His Brother’s Keeper
NCIS: L.A.’s Eric Christian Olsen lets his stuntman-brother, David, take the spills.
As Marty Deeks, a Los Angeles police liaison on CBS’s hit NCIS: Los Angeles, Eric Christian Olsen gets out of tight spots with the help of his brothers and sisters in arms - an alite team of naval investigators potrayed by Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah and Linda Hunt.
But behind the scenes, when push comes to shove, it’s Olsen’s real-life older brother who has his back, as his stunt double.
David Paul Olsen is a natural for the gig, having the benefit of special training as a former U.S. Navy SEAL.
Their work together beganin 2003 when David, post-Navy, visited Eric on Hollywood sets. Occasional stunt work followed.
“At some point,” Eric recalls, “they threw somebody out of a window who didn’t look anything like me, and David said, “I could have done that.” By 2007 David was doubling Eric’s stunts on the Fox comedy The Loop.
When Eric joined NCIS: L.A. during the series’ second season, the action-heavy show intermittently began putting David to work. “When the stunt fits and I can do it, I come aboard.” Though he doesn’t perform specialities like stunt driving (“Those guys are in a league all their own”), David says he’d welcome the opportunity to do something SEAL-like, such as dropping from a helicopter onto a boat.
It’s though to know who’s who during action moments. Well, almost. “My mom can tell the difference. She says David’s thighs are more muscular,” Eric says with a laugh. To mimic Eric’s shaggy blond locks, David wears a wig over his darker, buzzed hair.
To date, their most impressive NCIS: L.A. collaboration has been a building explosion in the season-three finale, an ambitious sequence that took two days of set.up (Special effects supervisior Donald Frazee says no visuals were added in postproduction; everything seen on the screen was real.)
Watching from 100 yards, Eric felt the heat of the blast. David, who leaped from the burning building, came away with searing proff: his wig was signed.-Pat H. Broeske