‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Stunt Coordinator Chris O’Hara on Creating “Gung-Fu” and the Athleticism of Jason Statham [Interview]
Posted on Sunday, November 10th, 2019 by Jack Giroux
Chances are, you’ve all been watching and appreciating Chris O’Hara‘s work for a long time without even realizing it. He’s been in the stunt world going back to the early ’90s and worked on Fight Club with frequent collaborator, stunt performer-turned-Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch. Since then, the stunt performer-turned-stunt coordinator has worked with the Wachowskis, he contributed to the John Wick films and, undoubtedly the most dangerous stunt job of them all, We Bought A Zoo. He’s brought his expertise to huge franchises, including Jurassic World and The Hunger Games. During a press day for the Blu-Ray release of Hobbs & Shaw, we got a chance to talk to him about his latest work.
After speaking with O’Hara, I actually got to recreate a stunt from the movie with the help of a few very cool stuntmen. Just as you might exactly imagine, I made Dwayne Johnson’s skills pale in comparison. “It’s like a dance,” the stuntmen would say, breaking down the specific steps required to properly kick someone in the groin. (Keep your foot flat facing downward, if you’re interested.) Experiencing the specificity of the subtlest of moves, really, made the fight scenes in Hobbs & Shaw all the more impressive and artful. It truly is like a dance — except with more liability and danger. Go too far with an elbow hit and, well, it’s not pretty. Imagine an elbow landing on a temple and try not to cringe. Even seemingly minor moves are ripe with danger. Another observation from working with these stuntmen: as shown by the Academy Awards, they just don’t get enough of the love or acclaim they deserve. One of them even remarked it was nice to see excitement and appreciation over what they do for a living.
Below, you can find a few nuggets of information we learned from speaking with O’Hara about his take on the next-level fights in the John Wick franchise, finding stuntmen to fight alongside Dwayne Johnson, and the athleticism of Jason Statham.