Being James Bond apparently gets you more than beautiful women and cool gadgets as Daniel Craig has recently found out. While filming Quantum of Solace, Craig reportedly lost part of a finger and severely bruised some ribs. In Casino Royale, the previous Bond movie Craig acted in, it was also reported that Craig lost a few teeth in a fight scene. Having an actor, especially a star actor, get injured and be unable to act and in turn having to delay the film can cost thousands of dollars, but many fans and critics agree that noticing a stunt double in a movie can ruin the entire atmosphere.
It is commonly accepted that most big name actors have stunt doubles, but there are a few like Craig who prefer to do their own stunts. Possibly the most famous is Jackie Chan. He holds the Guinness World Record for most stunts by a living actor, but in the process has hurt his back and broken multiple bones.
Tom Cruise is another actor who does most of his own stunts in movies like Mission Impossible and The Minority Report. Obviously these actors are not risking their lives, but they are willing to take the bruises and bumps in order to make their films more realistic and enjoyable for their audiences.
This is great for fans, but for film producers and insurance companies, actors who perform their own stunts are simply a headache. If an actor is seriously injured in a stunt, the production company would have a huge liability on their hands. For this reason, many actors who would prefer to do their own stunts are encouraged not to. The risk outweighs the reward for production companies and insurance companies. Having a stunt man get critically injured can save these companies millions of dollars as opposed to having the star get injured.
Actors and actresses do not increase their marketability by performing their own stunts. There is not even an Academy Award for Best Stunt, yet the fact that many actors do perform their own stunts speaks to the idea that some stars are truly motivated by the art and not just money.
Jackie Chan was deemed uninsurable, but he still gets huge parts in movies because it endears an actor or actress to their fans when they perform their own stunts. Not every actor or actress should seek to do their own stunts, but it does make their movies more realistic and entertaining.