Movies & TV / Columns

Stunt Legend Steven Lambert On His New Book From the Streets of Brooklyn to the Halls of Hollywood

September 27, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Steven Lambert: From the Streets of Brooklyn to the Halls of Hollywood

The 411 Interview: Steven Lambert


Steven Lambert is well known stunt performer, stunt coordinator, martial artist, fight choreographer and, on occasion, actor, who has been working in show business for close to four decades, starting in the late 1970’s. Lambert has worked with directors such as Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall), Sam Firstenberg (Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja III: The Domination, American Ninja), Sam Raimi (Army of Darkness), Martin Scorsese (Casino), John Carpenter (Escape from L.A. and Vampires), and so many more. Lambert’s latest project is a book that he’s written with co-writer Justin Dabrow, Steven Lambert: From the Streets of Brooklyn to the Halls of Hollywood, that chronicles Lambert’s life story as a kid in Brooklyn in the 1950’s all the way up to being one of the preeminent stunt performers in the movie business (the book is available exclusively through Amazon and can be purchased here). In this interview, Lambert talks with this writer about the origins of the book, his working relationship with co-writer Justin Dabrow, the stunt world, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did the idea of doing a book come about?

Steven Lambert: I have been reading books from actors, directors, producers and stunt people for a long time. They have always been very basic, never telling you the real stories, never giving you the “meat.” So I decided to do something they never did, a rare read of a different way of writing.

BK: How did you come to work with your co-writer Justin Dabrow? Explain how you put the book together with Justin.

SL: I had interviewed many people but it was always a problem finding talent or commitment and sometimes it was about money. With Justin Dabrow I found the first two in him and for money we made a deal, no cost, equal partners was the promise. As for putting the book together, writing it. I would dictate on a tape recorder each story then he would write it. I insisted to write just the way I said it always. That was the key. He would then bring it to me then I would make the changes. This was a constant procedure, always finding myself going back to redo stories when I would think of something I forgot, perfecting my, our writing, making it different and interesting for the reader.

BK: How long did it take to finish the book?

SL: Three long years.

BK: How has the world of stunts changed since you got involved in the business, for the better and for the worst?

SL: Some worst and some better. In my day and before, stunts were performed for real. Now most are not done that way. They’re done with “movie magic” not with your own ability.

BK: In your estimation, what don’t people understand about stunts and stunt performers, both within the entertainment industry and outside of it?

SL: Well we are artists not daredevils, at least I am.


BK: Safety pops up quite a bit in your book. Have directors and producers become more safety conscious over the years when it comes to stunts? Have stunt coordinators become more safety conscious?

SL: In all of the history of the movie business the stunt people have always put safety first. The problem was almost always with the director or producer or the actor not caring.

BK: Should the Oscars have a stunts category?

SL: Well, that’s a difficult question. I say yes but it depends on who is controlling and making the decisions on awarding the prize. They must get people who won’t play favorites. I am afraid it won’t be fair. Some things never change.

BK: Your friendship with James Woods is a wonderful part of the book. You two have had quite the working relationship. If someone ever decides to make a movie one day about that friendship, who do you want playing you, and who should play James Woods?

SL: LOL When the time comes then you can ask me, but they have to be two very unique people.

BK: Have you seen Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood? What did you think of it?

SL: Tarantino should be ashamed of himself. As a director you should know there are ten different ways you can set up and write a scene that would please everyone and give you and the audience what is needed. He did not do that. It was all about ego. I also blame it on Brad Pitt. Ego again. And as far as the stunt coordinator, shame. If it was me, I probably would have been fired. I would not have allowed it. And they would have said bye bye to me. Tarantino hurt Bruce Lee’s family and friends. Very sad when you don’t tell the truth. Bruce was not like the way he was written and filmed.

BK: Your commentary track with Sam Firstenberg on the Blu-ray of “Revenge of the Ninja” is terrific. Would you like to do more commentary tracks in the future?

SL: Thank you! Yes, I enjoyed it. It gives people another way of looking at the situation.

BK: You’ve been credited as Steven Lambert, Steve Lambert, and Steven Hal Lambert. How do you determine which name you want to be credited as?

SL: I always write on my contracts “Steven Hal Lambert.” Other places “Steven.” I never write “Steve” but I always ask people to call me Steve. Is this important? LOL

BK: What is the future of stunts in both movies and television?

SL: Who knows what the future will bring?


BK: You have several great and eye opening stories about several directors and actors that you’ve worked with over the years (the Paul Verhoeven, Sho Kosugi, and John Carpenter stories are my favorites). Do you think you have enough stories to write a sequel, in the event you ever feel the need to do so?

SL: Hell no! Once is enough for me.

BK: Does James Woods only allow his friends to call him Jimmy, or can, well, anyone call him Jimmy?

SL: Anyone could. He is the best.


A very special thanks to Steven Lambert for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Purchase Steven Lambert: From the Streets of Brooklyn to the Halls of Hollywood here.

Check out Steven Lambert’s IMDB page here.

Check out Steven Lambert’s Facebook page here.

All images courtesy of Steven Lambert.