Arts & Entertainment

Actor, stuntman back to help his mentor

Adam Critchlow has accomplished an amazing feat in his young life -- making a living in Hollywood as both an actor and stuntman.

But there is a shallowness in Los Angeles, Critchlow says, that has nothing to with the camaraderie between actors.

"Actors generally look out and care for each other," he said. "But L.A. in general is a pretty shallow town."

So, to escape the skin-deep existence for a while, Critchlow, a 2000 Hanford High grad, comes home once a year to visit family and friends.

And usually he'll wind up spending most of his time helping his old drama teacher, Matt Leggett, prepare students for an upcoming play.

His most recent trip home last month had him assisting Leggett with Hanford High's upcoming performance of Pride and Prejudice, which opens Nov. 5.

"It's the least I could do for my old mentor," Critchlow said with a smirk. "Truthfully, I like coming home and working with Matt. It not only feeds my artistic interests but I owe Mr. Leggett a great deal because he truly prepared me for this line of work."

Critchlow has been a working actor/stuntman in Hollywood for a couple of years, when he was hired by the stunt company, Sword Fights Inc.

"It's the kind of job that's absolutely a blast to go to each day," he said.

Mostly because he gets to crash 'em, smash 'em and sword fight 'em every day, as well as get beat up himself once in a while. Some of his latest work was in Transformers 3, where he played a White House guard. "Michael Bay (Transformers director) is not that hard to work with," Critchlow said. "In fact, his films are a lot of fun to do."

Critchlow also can be seen in the upcoming film Thor, which will be released next spring. He plays one of the guards of the god Odin in that film, which is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.

He also has made a few appearances on Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior show.

After heading off to college after graduation, Critchlow earned a degree in performance from Whitworth College in Spokane. Then he spent three years with the Idaho Rep Theater group before moving to South Carolina to work as a technical director and actor for the Warehouse Theatre. He moved to L.A. in 2009.

"I never intended to be an actor," he admitted. "But there was a girl I liked during my freshman year at Hanford who auditioned for Hello Dolly, so I did too."

Critchlow didn't get an acting role in that musical, but he did work behind the scenes.

He now specializes in sword fighting techniques, and he shared some of that expertise during his time with the Hanford High students.

"I teach sword play and fight choreography with actors as part of my job with Sword Fights Inc.," he said. And there is a difference in teaching women about using a sword than men.

"Women are much easier to train because they listen better," Critchlow said. "Many guys already think they know how to use a sword, but they find out differently."

Though Critchlow loves the art of acting, he feels more at home with coordinating stunt work and many times he'll donate his time to charity work at L.A. fundraisers.

He's making a living doing what he loves and what could be better than that? he said.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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