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.

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By Josh Wilding - 4/1/2012
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."

Kevin Feige, Joss Whedon and Robert Downey Jr. Discuss MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS
The Cast Of MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS Discuss Their Characters In The Superhero Ensemble
Kevin Feige Describes THE AVENGERS As Being From Nick Fury's Point Of View
Joss Whedon, Cobie Smulders And More Comment On Maria Hill's Place In THE AVENGERS
Robert Downey Jr.: "If Steve Rogers And Tony Stark’s Relationship Doesn't Work, Then THE AVENGERS Doesn’t Work"
Joss Whedon Describes Agent Coulson's "Man Crush" On Captain America In THE AVENGERS
Robert Downey Jr. And Gwyneth Paltrow On The Return Of Pepper Potts In THE AVENGERS
Joss Whedon And Chris Evans Discuss The First Day Of Shooting THE AVENGERS
Joss Whedon And Jeremy Latcham On The Challenges Of Writing THE AVENGERS
Stellan Skarsgård And Patricia Whitcher On Bringing Back Erik Selvig For THE AVENGERS
Tom Hiddleston Talks Stunt Training And Loki's Battle With Thor On Stark Tower
Joss Whedon, Scarlett Johansson And Samuel L. Jackson Talk Black Widow
Chris Hemsworth And Kevin Feige Talk THE AVENGERS; Reveal How Thor Returns To Earth
Kevin Feige And Louis D'Esposito On S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Role In THE AVENGERS
The Cast And Crew Of THE AVENGERS Discuss Assembling On Set For The First Time


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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GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 4:06 PM
fromtheclouds - 4/1/2012, 4:09 PM
@Grif- I am, so shut up.
GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 4:12 PM

Jollem - 4/1/2012, 4:18 PM
fun fact: at one point joss whedon was quoted on set saying; "No, I'm sorry guys. Not everyone gets a fight scene with Scarlett doing the flippy thing wrapped around your head." not really, but it is april fools and all
GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 4:23 PM

GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 4:24 PM

GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 4:33 PM

Gmoney84 - 4/1/2012, 4:44 PM
@grif I'm seeing this movie for Hawkeye.
Lert - 4/1/2012, 4:48 PM
@GMONEY- im seeing this movie on DVD!
Wildaniel - 4/1/2012, 5:08 PM
Scarlet Johansson will be GREAT as Black Widow!!!

Dont forget who Joss Wheldon is! Great with female characters!

mgeoff88 - 4/1/2012, 5:43 PM
Scarlett is going to kick all kinds of ass in The Avengers.

She really stepped it up, which is going to show in the in her performance.

I'm glad they taught her new fighting techniques. I wasn't really feeling her fighting style(not practical for a field operative) in IM2. And her training with various weapons sounds interesting.
GUNSMITH - 4/1/2012, 5:52 PM
svchoudhry - 4/1/2012, 6:01 PM
She can play with my 20 pound giant stick.
TheMyth - 4/1/2012, 6:12 PM
Don't care what anyone says, her few seconds of action in IM2 has given me full confidence in her ability to perform. I like that she is being played up, it's Hawkeye I could care less about. Widow is a great representation of an enhancement-free human who is exceptionally well trained and possessing of the skills to stand with these other heroes. She could give Cap a run for his money and given all she likely knows about Stark, she could probably drop him in the suit. She's worthy.

I wonder how the potential for Carol Danvers will be affected based on Scarlet's performance and the reception of the Widow character.
TheGambitFreak - 4/1/2012, 6:43 PM
I'm sure they won't, but I do hope they'll kill her. I will squeal if that article I made awhile back was correct.
tocagado - 4/1/2012, 6:46 PM
black window
tripttwe - 4/1/2012, 9:23 PM
"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. -

This means that she'll fight random dudes with the cooch-smother, thigh-lock, take down again. God I hope she gives me two scenes of badassery. I am completely worried about this beautiful lady giving an ugly performance....
mgeoff88 - 4/1/2012, 9:53 PM
@GUNSMITH Don't get me wrong, that was impressive, made even more impressive by the fact she had no prior training in physical combat. Unless, I'm forgetting a movie?

I just wish there would've been more variation to her fighting style.
Karmatron - 4/1/2012, 9:57 PM
I have a question for all of you
Where the heck are the BOOOOOOOOOBSSSSS?
Equivocal - 4/2/2012, 12:38 AM
she's Hot, no matter what !
CherryBomb - 4/2/2012, 5:56 AM
She knows one move.

Sure, it's cool .. but come on! years and years of fight training and all she knows how to do is scissor?

tweeeeenkies3 - 4/2/2012, 6:18 AM
She should've gotten more screen time in Iron Man, so she could show she can act....
She didn't get to do the role justice, because of her smaller part.

I say, bring on the Avengers, and lets see her truly shine!

Scarlett is a great actress, gorgeous, and has a great build for such a character.
I know, some say she looks fat...I disagree. I think she has a muscularity, while still keeping a feminine look!

I can't wait!
Extricator - 4/2/2012, 8:45 AM
She is obviously working hard on this role,and putting a lot of effort in to her characters performance.That alone should settle down some of the haters.
Takeshi - 4/26/2012, 5:39 PM
At the end of the day her action scenes are jump-cut/stunt-double crazy. Sending actors to stunt-school & chronicling their "training" can for the most part be a way to get them in shape/psyched for the role and a part of marketing.

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