We usually leave the film stuff to Vince but this anecdote from the production of The Fighter was too interesting (to me) to not be mentioned here. To set the table for this gem of a quote from producer/star Mark Wahlberg, the production had to shoot the fight scenes for the film on a limited budget of time. But instead of shooting those scenes old-school, which would have taken five weeks to shoot, Wahlberg said F that S and explained in the DVD commentary of the film why he brought in one of the camera crews that films actual live fights for HBO.
Every filmmaker that we talked to about directing this movie was like you can’t shoot the fights in 20 days, you need 35 days. And I said, “Well, we’re going to shoot the whole movie in 33 days and we’re going to shoot all the fights in three days.” And they said, “How are you going to do that? It’s never going to work.” And I said, “Because we’re going to film them like actual fights.”
So we literally did every fight from the actual beginning, coming out of the dressing room into the arena, into the ring, first bell, introductions, to the last bell, and everything. And we just did it over and over and over again.
And what I kept telling everybody is that HBO does it in one take and they don’t know what’s going to happen and they never miss a thing. We have the luxury of showing them what we’re going to do in the morning before we shoot it and doing it over and over and over again. So why do you need 20 days? For what? To jerk each other off? To touch up your makeup? To go in the trailer and take a nap?
We’re not talking about putting the camera in there and saying, “OK, we’re going to do a stunt punch here.” No, we’re going in there and beat the shit out of each other and we’re going to make it real.
I was one of those people that said this was another blah blah boxing film, but after that quote (and realizing Wahlberg’s approach to the production), I really want to see this movie now. Hell, if just thinking about The Fighter made Christian Bale forget his wife’s name, it must be pretty awesome.