Director Cate Shortland reveals how the aerial fight sequence at the finale of Black Widow was shot ahead of the film’s release on July 9.
Director Cate Shortland revealed how the epic finale of Black Widow was shot. The movie is the first standalone movie for the Marvel superhero played by Scarlett Johansson following her appearances in several MCU movies since The Avengers in 2012. Black Widow is the first blockbuster outing for Shortland, whose previous films include European indie movies Somersault and Berlin Syndrome, and is the debut Marvel appearance of Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova.
The finale of Black Widow is an epic freefall battle in the sky shown briefly in the movie’s trailer. It’s the sort of sequence that begs to be experienced in a movie theater, explaining why Disney delayed it from its original 2020 release to July 9, when it will open in theaters and Disney+ Premier Access. The movie is the first feature Marvel release post-pandemic, telling how Natasha Romanoff became Black Widow and will connect to the broader MCU, including the upcoming Hawkeye original series due for release on Disney+ in the fall with Pugh returning as Belova.
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In an interview with Deadline, Shortland revealed how that aerial fight scene was conceived and shot. She says that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige showed her a still from a Black Widow comic featuring the character jumping out of an apartment which inspired the sequence. Johansson and Pugh were suspended in the air by wires against a background of visual effects created by Geoff Baumann, who also cut the actors seamlessly with stunt doubles to bring the idea to life. Read Shortland’s full description below:
That came straight from Kevin [Feige], because he gave us a frame from a comic book, very early on, of Natasha jumping from an apartment building. From there we just built, built, built until it made sense and it felt like it was integral to the story. We explored all different ways of doing it, and I think what we talked about was just creating something so beautiful, and something that people hadn’t seen before, and that would sweep them up …
It was wires and we’d put the actors in an arm. Then we could put Scarlett and Florence together, because we could make them move and jump Scarlett from piece to piece. Geoff Baumann, who is our visual effects supervisor, would create beautiful balletics with visual effects, but then we also used stunt people jumping out of planes. We did that for a week. We’d get these messy movements, because the stunt people were finding each other in the air, and I think that’s what makes it feel lovely is you’ve got real humanity amongst the visual effects.
The past year hasn’t been a complete drought of Marvel content – Disney+ original series WandaVison, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki have proved immensely popular with fans. But Shortland knows these movies are best experienced on the biggest screen possible, and her description of Black Widow‘s finale certainly tantalizes an experience unlike anything attempted by the MCU before. And with the rest of Phase Four on the way later this year, it should be an indicator of things to come, even if Johansson won’t be in it.
Johansson’s Black Widow character was last seen sacrificing herself in the battle against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, so it remains to be seen if this will be her final outing as Natasha Romanoff. Shortland, however, has said she has ambition and material to develop a sequel to Black Widow, set after the events of Captain America: Civil War in the MCU timeline. The finale of the new Marvel movie sounds like it will be bringing the franchise back to theaters with a bang as Feige pushes the MCU in bigger and bolder directions.
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
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