Star Wars III Choreography

One of the fight choreographers for Star Wars III answers some questions:
I'll try and cover some of these questions. My opinion of the final product of Ep III is that its ok. I know how much was shot and how little of it ended up in the final reel. Thats an unfortunate reality of film but it still smarts. The non-included stuff I can't talk about but I'd check out the EP III game if you want an idea. Anyway, lets see how we go:

1: All the fights were test shot prior to the shoot based on script notes and required shots. These breakdowns sometimes consisted of sets and specific moments that had to happen. Usually it was just a case of geography, A fights B down corridoor, out onto platform, down ramp, 12 droids appear etc etc. All the acro in the test shoots was done real with wires and air rams using the sword doubles and Hayden Christiansen who was training with us. At the actual shoot, the number of real stunts was reduced and a number of CGI bits were included. At the end of the day i'd say about 50/50 digital to real stunts made the film.

2: The most difficult thing about the choreo process is that the conditions were constantly being changed or updated. New geography was added or removed as well as characters and droids. The challenge was to keep the choreo interesting without having to create new stuff for the actors to have to learn. Rehearsal time was premium and with the exception of Anakin we had very little time to teach and prepare the actors for their fights.

3: In defense of Sam's fight, he had very little time to learn it and yet had it running at a great pace. Ian was not brought in to rehearsals as he was told he would not be fighting. This of course changed on the day of shooting. We had to rush and change the choreo to accomodate both actors and to preserve the original rehearsal material. Sam didn't have a sword double because he didn't need one. To look at that scene now is quite strange, it's such a pivotal moment and seems quite disjointed in its flow.


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