Impressive is the Word

“Oh my God, this is great!”

Malahni is sitting cross-legged in front of the TV, watching gleefully as a naked woman in a shower stall beats the crap out of another naked woman, while similar mayhem breaks out all across the screen. The more aggressive of the women is, of course, Malahni, kicking serious ass early in her stunt woman-career. You can’t see her face, but then, that’s kind of the point.

“You know, the only bone I ever broke on a movie set was my pinky finger,” Malahni mentions, proudly.

After a few more seconds, the scene cuts to several shots of Malahni-as-Linda Hamilton in “The Terminator”, then to the aforementioned train stunt from “Runaway Train”, to the fight scene in “Ice Pirates”, to “Showgirls” (Malahni was a naked dancer, tripping and falling down the backstage stairs), to “Nomads”, to “Another 48 Hours” and on through her entire career.

The wild-and-wooly video is a compilation of Malahni’s best stunts, culled together and compiled by 15-year-old Kenwood video-wiz Sarah Campbell, whose services Malahni requested after discovering Campbell’s ad in the Kenwood Press. Malahni had decided she needed a more visual, action-packed version of her resume and those photo albums, to show to future filmmakers in need of talented stunt-people.

“At the very least,” Malahni says, “It’ll give my kids something so, when I’m dead, they can say, ‘Hey! This was my mom. Can you believe it?'”

Numerous hours and several trips to the video store later, Campbell has arrived at Malahni’s to show off the video version of the compilation that, after Malahni approves, will then be transferred to DVD form.

“Sarah, this is amazing,” Malahni coos, watching her own throat being slashed, her body being dumped out of a window several flights up. The sight appears to put Malahni in a bit of a nostalgic mood.

“That’s a good, pure stunt,” she says. “But it might not happen that way today. These days, computers are cutting a lot of stunt-people people out of their jobs.”

“I started doing stunts back in the days when you’d do a “Dukes of Hazzard” or a “Fall Guy”, and you’d hit those air ramps and actually jump the line of cars,” Malahni continues. “You’d really slide your motorcycle for twenty feet. Back then, you didn’t put it on some computer and add an extra ten feet to make it look more impressive.”

“We were impressive.”

With so many impressive exploits under her belt, I wonder which one stunt stands out as Malahni’s favorite. Reaching for another photo album, she shows me pictures from, not a movie, but her oldest daughter’s wedding. The ceremony, she explains, was held outdoors, at a the Highlands Hotel in Carmel, near the foot of a lengthy, multilevel stone staircase. Asked by her daughter to help put some unexpected fun and excitement into the Wedding March procession, Malahni agreed to appear at the top of the stairs, posing as her daughter, dressed in an identical, wedding dress, the fancy hair, the works and to then trip and do a flailing somersault all the way down the long flight of steps.

That was one of the funniest stunts I’ve ever done,” she grins. “The only ones who were in on the joke were me, the priest, my daughter, and her uncle and we only told him because we didn’t want him to have a heart attack, thinking it was her falling down the steps.”

With a last look, Malahni closes the book, and sets it back on the stack with the others.

“It makes me kind of eager to find another stunt job real soon,” she admits. “It’s been a while, and there are still stunts I’d like to try. Every stunt person has a dream stunt they’d like to get a chance to do.”

For Malahni, the craziest stunt yet to be dared would be to get married.

“That,” she grins, “would be the ultimate.”

Visit the Stuntplayers Directory for more on Jean Malahni.

Jean can also be reached through her PR agent, Anne Coffelt at (707) 939.9410 or drop her an email.

Posted on December 3, 2003 in Interviews by

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