Fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio leads MTV News through the movie’s biggest battles.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
As you’re watching “The Avengers” on the big screen, it’s easy to forget that the heroes you see fighting the alien invaders are actually paid actors and that those actors learned their moves not from a secret government agency like S.H.I.E.L.D., but from fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio.
Eusebio spoke with MTV News in the lead-up to Marvel’s ultimate crossover to walk us through each key fight scene.
There are some minor spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen “The Avengers” yet, consider yourself warned.
Black Widow in Chair
“Joss [Whedon] already had in his head how he wants the fight to look and how he thinks she would get out of this situation. He gave us notes on what he wants, and we design the fight around those notes. We choreograph it. We show it to him. There are more notes, and we just keep changing it until he’s 100 percent happy.
“The chair makes it interesting. You need some kind of gimmick to make the fight different and to give it some interesting story point. Her being strapped to a chair and being interrogated, we already have the premise set out for us. We just have to be inventive on how to get her out.
“The hardest part is that it’s very hard to be mobile, even moving around fighting with that thing strapped to your back. There are a lot of things that have to go along with it. We have to find the right chair at the right height, so that we can stand with it, that we can move around with it.”
Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America
“With those kinds of fights that involve a lot of digital effects, we have the base things outlined. When they’re actually interacting with each other, that’s our job with the stunt people. When Iron Man and Thor are throwing each other around up in the air, there’s kind of a handoff from practical people to computer-generated people. Each department has to work together to make it seamless.
“What makes it interesting is all of them there together; you’re trying to do your best to stay true to what people identify as their characteristics. There’s no one character that I find more fascinating. What’s interesting is the dynamic between five or six people and keeping them different enough to make it fresh.”
Hawkeye vs. Black Widow
“The thing about these two characters is that they’re not superhuman in the sense that the other superheroes are, so you just have these two agents with vast skill sets. For Jeremy [Renner] and Scarlett [Johansson], they had to really train hard because they’re not just fighting aliens or computer-generated guys; they’re fighting each other also. A lot of their training involved them working out together quite a bit.
“We cover a mix of different martial arts, but more practical martial arts, a mix of karate, jujitsu, judo, Pilipino martial arts, muay Thai boxing. It’s a bunch of different elements of a bunch of practical martial arts.”
Hulk vs. Thor
“The Hulk is completely computer-generated, but Chris Hemsworth had to actually interact with a person during that whole skirmish. We had a stunt double for the Hulk, so Chris was interacting with him the whole time you see the Hulk onscreen. The Hulk’s also three or four feet taller than Thor is, so visual effects had to keep reminding us, ‘This is where the Hulk’s head is. This is how long the Hulk’s reach is.’ We had to work side-by-side with them for that whole sequence.”
The Big Finale
“We had a team of 20 or so stunt men for the whole run of the movie. Not only did we have doubles for all the actors, but for Loki’s army, we had a whole crop of stunt men, 10 to 12 core guys. All we did is choreograph huge action pieces for the whole last sequence. When that sequence actually came up, we already had really good pieces choreographed and rehearsed with most of the actors and the stunt people.
“It was really good that the actors trained really hard. There were some days that were tough and we had to make stuff up on the spot, and not just individual one-on-one type pieces. It would be pieces where it’s eight-on-one, and the actors would pick it up on the spot, that day. I was pretty proud of the fact that they could adapt to changes on the spot. There’s a Thor-Captain America team-up in the street, that one we pieced together pretty quick the day before we were going to shoot it. I think that turned out really good.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Marvel’s The Avengers.”