The Fall Guy: Is Tom Ryder a Real Actor? Is Gail Meyer an Actual Producer?

David Leitch’s action comedy film ‘The Fall Guy’ is a delightful love letter to all the stunt performers in Hollywood. In addition to showcasing the level of risks, determination, planning, and hard work a stunt team commits to, the flick also doesn’t shy away from comically exaggerating an actor’s hesitation to dedicate himself to his project and a producer’s audacity to treat her crew members as expendable assets to exploit their powers for outrageous purposes. Leitch’s movie features Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Tom Ryder, who exploits this privilege for a far worse selfish reason: to take care of his dirty deeds.

Tom serves as the antagonist of ‘The Fall Guy.’ He, with the assistance of Hannah Waddingham’s manipulative producer, Gail Meyer, traps Colt Seavers, his longtime stunt double, into taking the hit for crimes he committed. This juxtaposition makes the viewers wonder whether Johnson’s character is inspired by a real-life person and if the industry could pose such threats to stunt workers.

Ultimate Hollywood Superstar and His Manipulative Guardian

Like every other character in ‘The Fall Guy,’ Tom Ryder and Gail Meyer are fictional characters without any connections to a real actor and producer, respectively. In contrast to Ryan Gosling’s Colt and Emily Blunt’s Jody Moreno, Tom and Gail are original creations of screenwriter Drew Pearce rather than characters adapted from Glen A. Larson’s ABC series of the same name. The villainous acts of the pair—irresponsibly letting a stuntman die at a high-voltage party, framing another for the crime, hiding evidence, tampering with proof, attempted murders, etc.— alone clears up any indirect similarities or resemblances as mere coincidences or artistic freedom.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in The Fall Guy

Although several actors and producers have been exposed for their involvement in vicious crimes, and Hollywood has not exactly been grateful towards the stunt industry—not to mention the many accidental deaths—the film’s villains stem from Pearce’s vision. From the moment Tom and Gail are introduced, their mistreatment of fellow crew members begins to take shape. Tom demeans Colt’s chin and slaps him, while Gail asks him to repeat the stunt, highlighting the longtime professional bond between the two.

The egoistic and unprofessional sides of Tom’s personality are meant to be observed when he barely shows up at sets, dates his newest co-worker, and organizes extravagant parties without any commitment to his role.  Even though Tom and Gail are fictional, only brought to life on screen by its actors, Pearce, the performers, and the production crew did integrate Easter eggs and subtle references that may remind viewers of existing people, both real and fictional, to the characters’ storylines. The similarities are not astonishing or realistic, but they make the narrative a spoof of celebrity culture.

Given Leitch’s professional career, which involved lots of stunt work before landing on the director’s chair, it’s not a surprise that the fictional actor in his film is shown to consider his shortcomings as embarrassing. Tom’s persistence in acting in action movies while calling himself an action star reminds us of Tom Cruise, with whom he also shares his first name. However, the comparisons cease to stop while considering the proven record of the latter when it comes to performing stunts by himself.

Additionally, a scene that focuses on a large billboard featuring Tom’s perfume commercial strongly resembles the popular Dior ad with the appearance of Johnny Depp. Tom’s attire—wavy blonde hair, tinted sunglasses, and a similar bathrobe from ‘Secret Window’— also screams Depp despite them sharing no connections. The character attempts to impersonate yet another signature style of a superstar—the accent of Matthew McConaughey.

Tom’s producer, Gail, is shown to be a much more sympathetic character, reminding us of the textbook best friend characters. The revelation of her as Tom’s accomplice—or rather, the bigger mastermind—leads us to Les Grossman from ‘Tropic Thunder.’ Despite her questionable acts, there is no doubt that she is a terrific producer. Her efficient ways of prioritizing VFX over practical photography, her ability to operate a helicopter, and her success as a woman in Hollywood make her the most powerful character in ‘The Fall Guy.’

However, Gail’s manipulations know no bounds. She tries to win over Jody, another successful woman, by playing a victim of toxic masculinity. However, being a comedy film, several of her actions—threatening to shoot the crew members on her set and owning a collection of henchmen—solely serve the script’s demands, putting an end to any debate questioning her fictional background.

Read More: Where is The Fall Guy Filmed?