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As a young girl, Melissa moved with her family from England to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she grew up watching admittedly far too much television-particularly shows like Charlie’s Angels and The Bionic Woman, which were action packed with strong, skillful female leads.
With two physically active older brothers, Melissa was drawn to pursue an array of competitive sports ranging from BMX racing and skateboarding to soccer and martial arts. At the age of eight, Melissa was taken by her father to see a live stunt show-an experience that awakened in her the desire to become a stunt woman.
As a resourceful adolescent determined to become a stunt performer and director, she started frequenting the sets of any TV show or film being shot in the Vancouver area, regardless of the time of day or the weather. She would simply show up and offer to help the stunt team, just to be there, watch, and learn.
Melissa’s first break as a stunt coordinator came in 1993. Legendary second unit director and stunt coordinator Glen Randall, Jr. (E.T., Star Wars, Zorro, Return of the Jedi, Romancing the Stone, The Fugitive, and three Indiana Jones films), took her under his wing and chose her to coordinate the stunts for Time Cop for Universal. That set her on the path to become the first successful female stunt coordinator and second unit director for feature films.
Since then, she has stunt coordinated many films and TV series: Terminator Genysis, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Interview, X-Men 2 & 3, The Last Samurai, Double Jeopardy, Along Came a Spider, James Cameron’s Dark Angel, Mission to Mars, Eragon, The Bionic Woman, The X-Files, J. J. Abrams Fringe, Alcatraz, and Vampire Diaries.
In 2001 Melissa began working and training with Nick Powell, action director/ fight choreographer of Braveheart, Gladiator, and The Bourn Identity. With her martial arts background, working with Nick helped her become one of the only female fight choreographers in the business.
For over two decades Melissa has, literally risked life and limb for her dream. “If you don’t push your limits,” she said, “you will never find your boundaries or reach your ultimate potential.” During that time, she discovered new ways to design and shoot innovative creative action, and that has become Melissa’s specialty.
Melissa began directing 2nd Unit and joined the Directors Guild of America in 2003 for a Warner Brothers feature, New York Minute. In 2008, she was invited to join AMPAS, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, making her the only woman in her field ever to be invited into the prestigious association of film makers and Academy Award winners.IMDBResumeHeadShot