For most career high-flyers, the pinnacle of success is the boardroom.
For man of action Bobby Holland Hanton, it’s Bond or Batman.
The 28-year-old is a movie stuntman and, as anyone in that profession knows, the best call you can get is to play the spy or the superhero.
So when Bobby heard his first film job would be Daniel Craig’s stunt double in James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, he found it hard to believe.
‘I’d had an audition, they needed someone who was about six foot and they wanted me to do some aerial stunts, jumping, climbing ropes and an assault course,’ says Bobby.
‘But to be honest when I heard I’d got the job, I thought someone might be winding me up. The biggest stunt jobs you can get are probably Bond or Batman, so this was massive for me. I tried to play it all cool on the phone, but I was thrilled.’
A professional who literally scales the heights, Bobby ended up filming a rooftop chase scene in the beautiful Italian city of Siena.
As Daniel Craig’s double he leaped across buildings 90 feet up with gun in hand in a classic Bond-versus-baddie scene.
But before women ditch their box sets and start looking for an alternative action heart-throb, Bobby has plenty of compliments for Craig.
‘He did a hell of a lot himself in the movie. He’s a great actor, that’s what he’s there to do, but he likes to do his own stunts too. He’s very physical and a great athlete.’
And as if all that action and insider know-how wasn’t enough, Bobby landed the other top stunt gig, donning the cape and mask to double Christian Bale’s Batman.
In what must be every young lad’s dream, he recently became Gotham’s finest, filming stunt scenes in Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh for new Bat-flick The Dark Knight Rises (out on July 20).
Bobby, who has also been shooting forthcoming Bond movie Skyfall, can’t reveal details about current projects. But he can say how he feels about the whole thing.
‘It’s a dream come true. One of the fictional characters every boy wants to be when they’re growing up is Batman. I never thought I would be in the position to do something like this. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been.’
But Bobby, who grew up in Portsmouth and Fareham, has also worked hard towards his life of action.
The stunt specialist’s career began when he took up gymnastics as a child, although he didn’t realise then he’d spend his working days hanging from bridges or jumping in front of cars.
A member of the Pitt Street Gymnastics Club, he competed for the GB under-17s. But when his coach departed for America he found himself at a crossroads.
Also a keen footballer, he played for Fareham Town. Then he saw an advert that would take him to pastures new and change his life.
Legoland wanted performers for acrobatic shows and Bobby ended up diving into water from a 10m tower at the theme park and going on to appear in pantomime as an acrobat.
From there it was a short step but a great deal of training to be included on the Equity performers’ union register.
While actors film many action sequences, the expertise and incredible skills of stunt doubles are a vital part of movie-making. The men and women who pull of the most dangerous movie moments have to prove that they are at elite levels in several disciplines. For Bobby that includes gymnastics, high diving, trampolining and scuba diving. He also went from kickboxing beginner to black belt in two years.
And he’s now reaping the benefits, which include meeting some of the biggest names in cinema.
Bobby was really impressed with Daniel Craig.
He says: ‘He put so much time into getting the action right, he’s a real professional. And away from work he’s a really cool dude. It’s nice to see someone at the top of their game who is really down to earth.’
Christian Bale doesn’t always receive a good press but Bobby is full of praise for him too.
‘He’s a fantastic actor. You can see why he won an Oscar. My impression of him was a great guy who’s amazing at what he does.’
The other benefit is the travel, says Bobby. He’s been to some of the most exciting and beautiful places on earth.
But that must be balanced with the challenges. Filming Quantum of Solace in Panama, Bobby found himself jumping from balcony to balcony in the dark at 2am after a hard day. ‘You need to have self-discipline and a lot of drive,’ he says.
‘It’s not just a case of doing the stunt. You have to do it in the right way and they’ll want to get the shot absolutely right so you might have to do it again and again.’
When stunt doubles aren’t filming, they’re training hard. But there will always be some danger. Bobby has perfected all kinds of stunts, including been hit by a car and riding on the bonnet.
‘It’s about timing and hitting your marks, that’s crucial,’ he explains.
Thankfully he hasn’t suffered any serious injuries.
His family still live in the Portsmouth area and are pretty proud, although naturally mum Jane worries. ‘She asks me not to tell her anything if it’s too dangerous,’ laughs Bobby, who thanks his mum for his career.
‘She was fantastic, taking me to gymnastics and giving up her time so I could train. I wouldn’t have any of this if it wasn’t for her.’
Of course there are times when his job doesn’t feel much like heroics and hard knocks.
‘It can be quite funny. You’re fighting in a wig and tache and the tache starts coming off. You think ‘‘I can’t believe this is my job’’.’
The trouble is nobody else can either. ‘No one believes me. They ask what I do for a living and then it’ll be ‘ok mate, nice one’. They think it’s a wind-up.’
The problem with being a stunt double is audiences can’t tell it’s you doing the tough stuff .
But Bobby has appeared on screen in several films as an action actor.
He swapped Bond’s gun for a wand to appear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As one of those dastardly Death Eaters, he was firmly in the baddies’ camp, battling Harry Potter’s good guys in the dining hall of Hogwarts.
Bobby also appeared in brain-blasting thriller Inception, playing a bodyguard who chases and fights Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the rotating hallway.
And in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides he again played a guard, this time dragging Johnny Depp from a horse and cart.