Creed hopes to launch a new generation of Rocky movies, to reinvent the franchise with a new hero: Adonis Creed, Apollo Creed's son. Like Adonis, Creed has a lot to live up to in the boxing world. Rocky is one of the most popular boxing movies in history, and Sylvester Stallone's titular character will forever be recognized as a champion in the pop culture canon. When going to see Creed, fans of the Rocky franchise will be looking closely to make sure it has what they love about the original films: training montages, a redemption story, and, of course, epic fight scenes.
On that last score, Creed delivers a fight scene that will exceed any and all expectations, and leave audiences wondering, "How did they do it?"After Adonis (Michael B Jordan) travels to Philadelphia, tracks down Rocky and convinces him to train him, he has his first ever American fight. For roughly three minutes, Adonis and his opponent go two rounds in the ring, trading blows and darting around the ring. Even more impressive: the entire fight appears to be filmed in one continuous shot. So, how did that Creed fight scene get made?
And this wasn't your average (but still amazing) continuous shot scene. The camera didn't remain static, allowing the fight to play out in front of it like it would appear on a stage. The camera did not rest away from or above the action. Instead, the camera puts the audience right in the middle of the fight, circling around the two fighters, getting close up to their bloody faces and zooming around when they retreat to their corners. It is, without a doubt, an amazing shot envisioned by director Ryan Coogler and cinematographer Maryse Alberti. (Slight spoilers ahead!)
"We did do a Steadicam shot in Creed that's kind of amazing. We shot two boxing rounds — a movie boxing round is a minute-and-a-half as opposed to three minutes (in real life) — and we start one round in the corner, the round ends, and then there's a knockout in the next round and we shot it all in one Steadicam shot. It was a challenge, but it's a really beautiful shot," Alberti revealed in an interview with Filmmaker Magazine.
Alberti told Indiewire that to prepare for Creed , she studied the first Rocky film, but focused more on the shooting techniques used in A Prophet. "We watched other fight movies, but we watched a lot of A Prophet. It's a mix of hand-held and Steadicam," she said.
According to actress Tessa Thompson, whose character, Bianca, is present for the fight and jumps into the ring at the end of the scene, that fighting sequence took three months of rehearsal. To pull off that scene in one take, the boxers had to choreograph the fight perfectly. It's also likely that Alberti and the camera operators had their own choreography set for the scene to ensure both a maximum amount of safety and an elegant shot.
"That's a really hard thing to do in any kind of scene. We knew it was our ambition to not have to cut, but we weren't sure if it was going to work because there's a large margin of error. Once we finally got it right, it was one of the most electrifying things I've ever been a part of," Thompson told All Hip Hop.
Electrifying is right. The fight itself would have been exciting enough, but the intricate camera work makes Creed's first fight sequence unforgettable.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (2)