Sheriff Beau Arlen is one of my favourite characters on Big Sky – and I am sure my readers would agree. When I had the chance to speak with Tim Neff, Jensen’s stunt double on Big Sky, I was thrilled.
When it comes to being cast for a stunt double, what are the qualifications that are required to double for someone? Is it just body size or at other things as well?
I mean that's definitely gonna be a factor. Obviously body size, shape, all the physical attributes that can match up as closely as possible. But also your skill set for the stunt that's needed. I specifically focus more on fight choreography, designing and performing that. But I'm well versed outside that as well. When it came to me doubling Jensen, I got pulled in originally to do some fight stuff and then ended up doing some bigger stuff as we went on.
Tell us about working on the set of Big Sky.
It was a very high functioning set, the actors were all great. Jensen is phenomenal. [It was] extremely professional, very welcoming. All the leads on that show are just super kind, super communicative, especially Jensen. Cause I was working with him a little more one on one.
He's just very open to hearing critiques and getting feedback, but also knows it so well himself. Obviously he's done it for quite some time and his roles that he's gained have had a lot of action influencing them.
But the thing I really enjoyed about him in particular was that he was just -- even with all that experience and knowledge and know-how, he always would turn to me and check in with me and make sure, hey, is this okay? Does this work for you? And we would always have that back and forth moment with everything. I really, really enjoyed [that] with him. Just to get to really work with him and really fine-tune what he wanted for his character and then help him with that.
So what was your favorite stunt to do?
Every stunt I get to do on anything is my favorite in that moment. Just because everything is so different every time I'm getting to re-explore something new and recreate something that hasn't been done exactly how I've done before.
So even the back and forth fight stuff we did, even getting to work one on one with Jensen and him performing those fights and me getting to watch and critique as that happened is just as fun for me as performing as well. But I did do a big gag where we end up going through a glass window. And that one was pretty intense. It was about a hip level height of a window sill, and then a giant window from there and we just blast through it, go sideways and they blew the window out and it was pretty amazing, pretty massive. So yeah.
That's very cool. So do you have any behind the scenes stories to share?
Everything was just super entertaining. [Jensen]'s a super entertaining guy. He's super positive and upbeat and easy to talk to, easy to laugh with. So I don't know, everything was a phenomenal experience. I'm trying to pinpoint something in particular, but he's just a always cracking jokes always, but also very serious when he needs to be, he goes right back into character and gets into it and then comes back out and then having fun, cracking jokes, always, always positive.
Tell us about working with Jensen.
Working with him on stunts is a team kind of effort, which I love, even though I'm positive he could do everything by himself. He has so much knowledge and know-how. But getting to explore that, getting to share that and having him being so open to sharing that is such a great thing. And not always the case through film with different people. Some people wanna really carry their own stuff and don't want insight and ego gets in the way sometimes with some things. I've had that experience. But with him there's completely none.
He seems like a really good guy to work with cuz he's open to input and stuff like that.
Yeah, definitely. He's definitely one of the best that I've worked with. Someone had messaged me on Instagram and said, give us one word that describes Jensen. And I was like, well a phrase and I just said masterclass because his knowledge spread so far. His reaction in just on what to do and how to do it is just so instinctual and he just knows what to do, which I really enjoy and I have my expertise and I have my know how and I have my specialties, which I'm very much the same way. So getting to cross that threshold with him is just with such ease.
But even [during] downtime though, he's just super personable, super funny, super kind, super thoughtful. We had some things come up on set, but there was some stuff where it seemed a little bit more dangerous. He was one of the first people to speak up to be like, yo, this should be better, this should be different. I brought it up as well. Him and I talked about it and then he brought it up to everybody and made sure that it was done better and more safe. And that's always the case. Somebody brings it up. But it was cool to see, him being that person and so adamant about it.
Do you have any upcoming roles that you would like to share?
I'm working on this show called Dark Matter. It's based off the book Dark Matter. It was a best seller. Great sci-fi book. Pretty dark, pretty fun. It's for Apple tv and they got me locked in. I just finished a little part on a Marvel show called Echo, where I actually played a character named Walker and kinda a small little goon character, but little, it was fun. So that should be coming out probably next year. Very cool.