Posted on Saturday, December 5th, 2015 by Jack Giroux
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love Creed. Director Ryan Coogler‘s (Fruitvale Station) sequel is already a beloved success, which might lead to more sequels and possibly awards nominations (and another big project for the director). One of the film’s most talked about scenes features Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) in his first professional boxing match, depicted in one seamless long take, and now the director himself explains how they pulled it off.
Watch Ryan Coogler break down the Creed long shot after the jump.
Coogler let character drive the long shot, not style — and that’s why this scene is so good. Often long takes are a bit show-offy, not really serving a dramatic purpose, but that’s not the case with Creed at all. The New York Times‘ “anatomy of a scene” is almost always an enlightening video feature, and this video is no exception as it focuses on that single take boxing match we talked about earlier this week.
Here’s what Coogler had to say about the Creed long shot:
- The match was filmed on the third day of principle photography, which was also Sylvester Stallone‘s first day reprising his iconic role as Rocky. So not only was there pressure to get the sequence right but it was the first day of having Stallone on set in front of an a crowd of extras.
- They shot the single-shot boxing match 13 times in total. They would stop the scene whenever the fight choreography was flubbed and in the end only takes #11 and #13 being usable. Take #11 is the one you see in the final film, and everything you see on screen is from that take.
- Coogler purposefully didn’t shoot any cutaways because he wanted the sequence to work as a single shot. The filmmaker claims he didn’t have a back-up plan if the single take didn’t work, but assumed his editors might be able to edit together a version from all the different takes.
- Just because the shot is one single take doesn’t mean there wasn’t some help from visual effects: There is a shot where Adonis gets hit opening up a cut on his face which was achieved with computer-generated visual effects. Later in the scene, make-up artists quickly applied practical fake blood to Jordan’s face when the camera wasn’t filming the actor.
- Steadicam camera operator Benjamin Semanoff took boxing lessons to prepare to shoot the sequence. He was especially excited about the shot as Rocky is part of the Steadicam legacy with the camera rig being used for one of the first times in the original film to shoot the shot of Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
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