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About The Stunts
Shot on real rivers with minimal green screen work, "Without a Paddle” is brimming with major stunts, many of which were done by the actors themselves. In fact, even before filming began, director Steven Brill knew he wanted Green, Lillard and Shepard to actually be in the canoe as it hurtled down the river, so the actors took a two-week course of canoe and water safety training in varying water and weather conditions.

Stunt coordinator Augie Davis says the original plan was to let the actors do a few minor things, and then let the stunt doubles take over. Green, Lillard and Shepard showed so much courage and willingness to do the stunts themselves, however, that they ended up performing throughout many of the most intense sequences.

"We certainly got more mileage out of our actors than we expected,” says Davis. "They far exceeded my expectations, particularly in the river work, where they did some pretty exceptional canoeing over some very tough rapids. The river can be very unforgiving, even though we were careful to give Seth, Matt and Dax the skills to handle themselves out there. And they sure did! They maneuvered their boat into some pretty tricky positions, but got themselves out of trouble every time.”

According to Davis, river rapids are graded one through five, with five being the toughest and most dangerous. The three stars canoed and swam in grades two, three and four, and at one point, they took the canoe down a small waterfall named Geoff s Joy and jumped out. During a particular sequence, Green swam through grade three rapids, and in another, Lillard treated the upturned canoe as though it were a surfboard and rode it down a grade three river. This was originally envisaged as a stunt double/visual effects job. But both Green and Lillard insisted.

"I remember our first training day on what was considered to be a mild river, and the instructor told us to get into our wetsuits, but since the river was flat, I really didn't see the need,” recalls Lillard, who earned the nickname "Sinker” from the safety crew. "Anyway, because the instructors insisted, I grudgingly put on my wet suit, and within 30 seconds of getting in the canoe, Dax and I flipped it!”

Shepard remembers being glad he had the wet suit on. ‘~The water was 38 degrees and it was miserable!” he laughs. "I've always been pretty cocky about my physical talents, but that experience took me down a peg.

Green credits their training for making the scenes as exciting as they are, but says that canoeing turned out to be far more difficult than he had ever imagined. "A canoe is unstable as it is, and with three of us in one, it was pretty hairy,” recalls Green. "Luckily we had Augie, who used to be a world championship rower. He gave us instructions all along the way and made us feel really safe.”

Lillard sees another benefit to the training. "The rowing really brought us together,” observes the actor. "Right from the start, Dax, Seth and I learned that working as a team would help us survive and that really bonded us, not only as actors but as characters in the film and friends afterward.”

While the actors definitely exceeded the filmmakers' hopes in the quality of their stunt work, having Augie Davis and a skilled white water team onboard to keep everything safe and in control was very important. Still, with stunts ranging from working with a huge bear to jumping into freezing white water, everyone on the set felt their hearts beat a little faster as the actors went through some of their more difficult scenes.

Dax Shepard's heart kicked into a higher gear the day he spent rappelling down from the 90-foot high tree house nestled in the branches of Earth Child, the giant redwood so named by the hippie chicks (Rachel Blanchard and Christina Moore) trying to keep her from being chopped down by loggers.

"The rig was basically a seat belt around my hips, and<

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