"What kind of stunt driver has a Prius?"
It's a question Portland stuntwoman Kirsten Foe gets a lot, basically every time she drives onto a set. But as a 40-year-old single mother who originally trained to be a fashion photographer, she understands that much about her is unlikely.
"I took a very strange path," she laughs.
An admitted daredevil from her youth growing up in Camas, Wash., Foe got into stunt driving mostly by accident. Her first job in the TV industry was acting as a body double for an actress on the since-canceled TNT series Leverage. When the stuntperson assigned to sub for the same actress didn't show, she stepped in to help with a brief chase scene.
Berating the stunt coordinators of every set thereafter, she threw herself into training, landed steady work on Grimm, and graduated to increasing work in film and prestige cable dramas such as The Affair. She played an astronaut in two separate projects last year—"fighting with a giant fishbowl on your head isn't fun," she says—and currently speeds around Seattle streets blocked from traffic for the upcoming film The Rules of Racing in the Rain. Each summer, for a fellow Grimm vet's summer filmmaking camp, she teaches preteens and adolescents the tricks of her trade.
Her "star turn," relative to the anonymity of the job, also came about somewhat accidentally. Foe says she was "obsessed, probably unhealthily obsessed," with the first run of Twin Peaks, so landing the plum assignment of doubling Madchen Amick's aging diner waitress for the acclaimed reboot was an actual "dream come true."
The stunt itself, in which Amick's character jumps on the hood of her newly stolen station wagon with daughter Amanda Seyfried behind the wheel, already required an outsized number of elements to work perfectly. Her wardrobe posed an additional hurdle.
"The character's crazy red high heels that they gave me were a little bit large," Foe says. "I decided not to complain, just keeping them on by kind of squeezing my toes. But, when we filmed, a shoe flew off. And even though that wasn't planned, David [Lynch] loved it. And, the next scene starts with Madchen crawling around trying to find her shoe. So, in a small way, I guess I changed Twin Peaks."
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