After more than twenty years working in both television and film, Thom Williams has built up a rather impressive résumé of stunt work, both as a performer and as a coordinator. After being nominated for an Emmy Award for his stunt coordination work on The Punisher, Williams became the stunt coordinator and second unit director of HBO Max’s Doomed patrol. Recently, Williams’ stunt work on Doomed patrol Season 2 earned him another Emmy nomination.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, the industry veteran teased the biggest adventures ahead for misfit superheroes in season 3. Doomed patrol Season 2 are his favorites, reflecting on how to work on The Punisher He elevated his career and praised the cast and crew of the HBO Max show for being so open to collaboration and fun during production.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure you’re the first person to coordinate a television superhero fight with Jesus Christ. How was put that together?
Thom Williams: It was fun! Anyway, we have a crazy, out-of-the-box show, and when I got the script, I thought, “Of course, why wouldn’t I be fighting Jesus?” My mind started racing with that because I am a Christian man, but I also have a strange sense of humor. I just thought of all the incredible possibilities we could do with this fight. I wanted to see how far I could go without getting in trouble and I had a lot of fun with that. [laughs]
You work with the whole cast and especially Diane Guerrero last season. What was it like working with the actors on these stunts?
Our entire cast is amazing. Everyone is enthusiastic and they love to do action and stunts and they want to do their best. Diane, in particular, is fully immersed in it and it is a pleasure to do any action with it. She brings an immense amount of energy and joy to everything she does and stunts are no exception. She makes everything a lot of fun.
We are in the middle of a golden age in which stunt coordinators take on the job of directing feature films and the first unit in films such as Extraction Y John wick. You have done quite a bit of work yourself as the director of the second unit, but do you have similar career aspirations?
I love. It really is a golden age for that and I am very happy and proud of my stunt friends who are having opportunities to direct and very grateful that they are helping pave the way for people like me who want to do it and Doomed patrol it’s been a big part of that. Warner Bros., Berlanti Productions, and showrunner Jeremy Carver have been very supportive of me by allowing me to get a ton of second unit. [work] because they know what I want to do. We have had several talks about it. It has been wonderful working with all of them together.
Doomed patrol it’s one of the craziest shows on television right now. What’s it like working with Jeremy to discover these pieces as the scripts unfold?
Jeremy and his entire writers room, they call it “Room Patrol”, they honestly must have one of the funniest jobs in the business. I can only imagine what it’s like to be a fly on the wall watching them write their scripts, it has to be a lot of fun there. They are honestly the most collaborative people I have ever met in the business. We will be in pre-production meetings talking and they are very open to ideas.
We will have phone or Zoom conversations and a lot of times what will happen is that I will get the script and send them something in writing, which they appreciate, putting my own spin on things and we will have a really good back and forth. Confidence level, especially after three seasons, they know I’m ready to go as crazy as them and bounce crazy ideas from them. It has been a very good collaboration and I love you all.
As someone who has been working in the television and film industry for twenty years, what is the secret sauce behind creating a good stunt?
Collaboration is a great key because there are so many departments working together that you just can’t do it with just one department. We have amazing [directors of photography]Our camera crew is stellar, the props department, visual effects … To have that level of collaboration from the beginning when you’re creating something, and seeing it reflected on camera, is amazing, because you don’t always get it. . This is definitely one of those shows where it’s really a close-knit family. We all work very well with each other.
Are there any particular stunts from Season 2 that you would like to especially stand out above the rest?
The first is the underwater sequence that we did because it was probably the most complicated in all respects. We had two actors on the scene, Diane Guerrero and Sarah Borne, the rest of the performers were stuntmen. Especially with Diane, I had her train with a divemaster I trust incessantly for several days before that, getting her used to breathing with a regulator first and then removing the regulator so that she could perform underwater and then go without a mask. or regulator. It was a great process leading up to it. His level of trust with us and vice versa made it really work. You couldn’t have done that scene if Diane hadn’t gotten out of the park the way she did and could have been underwater for hours. It was a big pool that they custom built for our set and we were there for days, all day, just filming. Things like that, for us, are a lot of fun. I was hoping it was for her too, and I think she had a lot of fun and got it out of the park and made the scene special.
The second would be the Jesus fight, I got to the second unit to direct that scene and just the concept, coming up with it through the shoot … Riley Shanahan, who played Robotman, and Joshua Mikel, who played Jesus, had so much fun with the. That’s a big part for me – you have to make these things fun. If your actors have fun with it, it will really show up on camera when the scene is put together. They did and they both crushed it.
You were previously nominated as a stunt coordinator for The Punisher and while Doomed patrol It is crazy, The Punisher it’s grounded and you felt the consequences of every hit. How was that series for you?
On the side of similarity, both shows have incredible casts to work with. I will sing the praises of Jon Bernthal all day, every day. That man helped change my life and the scope of my career. All credit [goes] to him for how much he put into that role and everyone who was there was truly dedicated to it. The difference is obviously The Punisher it’s very serious, very graphic and I had to put myself in mind on that show to discover extremely deadly, painful and disgusting ways to kill people. In Doomed patrol, it is much more absurd and the emphasis is on the fantastic.
We had that fight in season 1 where Robotman is ripping people apart, but there is still an aspect of absurdity about it. He is taking it very seriously. It’s still fun, in a way, as well as scary. To The PunisherI was listening to a lot of Metallica and heavy metal to get the right mindset. Doomed patrol It’s more Depeche Mode and 80s music.
Why can you joke? Doomed patrol Season 3?
Take everything you saw in the first two seasons and increase by a factor of ten because we were all getting ready to go after our COVID vacation: the writers, the stunt team, the cast, the attendees, all the cast members. and the team. . We were chewing a bit to do it again. They all destroyed it. It was incredible.
Doom Patrol will return for a season 3 soon on HBO Max. A release date has not been announced at the time of this writing.
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