For most people, the idea of jumping off a burning building or climbing up a sheer precipice holds about as much appeal as Bloemfontein during a lightning storm, but for Lee-Anne Liebenberg, taking risks has been a part of her life for more than 30 years. The most experienced stunt woman in South Africa, and the first female stunt coordinator in the country, Lee-Anne thrives on the energy and excitement of the industry.
“I believe I was born for it,” she says. “I used to do karate and later took up kickboxing as a sport. As a child, my three brothers taught me everything from boxing, biking, karate, wrestling, rugby, headbutting, foofy sliding, jumping from the roof and all sorts of things only boys like to do. I was always hanging with them. So I suppose that it was already in my blood to do the rough stuff.”
“I never decided to get into the stunt industry, it all happened by chance. I was discovered by stunt co-ordinator Roly Jansen. I was asked to kick down doors and when they found out I was a Springbok kickboxer – they were interested to see what I could do. They then put me through a crash course and off I went.”
FROM THE APRIL/MAY 2005 ISSUE OF CAPE ETC. MAGAZINE
Not for the faint at heart
At the present time her contributions are largely in the disciplines of co-ordinating and performing in feature films. She has worked on many international projects, both in South Africa and several locations abroad. With the limited opportunities and the ever growing pool of performers in the stunt industry, it has become an extremely competitive environment and Lee-Anne has diversified her skills into areas such as driving, acting and coaching action to performers and actors.
As a female co-ordinator she has made her mark. Over the past number of years she has secured films and other projects in a male dominated world.
Lee-Anne has had her own company called Stunts 4 Reel for 15 years in South Africa.
She offers training courses once a year, but warns this career choice is not for the faint at heart. The work is considered highly dangerous as we deliberately risk our lives with every action. Accidents do happen and with the risks taken there is always a 50/50 chance of injury and therefore working at a very high safety standard is crucial.