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"Aquaman" Battle Scenes – Stuntman explains the fight of Nicole Kidman



You may not know Jon Valera, but you've certainly seen a fight with Jon Valera. The stunt coordinator and his company 87Eleven Action Design have choreographed combat scenes for Deadpool, John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and the recently released and pleasingly ridiculous Aquaman. The latter presented the experienced stuntman with new challenges: How do you film a combat scene underwater? How is Nicole Kidman ready in 30 minutes? Valera spent a few minutes rehearsing for the Harley Quinn spinoff film Birds of Prey to show us how he accomplished all of this.

Mild spoiler for fight scenes below.

Was there a scene in Aquaman that was particularly challenging for stunt choreographies?

The Coliseum fight. There was only a section of this scene that was done without a cable or a tuning fork.

Sorry, a tuning fork?

The tuning fork is like a pitchfork. There are two tubes that have been welded together, they are U-shaped, and the actors and stunt doubles are in harnesses that are attached to the sides of the fork from their hips so they can pivot. The tuning forks will be on TV cameras. So you're driven around on the blue screen so you can rotate, swivel, lean forward, and sit back. It's easier for them to hang than wires, because you can push them in any direction. Usually, cables are made when you fly or when a strong reaction occurs. But it's always a challenge to fight in cables. It's not a beat or two. They had to do it for at least a few strokes. Director James Wan even wanted us to coordinate where one person is upside down and the other person is on the right.

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<p class= Okay, that sounds really challenging.

Yeah, we never did that before, it took months when the actors were training We did not just Working on choreography and technique, we just had to get used to being in the fork, because being busy with harnesses and cables is not the most comfortable feeling.

After all this and these months of training and coordination How long is the scene?

I think that came out about two minutes, maybe a little less.

Nicole Kidman also has a pretty intense fighting scene at the beginning.

This one scene with Nicole Kidman in the house at the beginning James Wan wanted to create a real one-shot scene, there were no stitches or ble-ends that put all the cuts together, we filmed it with the Spidercam, a camera on a computer system, which is computer controlled. So we had to tune the fight to the movements of the camera.

How do you prepare for a fight scene?

She did not have much time with us because of her schedule. Like a real professional she immediately got into the specific choreography. That's what we often do with the A-list actors. They have so many things on their plates, and we only get them for 20 or 30 minutes. We are not the only department that reaches her.

So she comes in and trains with me and the guys and it's "Okay, that's the choreography. We have to teach her specifically. "As a choreographer, I'd like to get the actors or stuntmen together at least a few weeks or a month in advance so I can train them and see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and that helps me build the choreography. And if the director wishes for certain things and the actor is weak, you have time to build it for the actor. But this, no. We knew that we got Nicole Kidman. We had to choreograph the fight. She had a double for the flips and everything, but we had to choreograph and get it jailed and approved by James Wan. And after it was approved, we just spent this choreography with Nicole.

And she could handle it.

Yes. It is difficult. The trident is not a normal weapon everyone walks around with. Even for [star] Jason [Momoa]. He had to train for months with the staff and the trident. I did all sorts of martial arts weapons and everything, but even for me I had to practice the trident. I had to train the stunt guys. I had to be so ahead of the game.

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Warner Bros.

How long did you train yourself with the trident until you felt comfortable training and restoring the rest of the team Do you consult with experts?

Due to our company 87Eleven Action Design, we have a lot of guys with whom we train in the gym in our company, which brings a lot of different styles and experiences to the table. Training with the staff came back. They learn how the tridents block and how they are hit, we had to know how the trident works, you have to hit it on the edge as if it were an ax. [19659007] How heavy were they?

The hero tridents They were heavy, those are the ones that will end up behind a glass case. I really attacked them hard.

They train actors and stuntmen in a variety of different styles for a variety of versc different projects. How do you train yourself? What is your regime?

I do a lot of cross-training, with boxing, kickboxing and judo. Jujutsu I like to mix it. I do not always try to stick to a style. The more you are interested in other styles, the better it will help you as a choreographer.

Was there a main style that emerged in Aquaman ?

What I've done with James Wan, I've put together a list or video reference of many projects that affect me and their projects styles. And I will set character by character – there is the style of Aquaman, this is the style of Mera. Although they use the same weapon, Aquaman [Momoa] and Orm [Patrick Wilson] had different styles.

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Amber Heartd, directors James Wan, Jason Momoa, and Willem Dafoe on the set of "Aquaman."

Warner Bros / Jasin Boland [19659034] How did the underwater element change the way you choreographed those fighting scenes?

We'd have to think, okay, that's underwater, these guys do not have the resistance that people have underwater – they can move like that Man over water can, but when Aquaman is hit naturally, he is lifted or hovering He does not go down So I go with my leg and lift my leg, it stops When its feet leave the ground, it will float, it was difficult, but I had a great wire team in as the filming location for Aquaman

th was the process from the initial blockage to filming?

For that I was eight months in Australia, I came soon Thor: Ragnorak came home for a month and then returned to Australia to work on Aquaman.

They have coordinated everything from Thor: Ragnorak to Creed II. I s There was a signature for a fighting scene by Jon Valera?

I do not know if there is a real signature style. I try to make hybrids. But I appreciate performance. I make sure that not only the actors, but also the stunt people show their performance. I like contact hits. I want either the stuntman or the actor to take effect. You have to take the punch. When I did Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, I had all the guys put on the gloves and beat Charlize. Not hard. But you will be hit. You are thrown against a wall. You are thrown to the ground. You need to train your body to take some of that effect. Part of their training was, "Okay, the boys are going to start knocking you with their gloves so you'll get used to making a serve." And she was all for it.


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