The Madames interview veteran stuntwoman CC Ice. Her Marvel credits include Thor: Ragnarok, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision, Black Widow, and the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While Ice has performed a wide range of stunt work in the MCU, she currently serves as the primary stunt double for Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch.

CC Ice
CC Ice

If you’re looking for more WandaVision discussion, check out our full commentary series. And hear more about the incredible stunt work in our Black Widow episode.

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Here’s the full transcript of the interview:

Amy:
Welcome to another installment of Studio Sessions with the Madames.

Kris:
Our guest today is a veteran of the MCU most recently appearing in Black Widow and WandaVision.

Amy:
And next year she’ll be back in Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, where she continues her work as Elizabeth Osen’s primary stunt double.

Kris:
Welcome to the show a woman braver than we’ll ever be, CC Ice.

CC Ice:
Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Kris:
So how did growing up with five older brothers both motivate and prepare you for a career as a stunt performer?

CC Ice:
I love my brothers so much – and my sisters – they are incredible. They had such amazing ideas, such as, “Let’s use a trash bag as a parachute to jump down the stairs and see who survives. And CC’s the smallest, so let’s try it with her first, and if she lives, we’ll try it.” So I kind of began my stunt career without realizing it was my stunt career, with my brothers and their fabulous ideas throughout all of life’s adventures. And my mother – she’s an incredible woman.

Kris:
She’d have to be.

CC Ice:
She was a single parent working three jobs at one point, raising eight kids, which was a feat in itself at that point. So she had her hands full with all these ideas that my brothers and sisters were having and all of us trying it. So, I praise my mother and her abilities to keep us safe all the way. But it was the eighties. So the sky was the limit for all kinds of ideas of climbing this tree and jumping from one branch to the other and all kinds of death-defying stunts as children that were very, “the imagination run wild.” So of course, we got into all kinds of mischief. So that’s what sort of prepared me for being tough – rough and tumble growing up in the Midwest in Missouri, farmlands and trees and woods and adventures every day. And that’s what prepared me for this current career.

Amy:
Wow. I’m a bit speechless at the moment. So what lessons did you learn in your first job as a magician’s assistant? How did that help you in your stunt career?

CC Ice:
I learned so many great things – confidence. A lot of times also just full commitment, full send. Like a lot of times in stunts we say that, “it’s a full send.” You just have to go for it. There might be fears in the back of your mind about this and that, but as long as you fully commit things work out. I don’t want to reveal any magic because I respect it very much, but a lot of being a magician’s assistant was literally just trusting that it’s going to do it and get full energy behind it. And then it works flawlessly. If you kind of half did it, it would not work at all. So people may understand dropping through trap doors and all these things about magic and dancing with swords and all of these various things. That sort of built confidence in me to just give it my all and trust that it’s going to work. And also I learned a lot of rehearsal is very important. Rehearse, rehearse, and make sure that it’ll go well when it’s time to perform. And then you can trust your partner, whether it’s the magician himself or another dancer, a fellow magician assistant as well. You get this rhythm, this magical rhythm. And that’s part of the magic – the timing between your dance partner. And it’s not all about you. It’s about the team and working together with whomever you’re performing with. And that is a huge part of what stunts are. When you have a fight partner or you’re on the line and a rigger’s got you, you are dancing together and you trust each other that each person is going to bring their expertise to the situation and make it flawless. And that’s the true magic behind it all. And that’s what I learned in the magic show.

Kris:
So it’s funny that Wanda ended up playing a magician’s assistant in episode two.

CC Ice:
I know! It was so fabulous. That whole show was so special to me and all of us, actually. We had such a great time. And then of course the pandemic is a very serious situation that happened in the middle of it. And we all came together afterwards, but the show itself, it really means a lot to us.

Kris:
Same here. We both connected to that show in different ways. It was the show I needed at that moment in my life, for sure.

CC Ice:
Yeah, me too.

Kris:
So what was your big break or your foot in the door project?

CC Ice:
I would say it would have to be The Hunger GamesMockingjay one and two. We kind of filmed them together. I had done things before that, but when I got hired on to that production I, first of all, had a very special, great time. But I also met an incredible group of people that would then change my life forever later. So Sam Hargrave was the stunt coordinator and RA Rondell was the supervising stunt coordinator, both incredible. And then we had a great team which included Monique Ganderton and several other stunt performers that became very great friends of mine. But also they saw something in me and they believed in that. They then later put me in for being on the Avengers stunt team. And so that moment of meeting and working with them really altered the course of where I was going, I feel. And I am ever grateful to that entire group of people.

Amy:
So how do you go about making these connections and building bridges in such a tight-knit world for stunt performing?

CC Ice:
It can be difficult when you’re first trying to get in because it is so close-knit. It is a family. You’re basically trusting people with your lives at certain times throughout this. So you get a very, very strong bond with everyone. So it can be a bit daunting to get in. Each person’s journey is a little different as to how they got into stunts. But for me (I can speak for my experience) I just wasn’t afraid to put myself out there and say hello to people and make it clear that I wasn’t just meeting them just to use them. I wanted to make friends. I wanted to make actual friendships with people and learn and understand how to be better, how to bring something to the team and be safe and perform well, but also have friends. So I actually just trained really hard at a couple of different places that I knew stunt folks would train at so that I could meet people and understand what they worked on to understand what stunt coordinators felt were very important things to work on. And then I also just made friendships with people which became very special to me. And basically just putting yourself out there and meeting people – that’s how you break through. You meet a group, this person introduces you to that person, and the next thing you know, this coordinator wants to see what you can bring. They might put you on a small project as just an indy stunt person, just doing some awesome stuff, but not doubling anyone just to see how it will go. And if you bring a good energy to the team and if you’re safe, you’re on time, you’re professional and you bring the skills that you said you could bring, then they’ll put you in on the next thing. So then they start to trust that. So it’s a long process of being honest with your skills and then waiting for people to take the time, to see if you do back that up with your performance and back your word up. So then they bring you into the group. So it’s a slow road, but it’s an important one that I don’t think anyone should skip ahead on, because you’re also building friendships for a lifetime.

Kris:
And that takes serious dedication, both mental and physical.

CC Ice:
Yes. And an importance of never lie about your skills. It’s so important. It seems so easy. But it’s so important to never lie about your skills when it comes to stunt performing and always follow through on your word. I’m human, everybody’s human. There are times where I go, “I could have done better in this professional setting, or I want to be better in this or that and the other.” But my goal is to always be honest with the skills that I have to offer. I might not be right for this movie, but I might be perfect for this one. That way they can always trust my word and the performer will bring what they say.

Kris:
Right. Because the stakes are a little higher than say, lying that you know QuickBooks in an office.

CC Ice:
Yeah. If you’re going to do a high fall, never, never lie that you’re really great at high falls when you’ve never done one. So, that’s a very important thing, to be honest. And everybody wants to get the job. Everyone wants to say yes and please the stunt coordinator and make sure that you can. But the worst thing you can do is lie and then they think you can do it. And then you get there and you can’t do it and they have to replace you anyway. That makes everyone look bad, including the stunt coordinator. And it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous if you try to do it when you’re not 100% confident that you can deliver something like that.

Amy:
Right, and if it’s something that you’ve not done before, you need to prep for it more.

CC Ice:
Oh yes, absolutely.

Amy:
Otherwise, it could be dangerous like you said.

CC Ice:
It can be very dangerous with certain stunts. There are certain times where you might have been training something and then you finally get that chance to perform it for the first time on camera, but it’s not the first time that you’ve performed it. It’s not the first time that you’ve rehearsed it. It shouldn’t be the first time that you’re experiencing a big stunt like that. Obviously, each situation is different and there are various ways. If say a stunt coordinator does believe in you and you just never had the opportunity to practice a certain thing before – this also does happen in prep and in rehearsal, – they will train you on that specific thing. If they want you to be the double and you can do all the other things, and there’s this one thing that you’ve never had a chance to do, they will train you during prep to do that thing and assess along the way, “Hh yeah, this will be safe. This will be great. She’s got it.” Or “he’s got it.” So that does happen as well, but that’s when you’re honest. You say, “I’ve never done this before. I’m willing to give it a try if you want me to try it, or this person can do it and they can replace me.” But as long as you’re honest, everyone’s on the same goal and playing field of “Okay, we can assess this. Yes. I’d still like to keep you and I’ll train you in it.” That’s another way it can go.

Kris:
So what fighting styles are you trained in?

CC Ice:
I’ve done Muay Thai. I’ve done jujitsu
. I’ve done a little bit of judo and various hodgepodge of lots of things, just picking things up along the way. And a lot of superhero fighting, which is different than real fighting. Let’s be honest. Oh, man. I have done Muay Thai and jujitsu quite a bit and I love them both. I love especially jujitsu. Man, I love it. I haven’t been able to do it in a little while because of all the filming. And then of course COVID happened. So that’s a very specific, high-touch sport. I would love to get back to doing that very much. It’s one of the things I enjoy. Those are the martial arts I’m trained in.

Amy:
What is your specific area of expertise?

CC Ice:
I would say fighting and also wirework. Those are the two that I feel most confident in. I still have a lot to learn in wirework. Of course, I have some amazingly talented friends who are even more exceptional at wirework. They inspire me every day. But I feel very confident in my wire work abilities and a lot of flying, superhero landing, and all kinds of fun stuff. So I’ve lived on wires for a long time with this character, as you guys know – not only performing it but also training it and testing out rigs that will be for Lizzie on any Wanda type thing. I test out all the gags or a stunt performer will test out all the gags before the actor even gets on the line to make sure it’s good for them. So definitely wirework and definitely fighting are the two that I enjoy the most and are my strong points.

Kris:
So you obviously do a ton of physical training in your work, but how do you prep for jobs mentally?

CC Ice:
That’s a huge thing and it’s very important. And I want everyone to know it’s so important to mentally prepare yourself and also mentally take time for yourself no matter what job you do. I just want everyone to know it’s not selfish. It’s not embarrassing. It’s not weak. It’s not any of those things to take time for yourself to mentally focus on healing and getting grounded within yourself. It’s imperative. I think COVID, the lockdown, really showed a lot of people that it is important to mentally prepare yourself and also to mentally check in with yourself. So a lot of times I love to meditate. I love to just be with myself with the thoughts and not be around anyone else and really check in on how I feel and be okay with how I feel, even if it’s upset or angry or depressed or disappointed. I have a right to feel those feelings. And then I just let myself settle with those things and be okay with that. So in between jobs, I like to just unplug. The other thing I like to do is walk in nature and be grounded with the earth and the energy and the gloriousness that is around us that we sometimes forget to see when we’re in busy work schedules, or even when the lockdown was happening. You could go outside, away from people, and be just with nature. And it’s so big and beautiful and makes you feel. It’s so special and in a busy work life, especially when you’re on studio sets and stages and such, you forget to reconnect with the earth, I think. I know I do. And so it’s imperative for me in between jobs to just realign myself with my energy and the earth and my inner soul. And this is a private thing for me, I connect with my faith and God. I’m not here to push that on anyone. But for me, that’s something I do and just try to reconnect with that power, that being, whatever that is for you, the energy, it’s so important.

Amy:
Well, for one, you’re making me miss nature. It’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere. I’m stuck in a city.

CC Ice:
Is there any park or anything nearby?

Amy:
No, it’s all closed. And the problem is it’s so cramped and people are not following the rules, so it’s dangerous. Yes.

Kris:
She’s wistful in a good way because that is a lovely picture that you’ve painted for us. And especially as women. This is something we talk about a lot on our show in regards to the Disney+ series that we’re covering. So often women are vilified for making selfish choices, even though they’re the best choices for them. And that as women, we need to redefine the concept of selfishness.

CC Ice:
Oh yes. 100%. Everybody’s taught that, if you take a day to meditate to yourself, you’re being so selfish. Or say even a salon moment of going and getting a massage because your body needs to be worked on and get those energies out, “Oh, that’s such a frivolous thing. That’s just pampering.” And it’s like, “Actually, no.” It’s very important to realign your body. And a professional can do that with whether it’s a massage or a physio or something like that. But we’re taught, especially as women, that is a very frivolous and selfish thing to do, to waste money on that a salon day. But no. It’s absolutely very imperative to know when you can say “I’ve had enough of this. I need to take some time for myself.” I think we’ve been painted as women to always give, give, give, and nurture, and all this stuff for everyone else. Like we have to be these mothering, even if we’re not mothers – this sort of idea of mothering everyone and giving and always being there and supporting. And then we’re not doing that for ourselves here. We’re doing it for everyone else. And then we’re on empty when we think of ourselves. And I think we need to rewrite that story and know that we are absolutely so special and important. And we need to love ourselves and support ourselves as well as everyone else. And it’s not selfish at all.

Amy:
And this is a conversation I think that people should have now, especially with the Olympics and Simone Biles choosing to not perform for the other two events. Everyone is really shitting on her.

CC Ice:
I very much support her. I think it was an amazing and brave thing. There are injuries that are not physical. There are injuries or you’ve reached your limit and you need to take a moment to yourself, and this also goes with stunts. If you’re not in the right headspace and you have to go perform something that takes exceptional precision and power – stunt world gymnastics world, you name it. A lot of gymnasts have become stunt performers, so they know it’s not wise to go in there and throw it anyway. It’s not heroic and it’s not, “Oh, take one for the team.” You can actually literally injure yourself so badly that you… Weill, I don’t want to talk about injuries because that’s not great. But I am so proud of her for saying, I need to step away from this. That takes such courage and I totally support her. And those who don’t understand it, I think are removed from understanding themselves, too, and understanding what that’s like.

Amy:
Yeah, because it could be a life-changing injury.

CC Ice:
Oh yeah, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen people get so injured that they now cannot walk whether it’s in stunts or in gymnastics. You just have to be in the right headspace. And again, it might not be a physical injury, like an ankle or whatever. But if you are not in the right headspace, it is so wise for you to be honest about that and say, “I need to step away for a minute.” I’ve stepped away from a stunt before. I just need a minute. I need to focus on this. “Can I have a minute?” And then I took my minute. It wasn’t dramatic or anything. I did my minute, got re-centered, did a stunt, and it was great. So I absolutely support those who stand up for themselves.

Amy:
So what is your favorite type of stunt to perform?

CC Ice:
Oh my gosh. Anything with wirework. Honestly, I just love any superhero flying. I just love that. It feels so magical and powerful that I will never be tired of that. That’s my favorite stunt to perform.

Kris:
Bless you. Because I get nauseous just watching it on the screen.

CC Ice:
I have a healthy respect for heights, but I don’t have a fear of heights. When I’m flying around, high above any set piece, it doesn’t bother me. Also, I have trust in the rigging teams that are incredible professionals, but I don’t really have that. I have a healthy respect for it. I’m not going to be a daredevil. I just enjoy it and it doesn’t bother me being up high.

Kris:
So how has COVID changed stunt work? And do you feel that these limitations have inspired new kinds of creativity?

CC Ice:
I feel that COVID has affected the stunt world quite significantly. As a matter of fact, and I’m not sure if they want me to share this, but I’m going to share it. On WandaVision we originally (and this happens a lot even without COVID) had a different type of ending first before they get to the [spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen it] big battle in the sky. Originally, there was actually some hand-to-hand combat going on with people on the ground. And that was before COVID. We were actually just starting to prep that fight and choreograph it with our amazing fight choreographer, Shahaub. He’s incredible and a great friend of mine. And he was just coming up with some moves and ideas. And we were just brainstorming that and some magical spells. But it was very close-quartered and fighting people and whatever. And as soon as COVID happened, when we came back from COVID, that was gone for the safety of everyone, for the safety of the performers, for the safety of obviously Lizzie. There was no more of that close-combat-type fighting style. Now that could still happen. We’ve obviously done some of that, but it’s very specific. We only do it for this amount of time. Everyone’s masked before they go, then they take the masks off, they do it, they put the mask back on. They take breaks so that we do the best that we can to be as safe as possible while doing fight scenes that still require physical contact. But it has helped us look outside the box of what we might’ve done in the first place and become very creative with the stunt performing and very creative and different ways of using, for instance, different technology to show previz. So previz is a pre-visualization of what the fight might look like that a lot of times we’ll do in the stunt world. So we’ll do basically the fight as we see it without wardrobe or anything, just in our training gear. And we’ll film it in the way that we feel is the best way to showcase whatever fight sequence that might be. And we’ll show that to the director. And they might say, “We like this part. We don’t like that part. Can we change this to something else?” And then a lot of times they might even use the same camera angles that we showed them because it looks the best with the fight. Well, we weren’t able to do previz for a bit. So then one of my friends and stunt coordinators decided to do it in a mo-cap sort of way, a motion-capture sort of way. Dave Macomber is incredible. He’s my current boss and a stunt coordinator, a fight coordinator. He has such a career. He has this mo-cap ability to where he can be in his hotel room or in his house and he can do an entire previz with just a motion capture and put it together and show them what it can be viz-effects wise. So they can still see what the stunt people can perform because it’s coming from a stunt person, a stunt coordinator who knows how people actually move. And he actually performed some of the fight moves with the suit, with the motion capture equipment. And then that way it’s real, it can be performed, but it’s safe because it’s in the digital world, but you can still show it to the coordinator and the director. And he can like certain parts of it or say “Change this and that.” So it’s quite incredible, actually, the changes that have come.

Amy:
So do you think in the future, there’s a possibility for more previz to be done in a mo-cap situation?

CC Ice:
I think it is, absolutely. And I feel that it’s really amazing to watch both worlds come together, viz-effects as well as stunts to come together because stunt performers and stunt coordinators know how people actually, you know, physically move and the different fight moves they can perform and have that. And also the flow of a fight, what fight beats actually flow into each other, and then capturing it in the digital world with the viz-effects sort of ability is an amazing tool to have. And obviously, we don’t want it to fully replace stunt performers in any sense, but to work hand in hand together would be awesome. And we already kind of do that, but we would love to have the stunt side of things more involved in that world as well, to work hand in hand with visual effects in that sense would be awesome. So that both people are benefiting and having a great time.

Kris:
Yeah. This process actually sounds a lot like what they did to bring the dinosaurs to life in the original Jurassic Park.

CC Ice:
Yeah. I love that movie, by the way. It imprinted on me as a young person. I was like, “This is the best thing ever!”

Kris:
The way they blended CGI and practical effects to make the dinosaurs move properly.

CC Ice:
Yes. And I think that’s what’s important about this. I know we all love CGI. We all love visual effects. We all love stunt performing. We all love that practical. And there are times when sometimes it goes one way or the other, but I think when it’s used in the proper amount together, it can bring it to a whole new level. As we’ve seen in many other movies where they use practical stunts added with the viz-effects on top and it looks just phenomenal and everybody has a great time. So I always love it when that happens, but COVID has sort of really pushed more for that at the moment so that people can remain safe. It’s not that way on every set. I’m just speaking of currently the situation that we have right now on mine, on the movie that I’m on. That was used quite awesomely. And we hope for more of that.

Amy:
Because if you push too much in the visual effects side and not take input from certain people, then you end up with an uncanny valley problem.

CC Ice:
Yes. And I have huge respect for the viz-effects world and they make us look good with the special effects on top of what we’ve provided for them. So I have a huge respect for that as well and the hours that it takes and the knowledge that it takes to edit and add such amazing special effects and visual effects on top of everything. But also there are things that the stunt performers do have knowledge of in their way. And it’s very important to take that into account as well. Like how people move, how they would fight, really, in real life,
and what moves flow into each other. And also physically – what is someone capable of doing? Because there are certain moves that happen in the viz-effects world that a human cannot actually do. So it’s nice when we can work together to get that perfect blend to where “Wow – seamless.” So it’s great to work together.

Amy:
Well, to be fair, a lot of the stunts that you guys do us mere mortals can’t.

CC Ice:
Well, I have some incredible stunt buddies and my husband, too. He’s incredible. I just I’m in awe of him and how he moves. And I’m just like, “Are you a mortal or are you a hidden Marvel superhero in disguise?”

Kris:
And congratulations to your husband on his Emmy nomination. We are rooting for him.

CC Ice:
Yes. It’s a historic moment. I’m so excited for every nominee in this new category of Outstanding Stunt Performance. Now, as we know, Outstanding Stunt Coordinator has been a category previously, which is awesome and wonderful. And I’m excited for all of the incredible coordinators that have been nominated as well, including Dave Macomber, the current coordinator I’m working for and friend. So he’s also nominated, including some other friends of mine, Thom Williams and Hank Amos. The list goes on, but this new category is a historic category. And Justin is in that category being nominated with other fellow incredible stunt performers. And I’m so excited for all of them.

Kris:
And just for our listeners, he is the stunt double for Wyatt Russell on Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

CC Ice:
Yes, he is. And I am so proud of him. He really brought it. He did a great job on that show because it is the new Captain America, but also it’s his own style because he’s not Captain America.

Kris:
No, he is not.

CC Ice:
Yeah, that was the whole point. That very first episode where they revealed it people were so mad. And I was like, “No, no guys.” I was like, “Just wait for it guys. There’s a reason – you’re not supposed to like him.”

Kris:
Oh, we understood. We got the point pretty quick.

CC Ice:
And I think Wyatt Russell did an amazing job.

Kris:
Oh, he did. He was phenomenal.

CC Ice:
And then Justin did an incredible job helping create a great meld along with Dave Macomber and everybody – a great meld of what Captain America’s fight moves were, but also putting in his own twist on it as to how his version of it, US Agent, was going to move.

Kris:
Yes, because he, he and Chris Evans, they also have different builds.

CC Ice:
Oh yeah, they do. So it was great. I’m so proud. And also he got to play an assassin as well, as himself. There’s a clip of him getting choked out by one of the characters – Agent Carter. So that was him. He actually got to be himself in that episode, be a bad guy. And he had a tattoo. He actually has a tattoo on the underside of his arm. That’s his actual tattoo. And while he was getting choked, people could see that tattoo and they thought that it was some hidden meaning. I was like, “No, that’s really his own tattoo, but that’s cool.”

Kris:
I’m going to have to go back and look now.

CC Ice:
Yeah. It’s pretty great.

Amy:
So Elizabeth Olsen has nothing but glowing things to say about you, particularly that you elevate the character of Wanda Maximoff because you understand the body language better than anyone else. So as her primary stunt person, what is your process for studying Ms. Olsen or Wanda so that you can inhabit the character when doubling for her?

CC Ice:
Lizzie is so incredible. She’s so kind to say those wonderful things. She is amazing to work with. She’s just such a professional at her craft that she makes my job easy in a sense because she brings so much beautiful characterization to this character of Wanda. And she has for so many years that there’s a wealth of information to draw from, from what she’s already brought to the table. And we have similar personalities. So working together is just a joy. She’s absolutely one of the most wonderful people to work with. So I think it’s just drawing from what she’s brought before. When I got the job, I watched all the films that she had, all the pieces of that character to see how she was moving, to understand the different intricacies of the hand movements. It wasn’t just the arms and the body. It was everything down to the fingertips and the specificity of that. And that’s the difference. A lot of people just think it’s swirly hands, but it’s actually everything down to the articulation of the fingertips and why and how she would be doing the magic. And so I just started visualizing. Like, if I were to want to move, maybe this sounds silly, but this is how I work. I see that energy she brings. So as a performer myself, I often put myself in this sense of, “How would I want to move this thing across the table? If I had magic, what would that feel like? How specifically would I want to pick that thing up and move it or throw it? Or grab this energy and put it in and throw it back out at somebody? And how is she conjuring this? How, where is it coming from? Where’s the energy, the essence of the energy coming from? And so that goes into the body in a certain way, or how is she feeling?” So I’m there, even during some acting scenes, I’m there. And she offers to have the script given to me so that I can understand not just the scenes that I’m in, but also her character and how the character changes throughout, say WandaVision. Everyone’s seen WandaVision and there’s a big change throughout that whole entire process. So having the scripts for each episode was very important, so that I understood what type of spell would be cast and how she was feeling when, and what kind of energy would be coming out of that. So that’s sort of where it comes from, watching her on set, watching her acting choices as well. And then melding that into the choices that I can bring as a stunt performer to match her because it’s her character. I don’t ever want to be presumptuous to say I’m putting myself in there. No, no. I’m just assisting the incredible character that she has created, that I am just in awe of. And then I just take it into my own imagination and say, “Ok, how can I assist in this? How physically would it look to manipulate matter and space?” And then the spells come out of that and the movement comes out of that. And then we learn it together. I teach it to her and she learns it and then she inhabits it. And then I match her once she finds the way she likes to move. Other times she likes to match me. So it’s interesting. I like to give her the freedom to tell me what she prefers though in that because she is the character and I’m so honored to work with her.

Amy:
It’s a bit of a give and take. And also, is it unusual for a stunt performer to be given the script?

CC Ice:
It depends. I don’t want to sound knowledgeable because there are so many productions out there. So obviously each stunt performer has their own experience. However, in my experience, a lot of times, in other situations, we do not get the full script of anything. We get a breakdown of the stunt scene we might be doing so that we understand when we’re choreographing, like where the character just came from and where they’re going. But we don’t know the whole movie as just a stunt performer. Now, if you’re a fight coordinator or the actual style coordinator, obviously you get the script. You break it down, all the things. But as a performer, coming in a lot of times, you’ll just know this sequence or this bit, or you might understand the whole arc of it, but you won’t get the script to be able to understand the character the whole way. This is a unique situation in the fact that I’ve worked with Lizzie for so many years. And this specific character, it is important to understand the character itself through the entire script so that we know where the magic is coming from at different times. So it’s a little bit unique in what I’ve experienced previously. Again, I can’t speak for every other stunt performer.

Kris:
So what’s been your greatest challenge in stunt doubling as Wanda?

CC Ice:
The biggest challenge, I think, is to stay true to what we’ve given in the past, but also be creative enough in the future, or as we go along to where it’s never boring for people who have watched this journey of Wanda the whole time. The thing about Marvel is it has a wealth of knowledge of all these characters – the MCU itself. So you never want to contradict what’s already been established in the past, but you also don’t want to just keep repeating yourself. And because as a human, you would be changing and exploring. So as a character, you need to change and explore as well. So you don’t want to just repeat yourself the same old, same old. So that’s the most challenging because at times people just love “Oh, I want her to do this. I want to see this big move again.” Well, we have already done that and we don’t want to do the same thing, but we also still want to stay true to what, who she is. So I think that’s the challenge is to take all of the MCU with us every time we’d go to a new project.

Amy:
That’s a tall order.

CC Ice:
Yeah, it is.

Amy:
So speaking of the other projects, can you tell us about your stunt work on Black Widow? And how did that production differ from your work in WandaVision and as Wanda in other projects?

CC Ice:
So Black Widow was a very difficult time for me in the sense of the timing. I was going through a personal situation back home. And so to be away for five months in the UK was difficult for me at that time. That was a difficulty also being away for that long. It was the first time I was away on work for almost half a year. Other times I’d been away for maybe two months at most, or a month here, or a couple of weeks there, away from the U.S. So that was interesting and new. And also a new challenge was to be away for that long. And it was away – I didn’t get to come back and visit it was gone for the whole time. I just want to say as well, I am so thankful to Heidi Moneymaker for putting my name in the ring. She is Black Widow. She has, from the ground up, created that character with Scarlett and it was a great honor to come in. She and Mickey Facchinello killed it on this movie. Mickey was the main double. She did so many amazing things in this movie. It’s a joy to watch her – she’s inspiring. And then Heidi, of course, was able to join for additional photography and killed it and did an amazing job as well and all the entire stunt team. So I was pleased that some of my little pieces made it. I was so grateful for that. Running on the rooftops in Budapest in 98 degrees, full sun, wearing a leather jacket was incredible. Rob inch is the coordinator. He was awesome to work with. I had such a great time. So those helped me overcome the challenges of being away – having such an amazing team flow. And Rob and everybody helped me feel like part of the team as well as performing and training with Andy Lister and an incredible fight team as well. I could go on and on about everybody that helped me overcome a lot of the challenges that I was facing personally, and also just being away, which was a new thing for me. And it was a completely different character than what I was used to doing for so long. So that was another challenge was at times feeling like those skills that I had used so often for the magical and those type of fight skills. I had to sort of adjust my head and be more tactical and it’s a different type of fighting. So that was another challenge as well too, to remember all those things. I’ve done them before. I’ve trained them before, but I had for so long done sort of the magical fighting that it was remembering all of that training that I’d done before and really letting it shine. I helped out in previz and I helped out in a lot of other ways. And then I was able to perform some of the things. I’m very thankful for that. I was also honored to be a small part of that entire experience. And I thank Heidi and everybody for that and Mickey killed it. She did an amazing job.

Kris:
Yeah. The stunt work in the movie is incredible.

CC Ice:
Oh yeah. And then being around Michaela McAllister, who doubled as well – some of the Scarlett stuff – but she was the main double for Florence Pugh. She killed it. I loved working with her. We were just having a great time, as I said, in the rooftops, in Budapest. We were running and sliding down those rooftops together and having a great time. And in the very first part of the safe house fight, where they fight each other, the sisters fight each other for the first time, like a little bit of gunplay, and then slam into the cabinetry. So that was a little bit of me and her. And then, of course, Mickey took over whenever she goes through the door, the leg through the door – an incredible gag – that was Mickey, and into the room was Mickey. So it was sort of like all hands on deck for a lot of these sequences. But they all killed it. Man.

Kris:
I imagine growing up in your family, you were well-prepared for the sisterly kind of crazy fight like that. Oh

CC Ice:
Oh yeah. Seriously. I can understand why people have some feelings, you know what I’m saying?

Amy:
Yeah. When I saw that I said, “Yes, this is how siblings behave.”

CC Ice:
Very true. Very accurate. Say if those two sisters were deadly assassins, yes.

Kris:
You mean you never strangled one of your sisters with a curtain?

CC Ice:
I don’t know. I mean, there’s a lot that happened when I was growing up.

Amy:
My dear, some things are meant to be off the recording.

CC Ice:
Off the record, guys. [Laughs] I love my sisters. They’re incredible. But there were times when we all disagreed. It didn’t quite get to the escalation of that in the Black Widow fight though.

Kris:
So of the eight or so MCU projects you’ve worked on, do you have a favorite?

CC Ice:
Well, I’ve had a favorite for a long time. It was Infinity War. Hands down it was Infinity War. However, now WandaVision happened. It’s so special for a different reason, but like as a whole, the moment in my career, the team that we had, the amazing things that we did, the incredible characters, the story, everything about it, the whole experience. The first time I got to work out of country was for the Scotland sequence for two months in Scotland doing that whole thing. It was so special and I think it will always be special to me. I’m lifelong friends with all those people that were on that team. I feel it’s incredible.

Amy:
So of all the stunts that you performed in all the MCU movies, which is your favorite stunt so far?

CC Ice:
I think it would have to be getting yanked through the window in Scotland. I know that in the film, it happens so fast. But when Proxima Midnight and Corvus sort of sabotage us – jump out and stab and try to take the stone – there’s a moment where I get blasted from the street into the window of a restaurant. And that’s been one of my favorite gags I’ve ever done with an incredible rigging team. Hugghins and all of his amazing team kept me safe. And I was literally going into an actual restaurant that’s there in Scotland.

Amy:
Yeah, it exists!

CC Ice:
Yeah, it does. I don’t know if they still have it, but they had for a while a thing on the window that said “As seen in Avengers: Infinity War with glass breaking. And I was like, “That was my body going through that window!”

CC Ice:
I think it’s called “Lily’s” or something, but it was a great little corner restaurant. There was a whole set of breakaway tables and chairs on the other side of that that I smashed into and smashed through. There’s footage of that somewhere that lies on the cutting room floor. But there was a camera inside and outside and everything, and that has to be one of my favorite gags that I’ve done. We did it three times on the night. It was like the first big day of filming – well, first big night of filming cause we were on nights. It was just above freezing and it started to mist and I’m standing out on the street and I’m like, “This is awesome and crazy all at the same time.” And I had to be just right when I went through that window. If my feet were down too low, I would clip the bottom of the window, which was all brick and I could break something. On either side of the windowsills were brick pillars. So if I went left to right, if I pushed off a little bit, any direction that sent me in a different direction on that line, it was going to be not great. It was just wide enough for my body to go through. And the rigging team was incredible. They measured and remeasured and tested and made sure it was just right. So it will always be one of my favorite gags that I did, and it was for Avengers.

CC Ice:
So how is Marvel different from other projects that you’ve worked on, like Watchmen or The Suicide Squad?

CC Ice:
So, I think it’s incredible. They’re all amazing. And I actually met my husband while working on Watchmen, before he was my husband. So there’s a special place in my heart for that one. I think the biggest thing is on those – it was different for me because I wasn’t doubling a main character, which is still amazing and fun and awesome. So it was different because I wasn’t part of the fight team, so that sort of family feel. I wasn’t on the project for a very long time, so that was different in a sense. But also, there’s a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of backstory that comes with an MCU project. Granted, Watchmen has a backstory I think, but actually filmed backstories that have made it to the screen, have made it do Disney+. The MCU just has incredible amounts of a library of actual films and actual TV shows and such. So when you come to the creative table you already have a lot to bring. And then also, it’s good and bad. As I said earlier, it’s great to have all this knowledge but then you also have to make sure you don’t contradict anything that’s already been laid out. Or if you do have a change you have to make a reason for that change that makes sense and that can live on. You don’t want to change anything that will affect anything in the future. So, there’s a lot of pressure in that sense of making sure you’re staying true to the trajectory of everything that has come before and going after with an MCU project vs. some other projects like Watchmen or The Suicide Squad. I’m excited to see where they all go, but those projects don’t have the backstories yet, physically on-screen that these other MCU movies have had. So those are challenges and excitements.

Kris:
Are there common misconceptions, you think, that people have about stunt performers that you can address?

CC Ice:
Oh yes. First of all, a lot of times they think all of us are just crazy adrenaline junkies. There are times when you have adrenaline running, but as a whole our goal is to be as safe as possible even with the jobs that we have to perform. So we’re not out here just to be crazy and wild just for the sake of, “Ooo gotta get that rush.” We’re here to do a job that makes magic on-screen and everyone should go home at the end of the night because it’s just a movie or just a TV show. We actually have safety in the forefront of our minds. And we can’t predict everything, but we try to be as safe as possible, not just for ourselves, but also anyone who’s around us, whether that’s background, a major actor, camera guys, camera gals – everyone who might be near the situation that’s happening. We have safety in our minds, in the forefront, while we’re performing these things. The other thing that I see a lot is people don’t trust that we can act. Now, of course, not every single person in the world can act or what have you, but a lot of times people don’t trust that stunt performers can also act. And I find that very strange because every day we’re acting. Every day we’re making the fight scene look like a real fight. We act with our bodies every day. Not everyone can know how to deliver lines, I get that. But then a lot of the times we don’t even have the chance to show that some of us can also deliver lines and play characters that are speaking roles. So I think that’s a misconception, that we don’t know how to act, so that’s fascinating to me. Those are the two main ones that I see, that we just like to hit the ground and we’re not very smart. We must not be smart because all we do is fall down for a living. That’s such a weird one, too, because all the people that I’ve worked with are very intelligent people who think of so many things before you even see them perform it on set. Now, of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I get that. But the folks I’ve worked with are extremely intelligent, extremely creative. They’re creating worlds upon worlds and having audience members believe it’s real. And they’re also taking safety into account at the same time, so that, to me, is a very intelligent group of people. 

Amy:
Yeah, and you have to be, otherwise, everyone’s life is in jeopardy.

CC Ice:
Yeah. And as I said, everybody’s different, but on a whole, that is a misconception that I tend to hear is, “Oh you fall down for a living. Not that smart, huh?” I’m like, “Actually….”

Kris:
That’s the time when it’s ok to say, “Well, actually…”

[Laughs all around]

Amy:
So, stunt work is still a very male-dominated industry. What are the obstacles you have faced as a woman?

CC Ice:
I think something all women have faced is that we get pigeon-holed. Unfortunately, a lot of writing pigeon-holes lady characters into certain stereotypical female characters that we are then stunt performing for. I think that’s changing. I think we’re seeing incredible changes of script-writing which then allow for actresses and then stunt doubles to step into a new way. For a long time, it’s been very stereotypical. When a woman character is even there she can’t even be the main character of the movie. They have to have a guy character assisting them, which is strange. Or more time will be given to the male characters of the movie than the women – the women fight or the women section. Also, the thing that I’ve seen in the past – and I want to say that I respect all of my peers and all of my bosses. But, in general, I tend to see, at times, if there are 50 spots for indy stunts, meaning, say there’s a city that’s being attacked by big monsters, and literally any stunt performer type could be in those 50 stunt people, I tend to see 40 guys and 10 women. And that’s interesting. There are plenty of women to pull from that you could have a more equal cityscape of people in distress that are doing indy stunts since it could be anyone. And some stunt coordinators have started to really focus on changing that and I think it’s phenomenal. I think it’s amazing that if they’re all wearing masks, it could be equal, en and women. You don’t have to have all guys because no one’s going to see their face. Or, like I said, in the city sequence of 50 stunt people, you could have it more even – all kinds of people would be in the city. And all kinds of people would be in distress, so it doesn’t have to be almost all guys and then a few girls. So I do see that changing, but that has been the way it’s been for a very long time. And again, I’m not trying to insult anybody. I’m very thankful for all my jobs, but I do see that as a thing and it has been. They’ve been trying to change that. 

Amy: 
So do you feel like women are treated differently in the industry even when they do have a job compared to the men? 

CC Ice:
It depends on what project you’re on. So I feel like certain individuals are treated as they are because their professional career has shown that you just have to treat them as equals because they have such an amazing career that it would be so obvious if you treated them any differently, whereas you’re a newer person. There is a different treatment, at times, towards women who are newer getting into the stunt industry. It’s almost like you have to prove that you are tough enough to hang. There’s this stigma sometimes of, “Oh, are you going to cry about it?” I’ve seen this happen where an injury happens and instead of, “So and so was injured on that project,” because of an accident or whatever, it’s, “Oh, she injured herself.” It’s the wording of it, and it’s almost a hint that she didn’t know enough to keep herself safe, which is an interesting concept because accidents do happen in stunts all the time. And yes, sometimes it’s operator error, but other times it’s absolutely a situation that randomly happened, and it’s nobody’s fault, or it definitely wasn’t the performer’s fault, but there tends to be this skew of, “Oh, what did she do to get herself hurt?” It’s sometimes a statement that comes out. I don’t think people are even aware of it sometimes, but that’s where their brain goes right away. Again, I’m not trying to point fingers or say derogatory things.

Kris:
It’s an ingrained misogyny. It’s it’s definitely cultural.

CC Ice:
Yeah. I don’t think they mean it, but it’s a thought that’s there of, “Oh, what did she do to cause the situation?” So we almost have to be twice perfect in order to prove ourselves so that we can hang and then also that we are excellent at our jobs so that there’s no chance that if something goes wrong that they would look only at the operator, only at the performer. They would also take into account what else was happening when this went wrong. 

Kris:
So we’ve talked a lot about the mental aspects of being a stunt performer, and you in particular have another challenge to overcome. Like a lot of people in the entertainment industry, you are dyslexic. So how do you navigate that in your work?

CC Ice:
It’s really an interesting obstacle, at times. For a long time, I hid it. I was embarrassed. I thought I was stupid. I thought, “Why don’t I get this like everyone else?” And growing up in school I was able to hide it because I was embarrassed. I found ways to make my brain figure out patterns and work around it, and I didn’t know what I had. At times, I felt stupid compared to everyone else, especially when I had timed tests. I would fail miserably, but I wasn’t officially diagnosed in school. I was able to hide it until I was out of that situation. So I found ways to help program my brain to understand certain things. I’m very visual. If you just throw a bunch of words at me, if you just say, “Throw, give me a hook, a punch, a weave, whatever.” -you just spout out, I will look at you blankly and be like, “Uhh, that was all just noise. My brain didn’t understand any of that.” So a lot of times I will ask, “Hey, can you just physically show me? Walk me through it so I can physically see?” That makes sense in my brain, because of how I’ve wired my brain over time. Movement makes sense to me – movement and the ability to see movement. It speaks to me and I think that’s what brought me to stunt performing, because you’re physically, with your whole body, acting out scenes that happen. So I have found tricks and ways to help it make sense to me, and then I started being honest – not making an excuse but just explaining. I have stopped hiding it and I just say, “Oh hey, I have a bit of dyslexia. So if you could just show me instead of saying the words it really helps me catch it fast and I will be able to deliver exactly what you need.” So I’m open and honest with how my brain works so that I can give them what they want and give the best performance possible because each person’s brain works differently, and that’s beautiful. Thank goodness, right? Because it allows me to think outside the box as well because I might do something physically different than somebody else who has done it because that’s the way they’ve always done it. So I find it as a superpower rather than a disability. It’s a superpower of mine that has helped me focus on physical movement that has helped me be where I am today. Had I not had that, I might not have focused on physicality at all. It’s brought me to this stage where I perform physically as a living and it makes so much sense to my brain. And, I found, now that I’m honest with people and not in an excuse way, but sort of, “Hey, this is how my brain is,”  they’re open to that. They used to not be open to that, but times are changing and people are understanding. Everyone is wired in a beautiful, different way, but we could still work together and I can still bring it if you just allow my brain to work at its optimal way. I will do it. I will bring it and I won’t have a meltdown of confusion, because that used to happen earlier in my career. I would get so overwhelmed with all the information and I wasn’t understanding. It was like white noise on a TV and then I felt stupid and I felt dumb and I felt like I was going to let everyone down. Then all of a sudden I was having an emotional, “I gotta walk away.” That’s also not good or not professional. So I figured out, ”Oh, I’ve got to take breaks.” That’s the other thing I learned. I have to take breaks to let my brain reset from all the information it’s receiving, or else it just gets jumbled up in there, and then it has a total meltdown. So I pace myself. I take breaks and then I utilize the time I have to be the best at what I can deliver. And there are actors who really inspired me. When Henry Winkler talked about his dyslexia, I was like, “Oh my gosh, the Fonz? Well then, I can do this too if he can do it.” He’s incredible. 

Kris:
Wow, I had no idea. 

CC Ice:
Yeah, and you know what’s so amazing? Thanks to Jeff Wolfe, an incredible stunt coordinator, my stunt coordinator for MacGyver, I got to work on set and Henry Winkler was one of the producers. He was there on set one day when I was having to fight in the back of a truck. And he came over and gave me a thumbs up and I was like, “My life is complete!” 

Kris:
Oh my god.

CC Ice:
He said that I did a great job.  It was such an honor. I don’t want to get a big ego or anything like that. I have so much to learn. But he came over and he just said, “That was a great job.” And then he gave me a thumbs up. Not in an ironic way, but just in a normal way. But I was like, “Oh! He gave me a thumbs up!” And I was like, “You don’t even understand.” I didn’t want to tell him. I didn’t want to talk about it on set, but I was like, in my mind, “You don’t understand the inspiration that you have been to me in my life and my career and the fact that you just came over, acknowledged that I did a great job on this set was like, “I can do this.” And Jeff Wolfe, the coordinator, was the one who hired me for that project and believed in me and saw in me and had me on that project. So wow, boom. I was like, “This is great.”

Kris:
And it means that much more when it’s coming from a person who is known as just the sweetest man on the planet. 

Amy: 
Yeah, this is amazing. 

CC Ice:
I know! He is so great and he overcame his thing. People said, “Oh, you’re never going to do this. You’re never going to do that,” And it’s like, “You know what?” and knowing of people like that. Hopefully, if my story can help others, I’m happy to be helpful. There are ways to overcome. Well, I wouldn’t say overcome. There are ways to utilize your superpower. That’s how I want to say it. 

Kris:
Well said.

Amy:
So are there any philanthropic causes you’d like to shine a light on? 

CC Ice:  
Absolutely. So I think it’s absolutely imperative for everyone to support their local theater companies and their local theaters. My friends and amazing professional people in my life, they have been through the wringer with this COVID situation, COVID lockdown. Some of them have not been in the theater for over a year to perform or even work in it, or even walk in a theater. And that was their livelihood. That was their life. And across time we have turned to theater and turned to that genre of arts to get us through a multitude of things in history. As we all know, the arts is what keeps us going, whether it’s through painting or artwork. But it’s also through physically on stage performing and incredible people have been out of work. Their way of life has been totally altered. So if there’s any way that you can find a local theater or a big theater company – I’m not sure, whatever it is – if you can find a way to donate to them and support them through this time as they’re trying to get back on their feet, it would mean the world to them. And it would show that you are thankful for what they’ve always contributed, almost from the heart. They don’t get paid a lot. If you love theater, you do it for the art, not for the money. So you know they’ve always put their heart and soul into it. So if you could just show them how much that meant to you as an individual in the world that would be incredible. So support your theater companies. 

Kris: 
So last but not least, here is the big question. Other than Wanda Maximoff, who is your favorite Marvel character? 

CC Ice:
Loki, hands down,

Kris:
Yes!

CC Ice:
Oh man. I don’t even think about it, man. 100% best character. 

Kris: 
Amy is going to jump off a bridge right now.

Amy:
Oh, man. [Laughs]

CC Ice: 
I’m sorry. [Laughs] I just think it’s a phenomenal exploration of so many different personality types that he has that he shares. He’s the trickster! He gets to be all kinds of things! And he also has a human side to him as we see. He’s fascinating! He’s totally horrible in some senses and then totally amazing in other senses. And that confounds me and I think it’s wonderful. I think Tom Hiddleston is an amazing actor. I don’t think many actors could bring that to life without being so charming as he is with it. But anyway, he’s a joy to work with. I only worked with him a short time directly. I’ve worked with him on the same projects for a long time, but our scenes were never together. But I worked with him very shortly on a few prep days and I thank Mo Ganderton for that. So it was very early on and I was only there for like 2 days but helped out with that because I was on WandaVision. So he is a joy to work with as well. I think that maybe also makes it why he’s one of my favorite characters because he as an actor is great.

Amy:
Yeah, he’s a fantastic person.

CC Ice:
But the character is fabulous and I have so many layers to that one. 

Amy:
True. And with the show, we got to explore so much of that which is fantastic. 

CC Ice:
Yeah, it’s so fantastic. Also, it leaves room to explore even more. So it’s not a boring character by any means. He’s constantly changing. This character is constantly reinventing himself in different, new, surprising ways. So I think as an audience member that’s very exciting because sometimes superheroes can become sort of one-note – this is who they are and this is what they do. But, man alive! That character is so many different things. God of Mischief! 

Amy:
Yeah, and I think with the MCU, the fact that it’s been going on for so long and we have all these characters who are growing and changing is fantastic. Otherwise, it’s like any other franchise. It becomes very boring. They had the same idea, same tropes over and over again. 

CC Ice:
Yeah, and I think it’s easier to relate to characters who have time to change because as humans we change. We have good moments. We have moments we’re not proud of. We have moments of epiphany. I think having the ability with the MCU to see characters change like that, to see Black Widow go through what she’s gone through, to see Loki change, to see these characters have moments of ups and downs, it actually encourages you as a human as well to say, “Well, I can do this. I can deal with this too.” They’re not real characters, but they are inspiring because you can see it happening and you can relate to them more because they’re more human. Even though they are superheroes, they still have emotions and changes like humans. So I think that speaks to us more than just a one-note type character, for sure.

Amy:
Absolutely. And characters speaking to us, that is the power of entertainment. 

CC Ice:
Yes, and that’s also the power of theater and dance and all kinds of forms of artwork. And that’s why I say, definitely support dance companies, theater art, artists, artwork, everything that can be supported that they pretty much give you their souls when they come to entertain you in various mediums. So definitely support all of those people. 

Kris:
Well, CC this has been an absolute joy. You are exactly the kind of role model that women and young girls out there need right now.

CC Ice:
Oh, that’s very kind of you to say. I have to say, I give credit to my mother. She is an exceptional role model of kindness and strength and fortitude. Also the incredible, inspiring ways of many of the stuntwomen around me. So I, I thank you for your kind words, but I hope we are all there for each other, together. That’s what we need.

Kris:
Agreed, yes. So thank you so much for joining us and we can’t wait to see you next March. Well, I guess the point is we kind of won’t see you and that’s why you’re so good at what you do. 

CC Ice: 
I hope you don’t see me next March [Laughs] 

Kris:
In Doctor Strange.

CC Ice:
Thanks so much. I hope to have matched perfectly into the whole situation so you won’t know me or her. 

Amy:
Yeah, but hopefully one day when it is intended we do get to see you on the big screen. 

CC Ice:
Yeah, I would love that too. Someday I would love that. 

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