Do you know how many of those tough women on the big screen are as tough in real life? The number will surprise you, I guarantee. More and more actresses are taking roles in action-packed movies because there’s a growing demand in tough ladies. And not only should they look the part, they should also show off some skill! Yep, most of modern day female action stars undergo at least some sort of training for the roles, not to mention hours spent at the gym to look fit enough on screen. Yet some of those women are real action stars off screen, too! They are skilled in sports and martial arts, which makes their roles all the more believable as they don’t need to use that many stunt doubles for their movies. Here are 5 female action stars who are tough in real life, and 5 who are just pretending.
Yes: Alicia Vikander
You may or may not like Alicia Vikander’s depiction of Lara Croft, but know this – the girl didn’t get out of gym until she gained 12 pounds of pure muscle, and that couples with intense training in martial arts! That being said, she’s already been a tough cookie before she got the role, she just upped her game considerable for the role.
No: Maisie Williams
Arya Stark might be one of the toughest warriors in the Game of Thrones, but it doesn’t mean that Maisie Williams is like that in real life! The actress admitted that she did a lot of training for the movie, even learned to use the sword with her left hand, but in real life she’s the girliest girl ever and wouldn’t think twice if she had to choose between a good book and a good fight.
Yes: Milla Jovovich
90s kids love Milla Jovovich for her Fifth Element role, but now she’s more famous for her work on the Resident Evil movie series. Well, whatever role she faces, Milla Jovovich always gives her best performance, that including a third-degree black belt in Taekwando. Yes, you read that right! This lady is tough for real and she’s no joke. For her various roles she also practiced Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and karate.
No: Summer Glau
Firefly fans remember Summer Glau playing the genius girl River, who could punch some bad guys, but most of you probably know her from Arrow and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where she had some pretty spectacular action scenes. Yet Summer confessed that all this action-stuff isn’t really her cup of tea – it’s all being choreographed so she would look good incorporating her ballet experience.
Yes: Lucy Liu
You kind of can tell just by looking at her that she’s a tough cookie, don’t you think? Either way, she truly is! Lately she’s been mostly known for her role as Watson in the Elementary TV show, but she’s a real action star if you look a few years back. Kill Bill and Charlie’s Angles showcased her actual skill, no kidding! She’s an expert in Kali-Eskrima-Silat (stick fighting) which gave her huge advantage when she needed to learn sword fighting for Kill Bill. Her actual fighting skills were also incorporate into her role as Watson – she does most of the show’s stunts herself.
No: Halle Berry
For a woman who has played so many action characters, Halle Berry isn’t really about fighting and running around in tight clothes in real life. She’s dedicated to her roles and will frequent a gym getting into shape (Catwoman, Die Another Day), but that’s as far as she’ll go. Most of the stunts and, well, action is performed by stunt doubles. Nevertheless, Halle Berry always looks and acts the part, so we don’t really mind her being all soft and gentle in real life.
Yes: Katheryn Winnick
Oh, don’t you just love Katheryn Winnick on Vikings? She’s one of the coolest characters on the show – and it has some pretty outstanding ones! This outstanding woman got her first black belt when she was only 13 year old and now rocks a 2nd Dan in Karate and a 3rd Dan in Taekwando. Needless to say, she learned how to actually fight with a sword and a shield, so she could easily do it in real life too (if need be, well, you never know). She’s one of the coolest ladies out there!
No: Lucy Lawless
Our beloved Xena Warrior Princess is actually not that much of a warrior in real life. That’s the truth! Lucy Lawless admits she did some training for the role and learned horseback riding as well, but after breaking a leg she started relying on stunt doubles even more than before. Well, we can’t blame her! And that doesn’t change the fact that she look 100% believable in the role of Xena.
Yes: Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron is definitely one of the most stunning acting ladies in Hollywood, but she’s also among the toughest ones! Remember Aeon Flux? Well, she was doing so much stuff herself that even broke her neck. Needless to say, she was back on set in no time! She also underwent hardcore training for Mad Max: Fury Road in harsh conditions of a scorching desert. And the latest Atomic Blone? Yes, you guessed right – she did most of the fighting stunts and sequences herself! That’s just how cool she is.
No: Gwendoline Christie
As much as I love Gwendoline Christie as a knight in shining armour, she’s totally different in real life. The producers of Game of Thrones were desperate to find a six-feet-tall actress for the role of Brienne, until Gwendoline Chrisite showed up. She was dedicated to portray the character the best way possible, and that she did! Yet in real life she likes fashion and would love to play more comedic roles. She’s a real softie off screen, which makes her acting skills all the more incredible.