With our own reviewer calling Netflix‘s “Daredevil” an “awesome achievement,” we’ve joined the chorus of those pleasantly surprised by Marvel‘s latest offering. And as you might imagine, across thirteen episodes there are plenty of opportunities to try new things, and that’s just what the show has done with a five-and-a-half minute fight sequence that was completed in a single long take. That’s right, there were no cuts. And not surprisingly, it’s got everyone talking. Doing the press rounds, the show’s creatives have weighed in on what went into making the scene.
“…when I first came onto the show, when I took over for Drew Goddard, who had to leave to do the ‘Sinister Six‘ movie, the first two episodes were written,” showrunner Steve DeKnight told Slashfilm. “So I got to the end of reading that Episode 2 thing and, you know, it was described as this long, continuous fight in a hallway. And I thought oh that’s great. I don’t know how the hell we’ll ever be able to do it, but that’s great. So the next key was our Stunt Coordinator and we hired Philip Silvera. If you remember the elevator sequence from ‘Winter Soldier,’ he’s actually one of the guys in that sequence, which I didn’t know until much later. But he had worked with Marvel before. And he gave us a great test reel for the fight in the Episode 1. He put together a little test and he said, that’s exactly it. I had always approached it this way as I wanted this world to be very grounded.”
And for Charlie Cox, who plays the masked hero, it was certainly a memorable shoot. “It was incredible… We dedicated our whole day to it,” he explained. “The first half of the day was just the camera movements. And then we got into, as you know it’s one take, so we had to get everything right. Each attempt that we had at it. And it’s incredibly tricky because it’s not like a long tracking shot with two people speaking, it’s a long tracking shot with people punching. And if one punch doesn’t land, it no longer works. It ceases to work as a scene. So I think we did it 12 times. I think three of them we made it all the way through to the end. And one of them was the one in the show, which is kind of almost flawless. I mean, it’s very hard to pick holes in that.”
Over at The Observer, Philip Silvera expands on just how difficult the sequence was to put together, given that movies often dedicate entire weeks to complicated fight scenes. “Well it was tight, because yeah a good amount of planning had to go into it but again, we had such a short amount of time to do that planning. We had maybe a few days to set up that fight,” he said. “You know, most feature films would get weeks to rehearse something like this. Even the remake of ‘Oldboy’ probably had at least a couple weeks to plan this. We had literally days. I felt like the New York stunt community stepped up in a big way. To me, it’s going to be a highlight of the show.”
And yes, it has become undoubtedly a sizzle reel moment for “Daredevil,” but one that has also drawn comparisons to the original “Oldboy.” And already, there is a video essay that breaks down the similarities and differences between Park Chan-wook‘s film and Marvel’s series.
Check out the original scene below followed by the video essay and let us know what you think.