Philip Silvera On Designing Stunts For ‘Daredevil,’ ‘Deadpool,’ And ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’

You might not know Philip Silvera by name, but you’ve seen the stunt performances and action sequences he’s designed dozens of times in the last decade. From Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World, to the more recent Deadpool film and both seasons of the highly successful Netflix series Daredevil, the former professional martial arts competitor-turned-stunt coordinator’s mark is everywhere these days.

So despite having one of the busiest schedules in the business, Silvera took the time to chat with us about his work on Daredevil‘s second season, which will be available to stream on Friday at 3:01 a.m. ET. The new season represents a significant body of work for the stunt man, who also served as the second unit director on the project. So as soon as our phone call began, he was quick to ask us what our favorite fight sequences were.

I assume you had a hand in everything.

Yeah, I designed the entire series. I was the stunt and fight coordinator, as well as the second unit director.

This was your first official second unit directing gig. How’d it go?

Oh it was great! It felt good to work with some of the guys from last year, like James McMillan, who was our second unit director of photography both this year and last year. I had fun collaborating with him again. Plus it was great to talk shop with Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, our showrunners this season. It was a really great feeling, and it came together very well. We were able to highlight the action a little differently this year, and in a different way. I hope the fans like it.

Is second unit directing something you’ve always wanted to do?

It’s definitely something I’ve always wanted to do. Part of our process, when you design the action on the show, and it’s grueling for the stunt team… We do what we call a “previz,” and that previz is almost like shooting an entire scene before going into production with the entire crew. We’ll go to the location, we’ll test all the gags and then we’ll shoot it from beginning to end like we would on the day of. That then becomes the template for our conversations with producers, directors, Marvel and Netflix, and then we’ll make any changes to shots. That’s how we’re able to get such feature film-like action done on this TV time frame. It’s all the prep we’re doing for every episode and every sequence we do, as opposed to just coming in on the day of and winging the shots and trying to figure it out then. We did that the first season and that template worked great.