If you're a fan of pop culture on-screen especially within the realm of superheroes, chances are Thom Williams has probably worked on it. With quite a wealth of experience to his extensive portfolio across film and television, the stunt coordinator has worked on projects such as The Vampire Diaries, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Punisher, The Walking Dead, Venom, Cobra Kai, Watchmen, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Heelz, Matrix 4, and of course DC's Doom Patrol. I spoke to the stunt coordinator, who just wrapped work on season three about some of the memorable fight sequences primarily with Crazy Jane actor Diane Guerrero, planning, and how working on the series contrasts to his other works.
Thom Williams' Favorite Doom Patrol Season 2 Sequences
"I think we had two really good highlights in the season," William said. "The first would be the underwater sequence that was at the end of the season with Diane's, Crazy Jane character. She gets shoved into the well in the underground and spends pretty much two episodes underwater. So we had a lot of extensive dive training with her. I hooked up with two of the best dive masters in the business, and we trained her for a while before we got to it. We got used to acting underwater without a mask or regulator in. We got her comfortable in depths and being able to just do her thing that she really does up in the air. She did pretty much everything in that all by herself. There was another actress in there named Sarah Borne (Baby Doll), and then all the rest of her personalities were played by various stuntwomen. So that was a lot of fun. It took several days to shoot and I think turned out beautiful."
Williams matches the fight choreography of each character to reflect upon their personalities whether if it's tackling Jane's personalities or Brendan Fraser's Robotman. "I'd say probably [Jane's the] most creative because there's so much to work with there," he explained. "I mean with sixty-four different personalities, each with their own superpower, It's so much fun and Diane is a great part of the process. Any time I have an action sequence with her, I want to sit down with her ahead of time. We'll talk about how that personality is going to handle it or in the case of one of her fights in season one, she was switching back and forth between multiple personalities across the whole place. So that's really cool because each one of her personalities acts completely different from the other ones. So I really need delving into the differences in the fight as opposed to something like Robotman and Jesus. Cliff's a big battering ram. He's a big goofball, so he just wants to go in there and slug it out and have a blast."
When comparing platforms, Williams admits the TV schedule is a bit hectic. "A TV schedule is definitely a little more bonkers," he said. "A lot of times, you're shooting one episode while you're prepping for the next. Sometimes you're reshooting stuff from a previous episode. So you've got to have a lot of bandwidth in the brain to keep track of everything. It can definitely get a little punishing, trying to remember everything, keep it all in its place. I have an assistant for a reason, and I leaned on her a lot to really help me remember where we're going, what we're doing and then I get on set and try to make it all work."
Williams is a two-time Emmy nominee for his work on Doom Patrol and Marvel's The Punisher. When it comes to planning the fight choreography for the shows, it largely depends on the tones of the series. "Doom Patrol being a lot more lighthearted," he said. "It's easier to have a little more fun with it, and that's not knocking Punisher at all. It's just when you deal with content like that, it is very dark. It's very brutal. So the fights and the deaths in them have to reflect that. So you just go to different places in your mind to come up with the choreography for something like that, whereas Doom Patrol deals with more absurdity and having a lot of fun with it. There's almost nothing that's out of bounds with Doom Patrol. We can get as crazy as we want."
When planning the season, Williams broke down the prep work involved. "I usually get a few weeks off before we get started," he said. "We're breaking down the first few scripts and action sequences. Whereas if you're doing a movie, you have the script for everything already, so you usually start breaking down everything to some extent, especially the bigger set pieces. You want to concentrate on getting a handle on those, and whether it's TV or film, there's a lot of action. You typically have kind of a boot camp or rehearsal period beforehand to get the actors and the stunt team ready to go." Season three of Doom Patrol premieres on September 23 on HBO Max.
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