'Trial & Error' Stunt Double Turns John Lithgow Into an 8-Wheeled Roller-Skating Demon

John Russell
Evans Vestal Ward/NBC

One of the many quirks of Trial & Error’s Larry Henderson (John Lithgow) is an enthusiasm for something called “rollercizing.” The eccentric poet accused of murdering his wife on the NBC comedy (Tuesdays, 9/8c) may be devoted to this oddball fitness regime, but Lithgow never actually donned skates on set. That task fell to stunt double Arthur Davis, who explains how he got the gig.

Trial & Error - Arthur Davis, meet the crew

Davis

How did you get started as a stunt double? Actually, this is my very first stunt double job. I’m an acrobatic gymnast. I toured with Cirque du Soleil for many years. I’ve been doing more physical acting. So, when I got this call asking, “Can you roller-skate?” I said, “Yeah, I love to roller-skate!”

John Lithgow on His Roller-Skating (and Possibly Murderous) Poet in the Comedy 'Trial & Error'

John Lithgow on His Roller-Skating (and Possibly Murderous) Poet in the Comedy 'Trial & Error'

Riding high on his scene-stealing triumph in 'The Crown,' Lithgow returns to NBC (after 16 years!) with a brand-new comedy.

Do a lot of acrobats do stunt work for film and TV? A lot of stunt doubles have a background in gymnastics, so that’s the fundamental basis of it. I don’t know any from my specific discipline, which is working with other people, throwing them around and balancing them and whatnot. But most stunt doubles are either gymnasts, dancers or cheerleaders. It’s definitely uncommon for somebody as tall as me! [Davis is almost 6'5".]

Did you spend much time with John Lithgow? I was able to spend a good amount of time with him, which was such a treat. He was a good sport. He [had] such a good sense of humor. We had to put him in this trolley situation to mimic the roller-skating [for close-ups] and he loved it. He’s like, “Put me in there! Let’s do it again!”

Have you been asked to roller-skate for other things since? I wouldn’t mind doing it again. I had a great time. I just realized, “Oh my gosh, I’m actually kind of good at this.”

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