Stuntmen and women play a vital role in sequences that could possibly harm an actor or actress not trained in fighting or other dangerous movements. Monique Ganderton is one such stuntwoman who thrives on intense action, ready to wield a sword or bust out some martial arts for the sake of a movie.
About Monique Ganderton
Monique Ganderton is a stunt woman and actress who has been in various television shows and many action movies. While Monique's name may not be familiar, some of the characters she has doubled definitely will ring a bell. Monique does the dirty work when it comes to fighting, riding horses, or flipping through the air. She was born in Canada and started out in modeling. She got a taste of stuntwork and a conversation with Sylvester Stallone helped her decide to pursue being a stunt woman.
Some of the actresses she's doubled:
- Daryl Hannah
- Famke Janssen
- Rebecca Romjin
- Leelee Sobieski
Some of her films/characters:
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- Fantastic Four and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
- Underworld: Evolution
- King of Fighters (upcoming), plays the fighter, Mature
Monique Ganderton Interview
Gregory Thompson (GT): Acting or stunts: what do you prefer to do? One or the other, both and why?
Monique Ganderton (MG): I love performing so both art forms satisfy me, just in different ways. Being on-set as a stunt person is like being the cool kid in school. You get brought in to do these big gags that everyone oohs and ahhs over and you get to test your physical and mental strength. Acting for me doesn't come as naturally as stunts so I love the challenge and the feeling of going in blind. It's a lot of work but it's rewarding in a more internal, personal way. Ideally I would love to continue acting in action movies! Best of both!
GT: In your opinion, who do you think would win in the ultimate superhero showdown: The Fantastic Four, X-Men, or the Watchmen? And why?
MG: That one is interesting... I love the dark comics so Watchmen is pretty badass but if I had to decide...I am a huge Wolverine fan. He's a great character. He has a dark past but he fights to be a good guy with so much passion. I think he would definitely win against the Watchmen. If Manhattan is still on Mars, of course...
GT: In the upcoming King of Fighters movie, you play Mature. Were you sought for this role, or did you read the script and think to yourself, "I want to play Mature"?
MG: I was in LA and my agent in Vancouver asked if I wanted to send an audition in. I was also contacted by Larry Lam of the stunt team, whom I worked with before. It sounded like a lot of fun and I would get a chance to act a bit and fight a lot! I was really excited when they offered the part to me.
GT: What martial arts have you been involved in or are currently pursuing? Have you attained any belts or levels?
MG: I love fighting for film, I don't have a specific martial art background. Every movie requires a different style or new weapons so a lot of the learning happens in rehearsals. I try to keep myself in shape and work on general fighting everyday so I'm in a good mindset to learn new skills. I have a punching bag in my loft and have acquired a lot of weapons over the years of working!
GT: It looks like you've had roles in or stunt double for all kinds of genres of films, from comedy to thriller. What is your favorite type of movie to be involved in and what drives you to enjoy those kinds?
MG: I love medieval movies! Horses and weapons with some supernatural elements. I get really excited to work on a movie that has developed new weapons or has reinvented the world like Underworld and I-Robot. The most painful stunts seem to happen in comedies! Slapstick comedy hurts--but it's funny!
GT: Have you played the video game, King of Fighters (or another fighting game) and if so, are you good at it/them? What kind of research did you have to do for the movie?
MG: I did as much online research as I could before the movie started. I watched the game and checked out my character. Bernice Liu, who plays Vice, was my real information go-to! She knew EVERYTHING! I don't play games but I have done motion capture for a few of them. It's so cool watching the making of a game. When I went back down to LA after the movie I was walking past a laundry mat and noticed a KOF arcade game and had to try it. I played it for an hour!!! I wasn't that great at it...not going to lie...but it was FUN!
GT: What's on the horizon for you? Any cool projects that you can't wait to get started on?
MG: I am working on a pilot "Human Target" stunt doubling Tricia Helfer and [I] have a role in a new feature called Icarus. I love performing in action films and am sending that out into the universe! Hopefully some badass parts come my way!
GT: What did Sylvester Stallone say to you that solidified your choice to do stunt work?
MG: I started out modeling in Toronto and after a series of bizarre events ended up in a conversation with Sly. I was bummed out because the stunt community wasn't taking me seriously and I was having no luck breaking in. He basically told me to Shut the F up and start making things happen. He told me if I want something and focus, it will happen despite people trying to keep me down. It was a great pep talk. He told me about how he hadn't been taken seriously as an actor and had to write his own script and star in it to get a break. Rocky. So I learned to be persistent and made it cool to see a model hit the ground hard!
GT: When you are not working, what do you like to do?
MG: I have a dog, cat and horse...I spend time hanging out with them and my human family! I have been snowboarding for fifteen years so that is always a part of my winters. Camping and hanging out with my friends in nature. I love to check out bands and travel around as much as I can. I should try to relax and sleep when I get the chance but it's in my soul to be active. Having relocated to LA I am learning to surf but I've got a long way to go!
GT: Lastly (for some fun), if you could live one movie over and over again, what would that be and why?
MG: I dream in action sequences so it feels like I am in a movie! I think it would have to be a combination of Underworld and The Notebook! I am a fighting romantic! What's up with that?? But if you mean relive a movie I've worked on...then X-men for sure. How cool is it to eat lunch with mutants every day!?