Little piece I did on my boy Larry Nunez. He’s a stunt man, among other things »>
Pro-Ject is proud to have built alliances with people of countless disciplines and walks of life. Entrepreneurs, Tech Trailblazers, Media Moguls, Music Masters, Creative Designers, Artists, Athletes and general Bad-asses.
Definitely falling into the Bad-Ass category, we have our guy Larry Nuñez. Larry grew up in El Paso Texas, but has spent time living in Colorado, Oregon, California and now NYC. Between all that, he fulfills his desires as a Jet-Setting Thrill Seeker. Scouring the world for mountains to shred was a regular thing for this cat, and that lead him to seeking thrills of other kinds…as a Stunt Man.
Tell us a little bit about yourself as far as what you do? How did you start and where are you currently?
It is kind of hard to narrow down what I do to just one thing, as like many creative types I rely on a few different things to pay the bills. But the simple answer is that I am a writer, photographer and stuntman living and working in New York City. I grew up skating in El Paso, Texas as a kid and started snowboarding when I moved to Colorado at age 18 to try and go to college. School didn’t last very long though, as I quickly figured out that snowboarding everyday was the only thing I really wanted to do.
For the next few years I ended up spending my winters snowboarding in Colorado, summers working as a coach on Mt. Hood, Oregon and falls skateboarding in Southern California.
My goal back then was of course to be a professional snowboarder, and I had some success at it, but eventually decided that I could still live the life of a pro rider without the pressure and difficulties of finding sponsors and suffering injuries (albeit without the big paychecks either) by moving to the media side of things. I started working and writing for various snowboard publications, and eventually helped start a new magazine with a close group of friends, which we later sold and ran for a few more years. It was awesome having our own business; we learned a lot, created some of the most memorable magazines in snowboarding and traveled the world doing what we loved to do. I left that about five years ago and started working with Vans doing social media, which is sort of like the evolution of print publishing. Living the freelance life, luckily I still get to do what I love the most, which is snowboard on some of the best mountains in the world.
Around the same time we started Snowboard Mag I began doing stunt work for film and television, and fortunately it ended up turning into a legitimate career.
What are your most exciting current projects, and what are the goals of these projects?
One of the most exciting things I did this year was get hit by a car for the season premiere of Law & Order: SVU. I got to work with Ice-T, which was pretty fuckin’ cool. The goal was to make it look as gnarly as possible without getting hurt, which is always the goal of a good stunt. Luckily it went perfectly, and everyone was really happy with the way it turned out. Car hits can be tricky sometimes. As a veteran stunt coordinator recently told me, about half the time they end up with someone in the hospital. There was a little bit of acting with that job too, which was fun as well.
Some of the other stuff I’ve worked on this year that was exciting was Jon Stewart’s new movie Rosewater and the final season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which is a show that I actually watch and love. I got to work on a movie called Sicario over the summer that is going to be bad-ass – really great cast and an amazing director. A bunch of stuff that we filmed last year like the Amazing Spider-Man 2 and NBC’s Taxi Brooklyn came out over the summer, and it’s always cool to see the final product
What inspired the move towards working as stunt man, and how has it changed and evolved for you since you started doing this?
Well I’ve always been interested in movies and entertainment, but was more focused on snowboarding and skateboarding. Almost every decision in my life I’ve made so that I can ride as much as possible, except for one about 12 years ago. That decision was to move to New York City, and it ended up changing my life. I just wanted to try something new, and I had a friend who said she might be able to get me a job working as a locations assistant on a film in New York.
So like most NYC stories, I left everything behind and moved here with no job, no money, no apartment and no real plan. The job didn’t pan out right away, but I stuck around the City and eventually something came up. I had no idea at the time that it would lead to being a stunt man, but I just had an instinct that I needed to live in New York at some point in my life. I think everybody should, it makes you a better person. Once I started doing stunts I was hooked.
Since then the business hasn’t changed that much, other than the fact that there are way more people doing it now. Within the last couple years alone, as production worked has dried up in California, more and more stuntmen have moved to New York and are competing for jobs. Of course, the Internet makes it a lot easier to network and meet people now as well. When I first started out you had to hit the streets and hustle.
What was your most exciting job working stunts, and why?
Man it’s so hard to pick just one, as every job is exciting for their own reasons. Sometimes the stunt itself is the exciting part, especially if it’s a little dangerous. A good adrenaline rush always makes it fun. Sometimes it’s exciting for me just working with people I respect and admire. On Boardwalk Empire I had to sign an NDA contract with Martin Scorsese’s name on it, and that was exciting just to be a part of something that he’s involved with, as Goodfellas is one of my favorite movies of all time.
I really loved working on Bored to Death as Jason Schwartzman’s stunt double; we did a bunch of cool stunts on that show, and it was a fun job because we went three seasons and had a great crew.
With Spider-Man 2 it was exciting to work on a production of that size. Anything with cars is always exciting: I’ve crashed cars; ran down a bus and jumped inside; drove a police car and jumped out to watch it explode into flames and now taken one head on. All car stunts are usually dangerous, and always exciting.
What 3 Words best describe you?
Travel, stunts and snow.
When you were growing up, who most influenced you?
Pretty much your standard ‘80s icons: I was a Bones Brigade kid and Tommy Guerrero and Cab were my favorites. Hosoi too off course. My older sister was a huge influence on me – she introduced me to music like Bad Brains and Jane’s Addiction while I found others like the Dead Kennedys through skateboarding and Thrasher Magazine. Later on it was the Beastie Boys. One of the first visuals of New York I can remember was the Paul’s Boutique inside album photo; ironically I now live on that corner. Comedians too: I watched Eddie Murphy: RAW religiously and never missed a Saturday Night Live. For some reason my parents let me watch Scarface all the time too haha. Once I got a little older it was all snowboarders influencing almost everything.
When did you start writing, and what lead to working with sites like Vans Snow and Frank151?
I started writing in high school, studied journalism and wrote for the school paper. I gave it up for a few years after that but once I figured out a way to get paid for writing about something I loved, I was all about it. It’s a niche thing and it’s kind of a selfish pursuit, as opposed to actual investigative journalism about world events, crime or politics. But I always liked writing about something that makes a lot of people very happy, which snowboarding clearly does.
I’ve been a freelance writer for about 16 years now so eventually you end up working with a lot of different people: skate and surf mags, almost every snowboard magazine and lifestyle ones like Frank151. Working with Vans was great because I got to write, shoot photos, make videos and travel with our team, which is made up of some of my good friends. Vans has some of the best snowboarders on the planet on the team like Olympic Gold Medalist Iouri Podladtchikov, back-country rulers like Mark Landvik, Andreas Wiig and legends like Jamie Lynn. Unfortunately they had a problem with their manufacture and were not able to deliver boots this season, so they cut the budget for my position. It’s cool though; after five years with Vans, I had a good run…
When you’re not working what do you like to do?
New York is filled with distractions, and there’s always a cool party or fun event to go to. I like to skate, hang out in the neighborhood, play dominos with TheGoodLife! crew, and try to travel as much as possible.
Do you have any good stories about Tragedy and Triumph in your career
Nothing specific, but it’s important to have good friends to support you and then be there for them as well. You never know when you’re going to need their help and vice versa. No matter what happens I try to stay positive and cherish every moment cause nothing is ever certain.
If you were a meal of the day what would you be and why? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Why?
Uhh, I think breakfast. I eat tons of fruit – it’s probably my favorite food. Fruit and any kind of Mexican food is the best, especially Huevos a la Mexicana.
What is one of your favorite memories from your career? Please be detailed.
Anytime I get to ride big lines are the best memories, and I can recall one line in particular that changed my life forever. I was on a press trip in Argentina in 2001 and everything was first class, which always makes for a nice experience. But some things money can’t buy, like the massive early season snowstorm that hit the day we arrived in Las Leñas. We only had two days in Las Leñas, and the weather there is always unpredictable. But we got lucky, especially for late June, and the next day the skies were clear and they opened up Marte Chair, which accesses some of the best terrain in the world, and certainly the best I had ever ridden at that time. Our guide took us to a run named Eduardo, a giant couloir right on the front face of the resort. It was about 3,000 vertical feet of untouched powder with a perfect pitch and rock features everywhere. We rode that at the end of the day straight to the hotel and then sat in the hot tub admiring our lines that evening as the sun set. It completely opened up the way I looked at mountains and took my riding to a whole other level.
How do you find enough time to do work, social media, create and be a human? Any specific strategies?
Just turn off the fucking phone once in a while and take a look around. It’s important to disconnect.
What advice do you have to give to up and coming entrepreneurs that work in your “space”?
Be professional, respectful and patient. If you have the right skills, sooner or later someone will recognize it and give you the chance to prove it.
Who do you admire and why? Name 1 or 2 people please.
There are so many people it’s hard to pick one or two. I really admire snowboarding legends like Todd Richards and Terje Haakonsen. They pioneered freestyle riding and they still rip just as hard as ever. In the world of entertainment I admire guys like Terrance Winter and Matt Weiner. They were both writers on the Sopranos (the best television show ever) and went on to create their own shows, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, respectively. What Vince Gilligan did with Breaking Bad was genius too. Those guys all had their own ideas and not only made them a reality, but have been incredibly successful doing so. And of course every stunt coordinator I’ve ever worked for – those guys are the unsung heroes of film and television and are all legends to me.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever received? From who?
I can’t say what the best was but recently right before a gnarly stunt my coordinator Jery Hewitt came up to me and said, “One more thing, and this is very important: have fun.”
What are you listening to currently?
Nothing is better than a good DJ. Z-Trip always has some heat. My man Jayceeoh. Terry Urban. Old A-Dog mixtapes (R.I.P). Classic hip-hop never fails. I mean the new shit is cool too but it’s just not the same.
What do you define as success and wealth?
Obviously money is awesome but if you’re miserable while you’re getting it, then what is the point? To me success is waking up every morning and being happy about what you’re going to do that day.
What can marketing agencies and brands learn from you and your influence?
Be original and authentic. People can always spot a phony.
What inspires you?
It’d be easier to list what doesn’t. Sometimes it’s as easy as just walking around the City looking at the people, places and things. Sometimes it’s cool art or photography, or watching a great film. Travis Rice and the Brainfarm guys are next level, their films are super inspirational. Beautiful women of course. Pretty much anyone who goes after what they want inspires me.