a scuba divemaster.”
Incredibly, Kerri does all this with a terminal brain tumour, which was found by doctors in 2013.
She says: “Having a brain tumour and still being able to work as a body double has given me real purpose. I love my job and it won’t stop me.”
Kerri emphasises the importance of daily exercise and clean eating for her work, but adds: “As Liz’s double on The Royals I didn’t eat on set. She is so slim and I needed to replicate her body properly.
"Often Liz was filming in one section of the castle and I was in another having my legs or back filmed as I ran. My aim is to be the UK’s top woman stunt and body double.”
But the work hasn’t always helped her love life. She says: “I spent most of my time in LA single. Any boyfriends got jealous about close-up scenes and didn’t like me being able to out-kick and out-drive them.”
There is little doubt stunt work is empowering, though.
Body and stunt double Georgina Armstrong filled in for Gal Gadot in 2017’s superhero film Wonder Woman.
To prepare for the role, which involved fight scenes on horseback, the 35-year-old show jumper, from Faringdon, Oxon, attended daily eight-hour boot camps involving specialist exercises and costume fittings.
The mum-of-one says: “It’s every girl’s dream to put on the Wonder Woman outfit.
“I had to dye my hair dark brown and study every part of Gal’s body to replicate her muscle and skin tone.
“Poor Gal must have got sick of me staring at her arms and legs to ensure I became her doppelganger.”
Filming took place in Bourne Woods, Surrey, in November 2015, in the dead of winter.
Georgina says: “I was in the tightest boned corset, short skirt and boots, galloping through a forest with cameras mounted on trucks and drones all around me, trying to look sexy and fierce.
"The horseback fight scenes were intricately planned. I ripped a few costumes and fell off the horse, but that’s normal. I know how to fall safely.”
On working with Hollywood’s top actors, Georgina insists: “You can’t afford to be star struck. Gal is a professional.”
Georgina — who made her movie debut in Black Beauty at six years old and has also appeared in Thor, Outlander and Maleficent — was born into a body double and stunt family.
She says: “My grandmother was a stunt woman. My parents Wendy and Vic Armstrong were in the industry and doubled as Lois Lane and Clark Kent in the 1978 Superman movie with Christopher Reeve.”
Georgina later filled in for the lead actress in the Golden Compass and went on to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man, Green Hornet, Justice League and the War Of The Worlds TV series.
She says: “I seem to always end up in forests in winter in corsets and skirts galloping on horseback.
“On Thor I taught Chris Hemsworth how to ride and became mates with him and his wife.”
While she has had a long career, Georgina is not allowed to reveal many of the stars she has taken knocks for. She says: “For most movies you can’t name the actress, it’s a secret. But I’ve swapped diet and exercise secrets with some of Hollywood’s top stars. No one I have worked with is a diva.
“Getting to do stunts with Thor, Wonder Woman and Batman is a dream come true.”
Additional reporting: Alley Einstein
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