Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I’m Chris Bridgewater. Australian actor and stuntman. I’m Scottish born however have grown up in Australia and always call this place home. I stepped into the film industry after retiring from an mma career as a professional fighter and have now been in film for over a decade. Starting out as a small time fight choreographer I fell in love with the craft and very quickly stepped into acting. After missing the batshit crazy in my life that fighting brought me I began formal stunt training on the Gold Coast and became graded as a professional stunt performer in 2017. From that point I’ve had the opportunity to work at every level from commercials and tv and feature films from both independent to studio level. No better life than earning a living doing what you love doing.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I believe EVERYONE in the industry is uniquely different and has their own spice. I guess for me my spice would be the love that I have for life. The love that I have to learn and grow and in doing so pulling as many people along for the ride. I love to see people succeed. I’m high energy and love to smile and have a good time but also enjoy the quiet conversations with people sharing stories and/ or struggles.
Within my art as a performer I bring with me an array of previously acquired skills from fighting to coaching or just down right story telling be it written or spoken. I find the mind a very unique thing and I love to delve into the psychology of people. Why do they do what they do. What makes people tick. I’ll always do my best to understand everyone around me.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I think for me it’s every film that I do. When you get a group of passionate people together. Ranging from a small crew to even a crew of hundreds. It’s the moment that you get to see the work on the screen at the end. The feeling of accomplishment that WE did this. Every single film is just reminder that I’m on the right path. When you can make money doing what you love it’s just not work.
If I were to take it back to a single moment though it would be one of the first short films I shot in 2013. Having the opportunity to go to the premier of this film as well as the rest of the films shown at the awards night. It felt real. It was the experience. I didn’t expect anything as I was only a couple years into acting however I was nominated for best actor and received a high commendation. I was shocked and surprised and at the same time so grateful. It just solidified for me that this is my path now. This is what I do and who I am.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Do date my most challenging role would be a horror film I shot in 2019 called The Possessed. Directed by Chris Sun. Now Chris is very well known for practical effects and on this film I played all the prosthetic demons in what was a exorcism narrative. All the prosthetic demons were full body suits that took hours in make up every day. We were shooting in an Australian summer so it was incredibly hot and humid and there’s no ventilation at all for me. Amongst the very uncomfortable dentures to the pieces of silicone or latex glued to me it was a very uncomfortable experience. One of the characters the gloves were so tight that it cut off circulation to my fingers and I nearly got compartment syndrome. Medics quickly intervened. So besides what was one of the most painful experiences in my life the suits also made it very difficult to go to the bathroom. So I had to limit my liquid intake. Thankfully having a background as a fighter and cutting weight I know what I can put my body through. I knew it was going to be a tough time so I just resigned myself to knowing that and knew that it would end.
All four character limited my vision greatly so it was the longest I’ve ever been on set and never saw anything but one of the creatures I had a full head piece, full suit as well as me being on stilts. So having to walk on uneven ground, whilst unable to see and on stilts was a little hair raising.
What I can say though is that everyone on that set were amazing. So many people were always checking in on me and doing what they could although, not much could be done to make my work comfortable hahaha.
At the end of the day I’m so glad I did it and forever grateful for the experience as it’s lead to further prosthetic work on other films.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
I would love to meet and work with Keanu Reeves as my top pick. It’s just who he is as a person and what he stands for. His dedication to his work and how he treats others. I’ve admired him for a very long time.
Secondly would be Tom Cruise. The level that he pushes himself. His dedication to a production and the ability to do what he does just blows me away. As an actor and stuntman myself I can’t help but respect everything he does. The man is a machine.
Thirdly would be Chris Hemsworth. I love his work and my friends that have worked with him say he’s just a top bloke. I love what he’s done for the Australian film industry and with his star power has managed to bring so many huge films to our shores. Australia has such an abundance of cast and crew as well as amazing location and before his was quickly overlooked for other places around the world.
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