When I received an invitation to train with Heidi Moneymaker, Kyle Mclean, and Jackson Spidell — otherwise known as the stunt doubles for Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Evans in Captain America: Civil War , I jumped at the chance. The invitation promised hours of film fight training with the seasoned pros, plus I'd get to film an actual sequence from Civil War , except this time, I'd be playing Steve Rodgers. Count me in.
After signing several waivers (these guys aren't messing around), I'm led into an open warehouse-turned-training facility where there is no shortage of muscled men or women. Moneymaker, a pint-sized athletic blonde gives a brief spiel about her time making the Marvel films. She says that before shooting starts, her and the other stunt doubles play around with different moves, inventing new spins, and flips, and kicks and — well, anything else they can think of — to show the film's creative team. Then they teach the actors their choreographed fight sequences bit by bit. And today, that's exactly what the stunt team from Captain America is going to be teaching me.
We start with some basic warm-ups and then move into punching. Spidell advises on how to throw a perfect punch. Spoiler alert: it's all about utilizing the right part of your hand and properly executing the follow-through. I learn a hook punch, an uppercut, and a straight punch, all while attempting to bend my legs and hips in the same way Spidell is doing it in the mirror. Somehow, he looks much more convincing.
After he's satisfied my punching technique is sufficient we move on to the main event: A choreographed routine from the film. It's Team Cap vs. Team Iron Man, and because today I'm representing the patriotic WWII vet himself, just as Spidell did in the film, he hands me off to Kyle Mclean who will be playing my adversary, Iron Man. We practice our punches — I swing left, he gets hit, he head butts me, I stagger backwards — and then it's time to film it against a green screen. With some help from Marvel movie magic — sound and special effects, to be exact — I don't look quite as idiotic in the finished product as a journalist moonlighting as a superhero should. Well, I'll let you be the judge.
Captain America: Civil War is on BluRay and Digital HD now.