Hawkeye directors break down that epic chase sequence and working with Lucky the Pizza Dog
Hawkeye may not be as high-concept as its predecessors WandaVision or Loki, but the Christmas-set superhero series has proved just how good it is at delivering fun action scenes. Taking a page from the popular Hawkeye comic series by Matt Fraction and David Aja, episode 3 of Hawkeye sent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) on a wild car chase through Brooklyn, busting out all the trick arrows in Clint's quiver to shake the Tracksuit Mafia off their trail.
The scene was remarkable for how clear and easy-to-follow it was, in an age where so many blockbuster action setpieces feel shrouded in shadow. When EW caught up with episode directors Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood, a.k.a Bert and Bertie, they admitted that the scene was actually originally planned to shoot at night before a last-minute change courtesy of Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige.
"It was only after we'd started shooting the show that Kevin was like, 'there's too much at night. We need to put some sequences in the day,'" Ellwood tells EW. "But we'd planned it all at night! And of course we had been like hey, you can hide things in the shadows. But then suddenly it was daylight. So we just reconvened with our amazing team and decided to embrace it. We'd already decided to do as much practically as possible, but it drove us to do even more practically. The result was amazing."
"It has a grit and it has a danger from being in the daytime when you can see more," Templemore-Finlayson says.
The duo cited the iconic car chases from '60s-'70s films like Bullitt and The French Connection as inspirations. They decided to orient the scene around Kate's perspective in order to make the action easy to follow.
"Our cameras are determined by what the character needs and the central part to this chase sequence is the banter and the relationship between Clint and Kate," Templemore-Finlayson says. "So we were thinking, how do you stay in the car? We've all seen a million car chases, there are huge franchises that do them so well on epic scales. So we were like, well, it's about the characters. So what we wanted to do was keep the camera in the car. Then we thought, how fun would it be that if as that camera is turning, all the action was happening around them? And then when Kate goes out the window, of course our camera goes with her because it's led by character."
Speaking of characters, recent Hawkeye episodes also featured some wonderful moments with another beloved creation from Fraction and Aja's comic: Lucky the Pizza Dog.
"Every opportunity we could get Lucky in a scene, we would," Ellwood says. "Lucky was great, and not only on screen. Off-screen Lucky was great too because you know, there are situations where we're running out of time or it's all a little bit tense and it's just like, stare at the dog! Stare at the dog! So it was joyful."
The first four episodes of Hawkeye are streaming now on Disney+. Bert and Bertie directed episodes 3, 4, and 5 (the last of which premieres this Wednesday).