James “Bam Bam” Bamford started his career in 1994 on a show called M.A.N.T.I.S. as a stunt performer. Since then he has 151 IMBD credits to his name and counting. Working on X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, The Butterfly Effect, Catwoman, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Watchmen to name a few before he joined the crew for Arrow as stunt coordinator, director, fight choreographer, producer, and stunt supervisor.
In an interview with The Wayfaring Dreamer he says, “I’d intended on becoming a stuntman from a very early age, but at some point I pivoted, and planned to become an actor, as I didn’t know how to go about facilitating a stunt career.” He then became involved in Community Theater and continued to train. Another opportunity came his way as a correctional officer and the domino effect continued. He continues his interview saying, “While working as a corrections officer, a friend from childhood, who used to train at the same karate dojo as I did, and became a stuntman himself, gave my sensei and I a call looking for a stunt double for a 6-foot tall, 170-pound actor. We sent footage to the stunt coordinator of the television series, who later called to inform me that I had earned the part as the lead stunt double. After that first job, I made many connections, and was able to get myself more and more work, including one of my oldest and more favorite jobs as Mulder’s stunt double on X-Files.”
In the same interview he talks about training Stephen Amell. “Immediately upon my return from Cuba, I began to train Stephen in fight-for-film basics, as well as choreographing the first fight sequence which you see in the pilot of Arrow. Right off the bat, Stephen told me, ‘I’ve never punched anybody in my life.’ – he’d had no prior martial arts, boxing, or any hand-to-hand combat training or experience. What he did have, however, was a natural athletic ability, and an all-in, positive attitude.”
He started training Mr. Amell with techniques from a Filipino martial art called Arnis, which is a weapon-based style involving sticks, knives, and clubs. He chose this style because he “wanted to get [Stephen’s] timing up.” He continues, “One of the things I don’t like about combat on television is that they use old-school, John Wayne-style timing – whereas I like to introduce half beat style timing.”
See more of his work in Arrow Season 7 starting October 15!!