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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A Louisiana stunt woman to such stars as Demi Moore and Lucy Lui has performed extremely tough stunts for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Now she’s taking on one of her toughest roles…getting her physical strength back.

For the past 20 years, Stunt woman, Leigh Hennessy has made a movie career out of doing the most daring stunts including:  jumping out of helicopters, falling out of windows, and out of boats.

She started off modeling and then got her big break in the hit movie, “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore.  Hennessy played Moore’s stunt double.

“I doubled for Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane”.  I shaved my head, jumped out of helicopters, planes, and got beat up by Viggo Mortensen.  It was fabulous,”  she said.

From being Demi Moore’s stunt woman in G.I. Jane and Lucy Lui’s in Charlie’s Angels to doubling for Helen Mirren and even Tea Leoni in “Bad Boys”…her body’s certainly been put through a lot.  A gymnast at a young, she’s always lived actively.
“I developed arthritis at an early age.  When I was doing sports I injured both of my knees,”  Hennessy said.

A lifetime of knee injuries caught up with her.  Leigh eventually needed full knee replacement surgery, which she got done at Touro Infirmary in April.

Since then, she’s been working with her physical therapist at Touro, Robbie Banta.  He’s getting this stunt woman back in action!

“My experience with him is that he’s very knowledgeable about what my needs are because we’re both gymnasts.  He completely understands where I’m coming from,”  she said.

For Leigh, it’s important she gets the range of motion back in her knees.

Robbie’s boot camp is a little different than working on “G.I. Jane”.

“It’s tough love.  You need to have somewhat of a caring heart.  You can’t just be a drill sergeant, going in and snapping the knee,”  Banta said.

Hennessy feels more confident that she’s getting her strength back in her knee.

“I want to be strong enough to accept as much stunt work as possible,”  she said.

“With her you have higher level goals.  I’d like to get her back to doing what she was doing.  I want her to know that if her knee bends and she jumps out of three story window that she will feel confident doing it,”  Banta said.

Soon enough…her knees will be strong enough to jump out of even more planes, windows, and boats.

“She’s the bionic woman.  They build her stronger, better, and faster,”  Banta said.

Recently, Leigh worked on “Don’t Mess with Texas” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, which just finished shooting in New Orleans.

Hennessy is from Louisiana and runs her own trampoline studio.  She continues to work on many films as a stunt performer, actress, and stunt coordinator.   She is in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

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