'The Huntsman: Winter's War' Cast Recalls Intense Stunt Work — For The Women, That Is
When action star Chris Hemsworth was asked about working with three women (who have just as many stunts as he does) in Huntsman: Winter's War, Hemsworth points to himself and says: "There's only one princess in this film." His co-star, Charlize Theron, agrees. "Oh, Chris is the biggest girl. A damsel in distress."
While Hemsworth may (jokingly) fall victim to this tired stereotype, the women of the film are anything but damsels. Theron and Emily Blunt play sisters who are queens of separate domains. They remain in a constant power struggle for most of the film, and their relationship is intricate, intense, yet somehow relatable. (We all fight with our sisters, right?)
Jessica Chastain takes on the role of a female huntsman, Sarah, brought up along side Hemsworth's Eric. "We had to have a way of fighting that made sense opposite Chris," Chastain says. "Eric is a wall. He has this brute force. He takes a lot before he falls down. Sarah, if she's hit, she's going to go down immediately just because of our size difference."
To remedy this, Universal sent a trainer to New York to work with the 39-year-old actor. And after weeks of training, Chastain felt as though she'd nailed the moves. "The last week I started training in the shoes that I wear [in the film], which have lifts in them — about four and a half inches," she says. "So that was shocking. All of a sudden I put the boots on and I was like, 'Wow, this is really different.'"
While Blunt and Theron's training was slightly less physical, their stunts were equally as challenging for another reason: Those damn dresses.
"Charlize and I spent our time hobbling around in high heels going, 'My feet hurt!'" Blunt, who's pregnant with her second child with husband John Krasinski, says.
"Or, 'My dress is heavy!'" Theron recalls. "Jessica would come in the makeup room pouring with sweat."
Theron sites one moment when the difference in their stunt work became particularly obvious. The film's director, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, asked Theron to do something quite simple: "'You just have to turn,' he says. And I was like, 'Do you know what I'm wearing?' And then he's like, 'And then you turn into ravens and it's really fast!' And I was like, 'You lost me at fast, there's nothing fast about this,'" the 40-year-old actor says.
But she soon gained some perspective: "As I'm bitching and moaning about turning in the scene, I'm looking at Jessica who's like 'Ready to jump!" She's up there, she's got barely a harness on, there's no mat. I'm like 'Oh my god, I need to shut up! Pull it together.'"
See all of the women (and Hemsworth's) impressive stunt work when The Hunstman: Winter's War hits theaters April 22.