Finding a place to film Wonder Woman 1984‘s big fight scene was only part of the challenge. Once everything was in place, Jenkins, Gadot, and Kristen Wiig, the SNL alum who plays Cheetah, still had to film the thing.
“Patty really made a point about wanting to have a minimum amount of CGI in our movies,” Gadot shared. “So, most of the stuff that you’re going to see is real people doing the real thing.”
With digital stunt-people largely a no-go, Jenkins and her team enlisted Cirque du Soleil performers to help block out the scene, and to show the performers how some of the more elaborate stunts would work. Then, Gadot, Wiig, and their stunt doubles had to get in shape, suit up, and perform the scene themselves.
“Whether it’s us or the stunt people, it’s real people. So, it took much longer. You have to prep and rehearse much longer,” Gadot admitted, although she shared that she believes the effort paid off. “When you see it in the movie, you can just tell that it’s the real deal. You can see by the facial expressions that it’s real. You can see the weight and the movement and the speed,” she noted.
Still, all the physical stunts don’t mean anything if the emotional core of the fight doesn’t resonate. “However they would fight, it would be completely different. They’re friends, right? Or, at least they have this friendship in the past,” Jenkins said. “It’s not about punching in the face. They’re both trying to literally get the other one under control.”
Figuring out how all the pieces fit together was extremely difficult, but Jenkins sounds like she enjoyed the challenge. “Narratively, it was fascinating, and then how it would work spatially was fascinating, and then executing it was long and laborious and wild, but also exciting because you would see the moves and [think], ‘Whoa, that’s so awesome,'” she said. Gadot shared similar thoughts: “It’s the hardest movie I’ve ever shot by far, but it was worth it.
Wonder Woman 1984 is out now in select theaters, and will be available to stream on HBO Max through January 24, 2021.