2:19pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Stuntman on Toughest Scenes, 'Thor 3'
It took Avengers: Age of Ultron more than its stars to bring Earth's mightiest heroes to life.
Stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton was among the stunt team that made Age of Ultron's heroics possible, and he pulled double duty to do it. Hanton not only had to get into Thor (Chris Hemsworth) shape, he also had to match Captain America (Chris Evans) for the first part of the shoot.
Hanton's lengthy list of credits include Thor: Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Dark Knight Rises, HBO's Game of Thrones. He also flexes his style muscles as Dove Men+Care Grooming Expert, a title he’s held since 2012.
In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Hanton reveals the most difficult scenes and what he expects from the preparation for for 2017's Thor: Ragnarok.
You've worked with Chris Hemsworth before. Did you know you'd be brought on for Ultron?
I've worked with Chris quite a few times as his stunt double, and I'm in his contract. It's pretty nice. I go from show to show with him, and The Avengers was always going to be hugely exciting.
What was the biggest challenge of Age of Ultron for you?
I started off stunt doubling Captain America before Chris [Hemsworth] had started. I started the show in Korea, filming the sequence on the big truck as Cap. Then I had roughly five to seven weeks before my first bit of Thor stunt stuff came up. That was when my diet and training plans changed and became a lot harder and more intense so I could get to that Thor size. Captain America is in great shape anyway, so I started from that. I went from eating five meals a day to sometimes seven or eight meals a day to put on the extra size. Instead of training once a day in the gym, I went up to two training sessions a day in the gym.
What was that chase sequence in Korea like?
That was split with another stunt double, Andy Lister, who took over the Captain America stuff once we'd gotten back to the UK and I'd turned my attention to Thor. I was hanging off the back of a truck. Ultron blasts the door open and I swing, smashing into the door and kick off, and then he blasts again and we land on the road, and I was kind of surfing on the back of the door on the road. It was a new experience for me. I had not done much outside of the vehicle work, with live roads and live traffic. I had to really be focused and on top of my game and make sure everything for me was in place.
What were some of the standout Thor moments for you?
We did some things that didn't quite make the movie, but you understand why. You've got to cover a lot of these characters. For me, the scene toward the end when they are trying to fight all the Ultrons, and Captain America and Thor kind of team up for a second, I did a jumping 360 spin and smash five or six Ultrons. That was quite nice, to try to show the dynamic side of Thor.
What were your goals with Thor for this movie?
The flying aspect for Thor is the thing we focused on the most when we came up with our pieces. Thor is a god and a hero, so he can also be hit hard and recover from it. We wanted to make those look strong and dynamic. There is a scene where I get blasted off the casket when we wake The Vision. I go through the glass ceiling and hit the ground pretty hard. We wanted to portray Thor as having a dynamic side but also the tough side where he gets hit pretty hard and still gets up.
Were there any injuries on set?
Danger is always there, otherwise we wouldn't be called stunt performers. I got a couple of hits and bumps, but nothing that was serious. We've got a fantastic stunt team. We've got a great safety team with us. And we try to rehearse as much as we can, and that's why we're given as much as three months if it's a big action movie. So we can get these stunts rehearsed and dialed and made sure we are ready, and we eliminate as much danger as possible.
Do you know when you start working on Thor 3?
I'm not 100 percent sure yet. That depends on when I get the call or when I speak to Chris about when he knows more and says, "OK we're going to start this date." I like to try to get two-and-a-half or three months in before we start shooting the first scene so I can get my training up and get into the physical shape I need to get in to. Chris is naturally much bigger than me. He is 6'4 in the Thor costume and I'm 6'1. So I have to wear 2 ½-inch lifts to try to match his size. That's difficult.
How will you prepare for Thor 3?
A stunt coordinator will get a script to break down and start looking at the action sequences. Then we shoot our version of what it would look like, and then we'll go to the director and Chris, and then we all break it down. You take bits, and they go, "I like that" or "can we change that slightly?" Everyone works together as a team to try to come up with the best action sequence possible.
Assistant fight coordinator James Young shared some footage of Hanton in action: