Scarlett Johansson And More Discuss Training For Black Widow's Fight Scenes
Fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio, stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell and Scarlett Johansson talk revealingly about the preparation required for Black Widow's intense fight scene in The Avengers. Joss Whedon also weighs in on the importance of the cast doing their own stunts.
There's no getting around the fact that The Avengers would require its stars to put in a lot of work when it comes to action, and there was one cast member in particular who was called upon to train in various forms of fighting styles. That was Scarlett Johansson, who reveals that she found her brief action scenes in Iron Man 2 a great help in getting ready for a larger role in The Avengers. "Stunts and fights are a huge part of my work on this film and being able to have a fighting style that audiences remember from ‘Iron Man 2’ is awesome. Jonathan Eusebio created and choreographed the style and look of the movements and Heidi Moneymaker, my stunt double, helped me learn them. What they both did for me is so important because it is just as much a creation of the character as whatever dramatic work I put into the job."
Fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio adds, "We wanted to make Black Widow very fluid and acrobatic. Wushu, a Chinese fighting style, works well for her body mechanics. It’s very graceful but requires a lot of strength and flexibility. You are also going to see Black Widow executing more sacrifice throws and using a variety of weapons. The game has changed and so has her skill set. She had to learn entirely new things and for her to deal with the various weapons like the ones we gave her was very difficult. She trained very hard and pulled off great performances on game day."
Unsurprisingly, Johansson found it incredibly difficult to learn these new fighting techniques. "We definitely embraced the Wushu a lot and there’s definitely more weaponry. It was a bit complicated because I could pick up all the hand- to-hand movements pretty well, but then he would say, ‘Oh yeah, here’s this giant staff you have to be holding while your doing the movements.’ So I am like, ‘Wait a minute, I had all those movements down and now I’m fighting with a 20 lb. giant stick?’ I have to be honest, the first time I saw what they had in mind I was like, ‘I’m never going to be able to learn this.’ So it’s just a lot of failures until you get it right, but boy do those failures hurt sometimes!"
"Scarlett did an amazing amount of training in preparation as well as during production," says stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell. "She came to the stunt gym on a regular basis and really worked hard with Heidi and Jonathan to learn all of the new moves and fighting techniques. She had a great base from what she had learned on ‘Iron Man 2,’ so we were able to hit the ground running and teach her much more complex moves and sequences and add weaponry into the mix."
For director Joss Whedon it was vital that the audience can see that it is the actors who are performing their own stunts, making the experience of watching the film as convincing as possible. "The more I can show my actors’ faces during action sequences, the more audiences will be invested and root for our heroes. The minute you see a shot that is obviously not your actor is the moment audiences disconnect from a scene. I was very fortunate that we had an amazing stunt team and that so many of our actors worked their butts off in preparing for the film and stayed dedicated to putting the time in at the stunt gym when we were shooting. I really think they are all going to be very happy when they see those scenes cut together."
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Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Ramanoff/Black Widow
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
RELEASE DATE: April 26th, 2012. (UK) May 4th, 2012. (US)
Source: Walt Disney Pictures UK
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