Stunts & Training
Stunt coordinators Andy Gill and Jonathan Eusebio were tasked with creating
multi-layered action to dovetail with Coogler's storytelling. No strangers to
Studios' unparalleled action, the pair are known to their peers and audiences
their impressive, practically executed fight and stunt choreography.
As with most Marvel Studios' productions, the actors needed to possess a
level of strength and fitness, which may be supplemented by weapons, martial
other specialized training, to meet the rigors of filming an action-adventure
One of the more unexpected surprises for Gill was how invested the cast was
approach to preparing for the stunt work and their willingness and ability to
perform everything that he and Eusebio threw at them. "For Black Panther, we
blessed to have actors that really wanted to do the stunts and this is not an
to do," comments Gill. "It has a lot of fight scenes. Chadwick, Michael, Lupita,
Letitia, Florence and the rest of our Dora team all put in 200%. We rehearsed
worked them out for almost three months before filming began."
As part of the requisite fitness boot camp, the stunt coordinators
established a routine
and then would begin layering in difficulty on every level. The same applied to
training, which would continue through filming to maintain an elevated level of
The goal for Gill and Eusebio was to ensure that they were able to satisfy
vision, if not surpass it. Spending hundreds of hours with the cast allowed them
firsthand what each of them was capable of and make sure their abilities were
to the fight action.
"Pretty much with all the cast, when you see them on camera, they're doing
the bulk of
the fight work," states Eusebio. "This allows us to design great action because
can stay in the shot longer and we're not relying on a stunt double or camera
anything. We can raise the bar a little bit more."
Boseman, whose skill set includes a comprehensive martial arts background and
level showcased in the memorable fight sequence in "Civil War," knew what he was
for but Nyong'o, Gurira, Wright and the others started from scratch.
For Boseman, it is all about keeping the moves authentic, learning the
fine-tuning it to make it his own. He offers, "It's obviously intense and lot of
sweat. But it's been cool collaborating with those guys about the style of
me, that's one of the most fun things. It's like dancing. Part of what I wanted
sure is that there is some legitimate African movement and African martial arts
to tell the story of Wakanda as a military nation as well. And they've been
open to all of that stuff. Sometimes it felt like we training for a real fight.
So that was
Jordan, who showcased his own physical chops with the rigorous boxing role in
found himself training differently but just as intensely for the role of
Months of weapons training and learning and perfecting multiple fighting styles
almost immediately. Speaking about the training, Jordan says, "The physicality
of it was
something I was really looking forward to. 'Creed' was the first project in
which I really
had to transform myself physically into something else. It took a year and a
boxing training to really sell the fact that I was a real boxer. In this film,
to be able to
transform into a special ops-type killer was a different kind of training. All
training, gun training and combat stuff was intense but a lot of fun."
Another hallmark of the Marvel Comic oeuvre that was incorporated into the
adaptation is the Dora Milaje, the cadre of strong fierce women who serve as the
personal security force to the King and royal family. These tall, statuesque
warrior women who move as one command attention wherever they go are a powerful
part of the original comic series and play a prominent role in the theatrical
Led by Danai Gurira's Okoye, the security force is comprised of eight
actresses who are
from all over the world. The filmmakers and the stunt team met with hundreds of
women, including film and television stunt players, track and field athletes,
MMA fighters to fill the ranks of the squad.
Once cast, the women trained together daily and easily fell into step as the
squad they brought to life on screen. The hours of weapons training, intense
and fitness regimens and rehearsing together created camaraderie. "We all had to
shave our heads," states Gurira, "so, of course, instantly it's a sisterhood.
It's been really
cool to find a beautiful grace in the Dora and also a ferocity."
Along with Clayton Barber, fight team coordinator, Eusebio designed the fight
and oversaw the training for the cast in advance of learning the intricate
The root would be an African fighting style but ultimately different influences
come into play, like Brazilian capoeira.
For the synchronized yet fluid fighting moves of the Dora Milaje, Eusebio
and the team a bank of basic moves
with their staffs and gradually added
on more complex techniques until
they could cycle through multiple
moves on command.
Says Gurira of the experience, "It was
really beautiful the way the Dora Milaje have a way of fighting that was
supposed to be
inspired a little bit by moving as one, almost sometimes in a way that is almost
There were a lot of very interesting formations that we created for when the
work together to take down somebody.
Elaborating, she adds, "There are very specific things. When my character
command, she does something with her staff. We use staffs, which are like
very, very sophisticated spears made out of our special, vibranium. We're able
to do a
lot with them. You look at the staff and think it is just a stick. No, it's not
just a stick,
which you'll learn shortly if you try and mess with it. We were able to find a
grace in these women and also a ferocity, and I think that's a really great
Nyong'o, too, joined her fellow cast in training for her role of the
who often works alone and has to fend for herself no matter the circumstance.
Nyong'o, preparing for this role was wholly different than anything she's ever
before for a film role, and she loved every minute of it.
Says Nyong'o, "The stunt training was intense, to say the least. But as I got
kicked, I felt more connected to Nakia's warrior spirit. She is a woman who has
the world, and so her fighting style is informed by her experiences in the
described her style as 'street,' which is in contrast to the Dora Milaje who
have a way
more graceful, more traditional style of fighting. She is a 'by any means
of gal! So there was judo, jiu-jitsu, Filipino martial arts, muay Thai and a bit
thrown in there."
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