Daredevil director discusses massive prison fight scene

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Alex Garcia Lopez has been chatting about his work on Daredevil season 3, which included shooting the epic prison-set fight scene.

The scene, where Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock finds himself trapped in a prison with a lot of people on the Kingpin payroll, comes quite early on in the season and it runs for an epic 11-minutes. 50 stunt people were involved, and the whole thing was shot in one take.

Speaking to Collider, Lopez touched on the pre-planning that went into the scene:

“[Me[ and [Gary Ray Stearns], our stunt coordinator and his team, and Christopher LaVasseur the cinematographer, the three of us we went out there, the whole morning, just walking through the whole space. Trying to come up with some sort of plan, an idea of the journey, having in mind that there would be some Texas switches involved for Charlie and [stunt double Chris Brewster], and also for the camera and sound man. So the first big thing for the three main components—stunt coordinator and the camera department, who in many ways acted like stuntmen themselves—for them to see if it was logistically doable. We walked away after that three, four hours brainstorm session feeling really confident.”

The stunt team then went through some rehearsals and even shot practise runs on an iPhone, leading up to the day itself. Then, on the day, this is how Lopez describes what happened:

“[We] started very early, around 6 AM, and funny enough the first take we did we went through the whole thing. He got into the taxi and I called “cut”. Now, there were some little hiccups here and there, but we got it in the can. I think that gave a huge boost of confidence to everyone. Then, typical fashion, the next three or four takes were massive failures. We bumped the camera at the beginning. They were all false starts. Pretty much in the same area, that first office scene which is a very tricky stunt coordination. There are two Texas switches there, there’s a lot of fighting. All it takes is one misstep, boom, you hit the camera, or you just miss a hit and that’s it. You have to start again. So slowly after three or four false takes, that confidence we had after the first take started to fade away and we were on like take five and suddenly everyone was like, “Oh my God, we’re approaching the lunch break.” Then we did this sixth take and that was great. It worked, the whole thing felt fantastic. We cut to lunch and there were some little tweaks that me and Charlie wanted to do, and also the actor that was playing the Albanian gang member, just little thing we wanted to perfect more on a purely performance, character level. So we said, “Let’s go one more. We can do this now.” We did it, and that was the final take. So I think it was take seven that ended up in the show.”

The full Collider interview, which is well worth a read, can be found at this link.

Daredevil season 3 is out now.