Whenever the latest blockbuster hits theaters, we rush to our seats to watch stars pounce from vehicle to vehicle, race through a collapsing building or barrel under a semi-truck. With all this action, we often forget that someone other than the superstar is actually performing these stunts. Sometimes celebs, like Tom Cruise, are fit enough to do their own moves, but most often a professional is called in for the job. Enter Luci "Steel" Romberg, a professional stuntwoman and freerunner, who has been in top films like Green Lantern, Zombieland and Terminator. We caught up with the super-fit daredevil to find out how you get into a less-than-mainstream career and what keeps her always coming back for more.
Most people don't think of "stuntwoman" when plotting out future careers. What made you pursue this path?
I was a gymnast all through college, and a national champion my senior year at Texas Woman's University. I was a kinesiology major, but there just wasn't really anything else I wanted to do. I could have been a professor, a physical therapist, a coach or a handful of other things with my degree, but none of them appealed to me. One day one of my teammates came back from acting in L.A., and she just convinced me to give it a shot. When I first got there, I had no idea what being a stuntwoman actually entailed. I was just so pumped on the idea of it that I knew I had to at least give it a try. I've been lucky enough to stick around.
What's a typical day like when you're hired for a film?
There is no typical day. Sometimes it's really exciting and you're working right away, doing anything from falling down a flight of stairs to rolling under a semi-truck, and other days you spend the day waiting around to see if they're going to get to your segments. It's definitely exciting though, I love that I don't know what to expect when I go into work.
What workouts keep you in tip-top shape?
I try to be active six days a week and rest for at least one. I do martial arts three times a week, jump rope, a lot of free running and sometimes I'll throw in some CrossFit. Lifting weights isn't really fun for me; I just think it's boring.
How do you combat exercise boredom?
I don't view it as a workout, I just go out and play. That's where my freerunning comes into it. Freerunning allows you to go into an urban environment, overcome obstacles and be creative with style. You move from point A to point B, but how you get there is up to you. It leaves so much room for new ideas. Before you know it, you're sweating like crazy but don't realize you're working out.
What keeps you motivated to stay in such great shape all the time?
I'm in such a unique position as a freerunner because very few females participate. I'm breaking barriers and inspiring people, which I think is one of the most powerful emotions a human can experience. Yeah, I'm human and I get lazy and tired, but at the end of the day I think about how many people I could be influencing by doing what I love - that's what really matters.
Is there a favorite film you've acted in, or a celebrity you loved working with?
Zombieland was probably my favorite film that I've been in so far. We had a great crew and I got to do a lot of really cool stuff. They made it fun, which is what makes every job enjoyable. As far as celebrities, it was really cool working alongside Clint Eastwood in Changeling and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Any actor you'd like to work with in the future?
Leonardo DiCaprio. He's a great actor and I hear he's super cool.
To see Luci in action on the big screen, keep an eye out for upcoming episodes of NCIS, where she plays a college student who gets attacked by a bad guy.