Interview with Team Tempest Freerunner Luci Steel Romberg
Now, we don’t usually do this, but when we were given an opportunity to interview professional stuntwoman Luci Steel Romberg, we just couldn’t pass it up. Romberg is known for her stunt work in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Changeling, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. She’s also a freerunner and the only female member of Team Tempest.
Steve: First of all, you’ve been in a lot of movies as a stuntwoman. Can you list off your top ones?
Luci: Sure! Um… Zombie Land, Green Lantern, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull… um let’s see what else have I been on. I always I have to look at my resume, is that good for now?
Steve: Who are some of the people who you did stunts for?
Luci: I doubled Anna Paquin for on a pilot for True Blood. Abigail Breslin, Mary Lou Retton, Jillian Barberie, Hayden Panettiere. I doubled for her in only one episode of Heroes. Let’s see who else, Rachael Harris, Christen Carpenter…
Steve: Wow, sounds like you’ve been pretty busy. So, how did you get involved in this? Can you take us back to the beginning?
Luci: Yeah, sure! So, I was a national champion gymnast in college and one of my teammates was in LA, who was doing stunts and acting, came back for one of my home meets in my senior year and just kind of convinced me to come out and try it. You know, there was nothing else I was interested in doing and I didn’t know what the heck I was going to do after college so I was like yeah, why not? I have nothing else going on so, I moved out to LA not knowing anybody and kind of found my way and started meeting people, trying to figure out how to get a job.
Steve: What was the first stunt you’ve done in the movies?
Luci: The first stunt I did was…I think I was getting shot on Crossing Jordan. I was playing a friend of a girl and we both got shot and killed.
Steve: You know what episode that was?
Luci: Oh man, I have no idea. I might be able to look it up and get back to you on that. UPDATE – (Season 6 – Episode 15)
Steve: Okay. Cause you know, your first one is like a milestone.
Luci: Yeah for sure.
Steve: Since then you’ve been primarily doing stunts in the movie and TV business?
Luci: Yeah, that’s how make a living, doing stunts and freerunning.
Steve: Freerunning is a newer phenomenon that started what…5 or 6 years ago?
Luci: Oh! no, no. It’s been around for a long time. I don’t know, probably 20 years I’m guessing but uh… Sebastien… or actually rather David Bell, in France, kind of started doing it along with Sebastien Foucan and their friends. It’s been around for a while but now it’s starting to gain popularity. I’ve only been doing it for 3 years but there are guys on my team that have been doing it for 10 years. So yeah, it’s been around in the public and it’s finally catching on to its awesomeness.
Steve: Can you describe the sport?
Luci: I’ll start off by describing what Parkour is – Parkour is about efficient body movement. Moving from point A to point B fast and efficiently as possible, and then Freerunning is about adding creativity, adding style, adding flips… things like that.
Steve: You see a lot of people running and jumping on roofs which if they make one small mistake they can die. Is it as dangerous as it looks?
Luci: Umm… you know, it’s obviously dangerous for sure but for the guys jumping roof gaps…. it’s not our first day training. We’ve been training for a long time, we’re very skilled and we know what are limits are. When we go for a jump, we’re going to make it. No doubt about it. There’s obviously a risk involved but it’s a calculated risk like you know what your ability is and what your ability isn’t. When you’re doing that roof jump, you have practiced and you have done it a ton of times. It’s something that you know that you’re certain that you can do.
Steve: What was the scariest closest call you ever had?
Luci: I was doing a show and I was jumping this huge gap. It was 10 feet across. I was using a mat but it was like 30 feet down to another roof top and another probably 15 feet down to the ground. I went to jump it and there was this pretty high step up and I was running really fast, I didn’t step up high enough, kicked the ledge doing a front flip over the gap and landing safely on the mat somehow. I don’t know how I did that. I had to get up and do it two more times and was really successful on the next two.
Steve: Wow, sounds scary.
Luci: Yeah. It was gnarly actually. (laughs)
Steve: I was wondering, there have been a couple of freerunning/parkour type games out and there is one EA put out a few years ago called Mirror’s Edge…
Luci: Yeah, I’m familiar with that. I haven’t played it but I’ve seen guys playing it though.
Steve: That was one of the biggest ones and it was a really fun game to play. Do you play any video games?
Luci: Honestly, I’m more old-school. I just do Mario.
Steve: Do you have a Nintendo system that you like?
Luci: Yeah I do. I have the Wii. So, we just download the older games on there like Mario 1, 2, 3. Mainly, that’s my thing actually.
Steve: Is that pretty much your extent to your gaming?
Luci: (laughs) Yes, it is.
Steve: Can you tell us about your Tempest Freerunning Academy?
Luci: My team and I were one of the top teams in the world and we just opened the first freerunning gym in California. It’s one of the first in the world built solely for the promotion and expansion of freenrunning and parkour. You should check out our gym video, it went viral.
Steve: Say you were going to create a video about you and your life, what would it be about?
Luci: I would love to be a women super hero kind of thing with fighting and jumping incorporating both since I also do martial arts. Even though I’m not into the gaming world, I think we need more women bad asses. Just to let them know we can kick ass as much as the guys can.
Steve: What do you see in your future? Short Term? Long Term? What are you trying to accomplish?
Luci: My short term goal is to hopefully continue to inspire more women to become more involved in freerunning. You know, it’s mainly a guy sport so I’m trying to lead by example. I’ve been competing all over the world this year, keeping up with the guys. I made finals, 5 out of the 8 international competitions so I want to put it out there that if I can do it, you can do it too. I want people to realize that the true freedom behind overcoming any obstacle that comes your way. It’s a very powerful thing.
Long term? I don’t really know. I want to be able to keep competing and to keep doing this art form, this sport that I love as long as possible while keeping my body healthy and in shape. Also, hopefully opening more academies across the US.
Steve: Cool. Thank you for your time and good luck with everything.