Assistant second director and stunt coordinator Guillermo Grispo, discusses his time filming on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for Los Andes. Many fun tidbits of the filming of the movie are found in the interview.
How was it to prepare the fights between Batman and Superman?
I was fascinated. I’m telling you, for me, I like both of the characters, but Batman I really love. In 2007 I almost worked on the second part of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, but ultimately questions about the contract were not resolved and it all fell apart [se me cayo el mundo is idiomatic]. Luckily, afterwards Zack brought Batman into this project, making it an origin of the Justice League. Which means being in charge of the entire franchise and all the sequels that will be Zack’s next projects.
And what role did you have in the film?
I prepared choreography for the stunt coordinator and second unit director, Damon Caro, who Zack has work with for years. I worked with them on 300, Sucker Punch and the first Superman Man of Steel, and in truth, those movies were my film school. To me, Zack is the biggest name in action films, and he is an expert, but at the same time he gives free reign for designing the fights and doing the editing. Also, I’m tasked [not a great word] with operating the camera for the action shot tests, doing the choreography, and afterwards all of the image composition for these kinds of sample action scenes.
What can you tell us the story?
Look, at Warner Bros., they are very strict, so I can’t say much, but it’s no surprise if I say Batman and Superman come face-to-face in the movie. It’s one of the most important sequences and I was actively involved in the design of the fight: the exchange of punches and the physical movement were put together with my partner Ryan Watson.There’s a thought that Batman has no chance, that the other [Superman] will squash him like a bug. But when you see the movie, and how it all comes out, there’s a very intelligent explanation as to why they would have a firsthand confrontation though it seems to be totally to Batman’s disadvantage.
Sounds entertaining designing fights between superheroes…
Of course! Just imagine, it was like making dulce de leche (a similar thing to chocolate here in Argentina). Now Batman it’s going to fight the way I’ve always dreamed seeing him fight… he’s a character so prepared in martial arts that you can do a lot of things with him, but filmmakers usually don’t go all the way with it. Even in the last Nolan movies the action scenes aren’t very good from a technical, martial arts point of view to things like choreography, filming, bad camera movements…
But hey, don’t get me wrong, Nolan is great, I would kiss his shoes. He makes fascinating stories, but I think that he did not pay too much attention to the fights. Those are the kind of details that Zack, being so physical himself, loves preparing. I think there’s going to be a big difference when you see these Batman fights in comparison to the previous ones.
What do you have to be careful about when preparing these scenes?
A lot of things… You can come and say “well, now I want to hit against that window and I want to break it” and you’re told “No, no, stop!”, because you can’t turn the camera here or there because of the lighting, or because there isn’t a digital extension prepared for a certain point.
For example, imagine a fight in Gotham exteriors: I say “well, on this scene I want an angle looking upwards when he’s kicking”, and I’m told “no, look, if you look upwards that take will cost the production $80,000 more because we will have to add the digital extension from the buildings to the clouds, so try something else because is cheaper” (laughs).
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