The Hawkeye Directors Had To Convince Kevin Feige To Let Them Film A One-Take Action Scene [Exclusive]

One-shot action sequences are notoriously tricky to pull off, and even more difficult when you add in factors like moving vehicles. Somehow, Bert and Bertie, the directors behind several episodes of the Disney+ series "Hawkeye," managed to use a single-shot sequence to create one of the most fun sequences in Marvel history, all inside a beat up old sedan. In an interview with /Film's Jack Giroux, Bert and Bertie shared just how they were able to convince Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige to green-light the incredible car chase sequence in episode 3, "Echoes."

"Let's keep it about the comedy."

In the episode, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) escape the Tracksuit Mafia and Echo (Alaqua Cox), only to try to outrun them in a wild car chase through the streets of Brooklyn. The first sequence follows Kate and Clint as they get the car moving, with a spinning camera in the backseat to track every moment of the action. It feels a lot like the ambush sequence in Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 film "Children of Men," which is honestly one of the greatest cinematography achievements of all time. Much like in "Children of Men," the camera makes the viewer feel like they're truly right in the middle of the chaos. For Bert, the important thing was for them to stay with the characters as they navigated such intense action:

"... [Kate and Clint's] relationship is what's the core; that buddy, mentor/mentee relationship. So for us, keeping that at its heart, it's like, "Well, okay, we keep the camera with them." And then from there, it was just this natural progression to, "Let's keep it about the comedy. Let's keep it about the characters and let's keep the audience in the car chase."

By following Kate and Clint's perspective in the car, the viewers feel just as trapped in this situation as the heroes. The comedy comes from the insanity of the moment, as Kate and Clint argue about which trick arrows to use despite the fact that they're in the middle of a high-speed pursuit. However, the directors had to fight for this idea, as Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige had seen attempts at single-shot automobile action sequences in the past, and none of them had ever made the cut.

From Toy Cars to the Streets of Atlanta

After pre-visualizing and testing the technical aspects of the shoot, Feige came down to the Atlanta shoot to check out their progress. He commented that this might be the one that "stays in," and sure enough, the sequence made the cut. The audience (and camera) only leave the car once Kate crawls halfway out of the window to shoot at the bad guys, moving the action along with the character's perspective. The result is an absolute blast of a sequence that is as adrenaline-pumping as it is comical. 

Trying to keep a sense of realism to the action despite the silliness of the trick arrows was important, and Bert and Bertie employed some very traditional tools to help them on the shoot. On his "Hot Ones" episode, Renner explained that the entire sequence was laid out using Matchbox and Hot Wheels toy cars, to replicate their ideas in miniature. They also decided to shoot on location instead of trying to recreate streets on a sound stage with blue screens, to help bring even more tangibility to the sequence. For Bertie, it was just a matter of finding the right location:

"There was a point at what we wanted to achieve in New York, it was just looking unlikely. And there was a point at which we were thinking the whole thing was going to be on a stage in blue screen. And then we looked around Atlanta and we were like, "So many of these streets could be some slightly nondescript street in Brooklyn, just with a skyline." And from the moment we made that decision, we start in a very real world and that whole oner and everything up until the bridge, one or two shots here and there is shot on the streets with adornments to make it feel more like New York. And that really set the grounding and gave the VFX guys, it gave them the right lighting, it gave them the right look of the world, and so then we were just replicating it."

The final effect is a rip-roaring ride through the streets of Brooklanta, injecting a whole lot of much-needed fun into the series. 

"Hawkeye" is currently streaming on Disney+.