A double life … with star power

High school custodian
pulls second shift
as movie stuntman.
By Nara Schoenberg
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO – Like the Dark Knight himself, Kevin Sorensen lives in two worlds.
As a stuntman in the latest “Batman” movie, he chatted with Heath Ledger and appeared behind the Joker in the signature Lower Wacker Drive chase scene. Then it was back to his regular job as a custodian at Oak Park and River Forest High Schools in Chicago.
Upon discovering his double life, school employees tend to say things such as, “Oh my God! I’ve never met a movie star before.”
But Sorensen, 42, a deceptively easygoing father of two, is quick to set them straight.
“No, I just do stunt work,” he says. “It’s just another job that somebody’s going to do, and that I just happen to love doing.”
You won’t hear much about guys such as Sorensen during the Hollywood awards season. The same awards ceremonies that honor best makeup and sound mixing wouldn’t be caught dead honoring, say, best stunt with a car.
But that’s OK with this crowd.
Sorensen, one of 52 “The Dark Knight” performers who were recently honored as best movie stunt ensemble by the relatively democratic Screen Actors Guild, has worked as a busboy, a waiter and – for the past 20 years – a custodian, all to subsidize his Chicago-based career in the movies.
“It’s a license to play,” he says of stunt work.
“When you’re a kid, you play cops and robbers, and with this, you get to continue doing that. You shoot guns and crash cars and blow things up.”
Sorensen, who is married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Aurora, Ill., got his first big movie break when local stunt legend Rick LeFevour hired him for “Groundhog Day.” Since then, he has worked on two dozen films, including “The Lake House,” “Batman Begins” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
“I took a shot on Kevin, and he stepped to the door and has done a great job,” says LeFevour, an assistant stunt coordinator on “The Dark Knight.”
Sorensen appears briefly in the bank scene and again behind the Joker as one of three clowns in the renegade semi on Lower Wacker Drive. But, alas, he wasn’t selected to dangle from a rope, 40 stories above the ground, in the spine-tingling SWAT team scene.
“You do get kind of jealous,” Sorensen says with a mischievous smile. “I wish I had done that.”
There’s always next time.

 

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