Actors who are willing to do their own stunts get a certain level of street cred. They’re putting a little more skin in the game — sometimes literally — rather than sitting back while a stunt double does the heavy lifting for a dramatic scene.
That’s definitely true of Taylor Kinney, who plays Lieutenant Kelly Severide on NBC’s hit show Chicago Fire. Kinney, who has been with the show since its debut in 2012, has earned the respect and admiration of fans and fellow castmates alike for taking on several stunts over the years.
According to co-star Miranda Rae Mayo, that includes being willing to put himself at the mercy of Chicago’s brutal winter elements to get the right shot.
Taylor Kinney does a lot of his own stunts on the show
Acting in 10 seasons of any drama will have its share of ups and downs, but Kinney has added to the excitement over the years by acting in many of his own stunts while on Chicago Fire. In fact, he’s been quoted saying he’ll do “as much as NBC insurance cuts me off at.”
Kinney got his scuba certification in real life so that he could do his own diving for shots that needed it for rescues with Squad 3. Chicago Fire’s stunt coordinator Rick Le Fevour said he’s “really lucky” to have actors like Kinney to work with.
“We have some very good athletes, including Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer. Everyone is gung-ho, and they’ve been trained well in the fire academy,” Le Fevour told TV Insider. “They’re confident but not overconfident where they would get hurt.”
Miranda Rae Mayo recalled one episode where Kinney floated in the Chicago River in February
Over the years, Kinney has rappelled from skyscrapers and jumped into countless burning buildings to save victims of fires on the show. According to Mayo, he’s also braved the frigid water during the coldest part of the year in Chicago.
The show films on location in the Windy City and has an average temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit in February. As luck would have it, shooting for Season 6 that year also called for Kinney to be rescued by Mayo’s character, Stella Kidd. But not from a toasty building in flames, mind you — from the murky Chicago River.
Episode 12 from that season, “The F is For,” starts with Casey (Spencer) and Severide floating in the river after jumping in to avoid a gas explosion, per a recap from FanSided. Casey quickly surfaces and is unscathed, but Severide gets knocked on the head and is floating unconscious in the river before Kidd can rappel down and save him.
Mayo did her own stunt work as Kidd for that episode as well, she told fans in a promo video for NBC. However, she gave major credit to Kinney for doing the bulk of the dirty work for that, given the temps and that he was floating in 60 pounds of gear in the frigid waters. “Which, like, blessings,” Mayo said, shaking her head. “Taylor was in the Chicago River in February. Oof.”
Kinney and Mayo might have more cause for stunts when Season 11 premieres
Kinney, 41, and Mayo, 32, might have more reasons for their own stunts when Season 11 of Chicago Fire returns this fall. NBC has yet to release individual sneak peeks of its three Chicago-based shows, but the network did release one promo that gives some glimpses into where we might find fan-favorite characters from Fire, P.D., and Med.
In the Season 10 finale, Stellaride became an even more permanent fixture on the show. Severide and Kidd finally tied the knot in a picture-perfect setting on a boat on the Chicago River. However, their wedded bliss is already facing trouble when the ending makes it clear the newlyweds are followed to Severide’s cabin.
It remains to be seen whether the duo will evade the shotgun-toting intruders. Or perhaps, in true Severide fashion, Kinney will sign up for throwing a few punches in a fight scene. Fans will find out when Chicago Fire returns to NBC Wednesday, September 21 at 9 p.m. EST.