Meet CC Ice, The Missouri Native Making ‘WandaVision’ Stunts Possible
This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.
For the past four years, CC Ice has been helping Elizabeth Olsen portray the Marvel superhero Wanda Maximoff, assisting the actress with everything from flying to fight scenes as her stunt double. That work culminated in the January 2021 premiere of the Disney+ “WandaVision” series, which focuses on Wanda’s corner of the Marvel universe.
And for Ice, who grew up in Barnhart, Missouri, it’s been a thrill watching fans devour a show starring the character she’s spent years developing.
“It’s an amazing character that Lizzie [Olsen] has brought to life on so many levels,” Ice told St. Louis on the Air. “It’s an honor to watch her work on set and bring this character to life, and it’s a true honor to be a little bit of that for the stunt side of things.
“And I’m over the moon at the fact that everyone seems to really love ‘WandaVision,’ because we worked really hard on that, all of us together. So we’re really excited that it’s well received.”
Bringing a superhero show to fruition amid the COVID-19 crisis was no easy feat. Last spring, COVID-19 shut down the production for months.
“We were wrapping up in Atlanta, Georgia, and had a small break to then fly to L.A. and finish the ending sequence,” Ice recalled. “And during that time the entire system shut down, so we never did come back until late August, early September. And there was no guarantee that that was going to happen … it was so unknown.”
When work on the show did resume, the ongoing pandemic brought further challenges — frequent COVID-19 testing, masking and use of face shields near actors. But Ice was impressed with the system put in place.
“There’s almost triple protection to make sure everyone is safe while they’re on set, so we’re very thankful for that, because it allowed us to move forward and do our job but do it in a safe way and not compromise anyone’s health.”
On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Ice described how COVID-19 concerns have impacted the nature of stunt work itself, and discussed her journey from the St. Louis region into the Marvel universe.
“In general on film sets now … a lot of fight sequences that had full contact are now very changed,” Ice said of what she’s observed over the past year.
“And they have distance involved, and they have other stunts involved — not on every set obviously, you can’t do that with every character — but a lot of sequences in the superhero universe might have changed on a lot of other sets. … It is a new hurdle, it’s a very fascinating hurdle, to think of new ways to be a superhero that include all the things that we have to include for safety now as well.”
For Ice, the challenge is not just performing physical feats, but doing them as Olsen would do them in character.
“I take very seriously the respect to give towards her and her character,” Ice said. “So therefore, when I come to be a part of it, it’s not me, it’s not my character that I’m making; it’s her character. So I try to learn to walk like her, how to perform like her, with my own special twist on it with the action bits, [but] I’m never trying to just inject my own thoughts or feelings about it.”
Ice said she has also grappled with recalling all parts of the biography for characters in Marvel’s multi-layered universe, and staying true to the character’s existing biography.
“You have to remember what they’ve come from, where they’ve come from, and to include it,” Ice said. “So it becomes very difficult to make sure you’re including all of that and then making a new piece with it.”
Ice credited her Missouri upbringing for setting her on the path to Hollywood and for keeping her pushing forward in the field she loves.
“I have 12 brothers and sisters, and they’re all amazing and incredible, and my mother and my father, and all my siblings and parents, I credit them [for] having the strength and the courage to be an individual and to go out and explore, because they always gave me that encouragement,” the Herculaneum High School alumna said.
Early adventuring with her brothers proved critical training.
“I was testing stunts when I was little — I just didn’t know what it was called,” she said with a laugh.
As a teenager, Ice began working as a dancer and a magician’s assistant in St. Louis and Branson, Missouri, which taught her stunt-related skills as well as confidence in front of an audience. From there, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in acting, dance and musical theater, and began exploring work in film, TV and commercials.
“But then I always wanted that action — I always wanted the physical nature that I saw in these action movies growing up,” Ice said.
She started training and making connections in the world of stunt work and saving money. Then she took the plunge, moving to Los Angeles.
“I got there [in] 2007 — just in time for the writers strike,” Ice said. “And so everything was shut down, and I did any job that I could.”
Even though she didn’t immediately find the career she was hoping for, she met people who taught her important lessons and helped her meet other people in the industry she wanted to break into.
“My first professional stunt job was actually in Atlanta, Georgia. … So it was an incredible, long journey of many years to get there, but I never gave up,” Ice said. “And also, I never forgot where I came from, because everything that I learned from growing up in Missouri, growing up in Barnhart, and all the people that were there … they imbued in me this essence of hard work, strength and just never giving up on your dreams.”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.