One of the most enjoyable days I had during the production period was on a day off when Roger and I met with Janell Smith, our stunt coordinator and action choreographer. We met in my apartment to discuss the final fight scene. Roger and I had some different views on how it should go and we needed to reconcile those, but also to make sure that Janell’s expertise be fully exploited.
We began with a discussion of what the scene should accomplish. Clearly it is an action scene, but was there any information that also needed to be given to the audience? Roger wanted there to be dialog that conveyed a past history between the two fighters. I said that people didn’t stop and have discussion when there was a fight unto death. We settled on a compromise whereby the woman says, just before she bunts her forehead into her opponent’s, “I should have killed you in Portland.” I still think the line is contrived, but I was happy that he accepted there not being a longer conversation and I think he was content with the line.
Janell was a creative expert throughout the discussion. We asked her how the blows could be exchanged with no one gaining the upper hand at first, and how the woman could overcome the bulk of her opponent. We went through the fight with Janell playing each person, showing us how it would look and made suggestions on how to gain credibility with the moves.
Because we spent the time to prepare the scene, I think it turned out very well. It was filmed in the wee hours on the last day of shooting when everyone was exhausted. And, although there were some problems, I know for sure that the planning we did paid off handsomely.