- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[The following interview contains spoilers for episodes three and four of Hawkeye.]
Bert and Bertie, the collective name for Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood’s director duo, knew the responsibility they shared in introducing Alaqua Cox‘s deaf superhero, Maya “Echo” Lopez, to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So Bert and Bertie leaned on the Native American actor herself in order to accurately portray ASL (American Sign Language) dialogue, as it relies on the entire body, not just the hands. But even though they helped introduce the Echo character to great effect on Hawkeye, the duo feels that they may not be the most optimal choice to helm Cox’s upcoming spinoff series, Echo.
Bertie tells The Hollywood Reporter: “We love the character of Echo, but … the Native American story of [Echo], in our opinion, should really be told by someone in that community. That would be a wonderful thing if that could happen.”
Bert also considered the task of keeping Marvel Studios’ many secrets to be a pleasure, namely Florence Pugh’s return as Yelena Belova in episode four. It’s something they continue to do, even after her reveal onscreen.
“Having Marvel secrets is really fun,” Bert says. “If it’s something we want to keep secret from the fans, it means they’re really going to enjoy it, and the reveal of [Yelena Belova] has already got people really excited. I genuinely can’t remember if that character comes back, but maybe?”
In a recent conversation with THR, Bert and Bertie also discuss why they weren’t intimidated to enter into the action genre for the first time. Then they go on to explain the meticulous planning behind their big car chase in episode three.
So have the two of you heard from any upset Imagine Dragons fans yet?
Bert & Bertie: (Laughter.)
Bertie: Good question! I haven’t personally, but I’m sure Marvel is getting hit up.
How did this collaboration between you and Marvel get started? Who made the first move?
Bert: Ooh, we invited Marvel out on a date to this really tacky restaurant, and we got them drunk on a really cheap wine.
I knew it!
Bert: (Laughs.) Sorry, serious answer…
Bertie: (Laughs.) I liked that answer! I think we should leave it there.
Oh, we are!
Bert: (Laughs.) OK, great!
The two of you are the third director duo to direct in the MCU, and of the three duos [the other two being the Russo brothers and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck), none of you had an obvious path to the MCU. In fact, most first-time MCU directors didn’t have six action movies on their résumés already. So did that provide you with some reassurance that you could also thrive in this environment?
Bertie: Just look at the choices Marvel has made. When Marvel chooses directors, they choose directors with voice, and that voice isn’t defined by action. Marvel gives you the support as a director to do all of the action you need to do, but what’s important to them is that you have a point of view and you have a way of telling stories. So you see that with the choices they make, duos and non-duos, across the board. It’s always about a fresh perspective.
The closeups in episode three were gorgeous due to the shallow depth of field. The bokeh was more pronounced than usual, and the actors almost looked like they were floating in the frame. Did you come to set with this look in mind, or did you discover it on set?
Bert: We love using closeups in our storytelling. For those emotional moments, you really draw the audience in, so it’s actually throughout our work. But our camera decisions are always determined by the narrative and emotional needs of the scene. When you’re in those closeups, it’s because the character is really feeling something in that moment, and we want to put the audience right there with them.
Regarding the Uncle character that pinched young Maya’s cheek, was that the actual actor that’s going to be revealed at some point? Or was that a double for the actor?
Bertie: We couldn’t possibly say.
Bert: I can’t remember
Bertie: Yes, we can’t remember.
Bert: It was such a long time ago.
It sounds like the cheap wine from your dinner date with Marvel has caused some memory loss.
Bertie: (Nods in agreement.)
So what did you learn about properly capturing ASL onscreen?
Bertie: So much! We had a whole team that helped us out with that, and Alaqua [Cox] was a huge help with guiding us where she looks when she’s talking to someone. She looks at the whole person. You just said we’re in love with closeups; we love getting in the emotion of closeups. But for the viewer, and especially the non-hearing community watching this, we wanted to ensure that we kept the hands in the frame and as much of the body as possible, and then punch in for a close-up moment. The other thing is that dialogue among deaf people and non-deaf people happens in your face, and often, there might’ve been a line for Alaqua where she said, “I don’t even need to say anything. My look will tell you everything that you need to see with the character of Maya.”
I know the two of you didn’t write the episode, but only five minutes of Zahn McClarnon (Maya’s father, William Lopez) is criminal in my book. Who do we blame for this?
Bert: (Laughs.) Definitely not us! Working with him was incredible, and he was actually a huge influence on Alaqua as well. This was the first time she’s been onscreen, and he was such a wonderful guide for her in the scenes they had together. But who knows what’s going to happen in the series? We don’t know, but we can only imagine that we’ll see a lot more of him.
Did episode three’s car chase cause many sleepless nights?
Bertie: Only in excitement! That’s the honest truth. We’re meticulous planners, so we started planning that sequence prior to actually being officially on the job. We knew we got the job and we hadn’t started yet, but then we were like, “Can we get in with some storyboard artists straight away?” So we started planning that, and as you probably know, Marvel’s stories come together right up until the last moment. So, so much was changing and moving, but we knew that the car chase in episode three and the rooftop fight in episode four were set in stone. So we started to play within that arena.
Are the two of you going to work on the Echo spinoff series since you pretty much introduced the character?
Bertie: We love the character of Echo, but we’re not going to say anything about what’s up and coming. But the Native American story of that, in our opinion, should really be told by someone in that community. That would be a wonderful thing if that could happen.
There’s a significant appearance during episode four’s rooftop fight. Can you spare a few words regarding the reintroduction of Florence Pugh‘s Yelena Belova?
Bert: Having Marvel secrets is really fun. If it’s something we want to keep secret from the fans, it means they’re really going to enjoy it, and the reveal of the character has already got people really excited. I genuinely can’t remember if that character comes back, but maybe?
Bert & Bertie: (Laughter.)
Bertie: She jumps off a roof and never appears again.
That would be amazing if you pulled that move.
Bert: Yeah, you already know the answer to that.
Bert & Bertie: (Laughter.)
Interview edited for length and clarity
Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day