HitFix

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ director breaks down last week’s amazing fight scene

On last week”s episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Skye (Chloe Bennet) got a chance to shine when she used her combination of S.H.I.E.L.D. training and Inhuman powers to take down HYDRA and save Lincoln from a fate worse than death. The director of the episode, Kevin Tancheroen, also got a moment to shine with his single-take action sequence that was more reminiscent of dance choreography than modern television cinematography. HitFix Harpy spoke with Tancheroen by phone about how that jaw-dropping scene came to be.

But first, see what all the buzz was about!

HITFIX HARPY: Thanks for taking the time to talk about that amazing sequence last week. It was great to see something so stylistically complex on primetime television.
Kevin Tancharoen: I”m so happy that you liked it. It seems there”s a lot of people responding to it. I talked to Matt Mullins, the fight coordinator/choreographer, and Tanner the stunt coordinator. We”re all very thrilled. And Chloe Bennet really wanted to make that shot dynamic – I”ve really got to give the prompts to her. She did a really, really phenomenal job.

I think people are just so tired of the really choppy Jason Bourne…
Shaky?

Yeah, in their face shaky cam.
I”m so happy you said that. These are conversations I have quite often. I really actually love the Bourne series and I thought esthetically it fit that movie. What I didn”t like is that everyone started copying it. It just started feeling like “Jason Bourne was cool so we should do that.” My personal preference doesn”t lean toward that style of frenetic shooting. Maybe that”s just because of my background in choreography. It”s drilled in my head that the camera has to complement the movement of the action.

At first I think a lot of people thought we were crazy for trying to pull off a one-take action shot on our schedule. But we pulled it off.

How did that pitch meeting go?
At first it started with me and the fight coordinator. Everyone really liked the May versus May fight with the slam on the table counter. So we were trying to figure out what we could do next and I jokingly said, “Let”s do a one shot action scene.” Then we looked at each other and thought maybe we should.

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