17 "Hawkeye" Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The First Two Episodes Straight From Director Rhys Thomas

17 "Hawkeye" Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The First Two Episodes Straight From Director Rhys Thomas
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17 "Hawkeye" Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The First Two Episodes Straight From Director Rhys Thomas

"Hailee Steinfeld's something special in Hawkeye, and she brought it home."

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BuzzFeed Staff


There are MASSIVE spoilers ahead for Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2.


BuzzFeed / Jeff Vespa

1. First, when director and executive producer Rhys Thomas joined Hawkeye during pre-production, there was already talks of Hailee Steinfeld being cast as Kate Bishop.


Mary Cybulski / Marvel / Disney+

"Early on there was a conversation where Hailee was mentioned to me and that Marvel was already thinking about her as Kate and she was interested," Rhys recalled. "Once that was whispered to me, I was kind of in a place where I couldn't unsee it anymore. From there on, Hailee was the character we were writing to and the character we were building around. It's exciting to take this strong female character and watch her evolve, too."

2. In fact, Kevin Feige said that they "never really saw anyone else" for the role of Kate Bishop and they worked really hard to get Hailee to sign on.


Chuck Zlotnick / Marvel / Disney+

Rhys explained, "There was a brief moment, for schedule reasons or something, that maybe she wouldn't be able to do it. It was a little bit of a panic — and it was probably just a day — but it felt wild because Hailee is perfect."

3. Rhys and the Hawkeye writers worked really hard to make sure Kate Bishop's unique voice and sarcasm from the comic books was translated on screen, and Hailee was a huge part of making it all work.


Chuck Zlotnick / Marvel / Disney+

"We kept playing with Kate's voice because she's a very unique character in the comics, especially in her dynamic with Clint. I remember I would ask if we could have another run at some of Kate's dialogue because she was either too juvenile, too snarky, or whatever," Rhys said. "It's a fine line. We went in a lot of circles, but it wasn't until I met with Hailee, spoke to her, and we started reading scenes together in rehearsals that Kate suddenly unlocked for me. Hailee grounded it in a way that we couldn't even write. Hailee's something special in Hawkeye, and she brought it home."

4. Matt Fraction's Kate Bishop comics were a huge inspiration for Hawkeye.


Chuck Zlotnick / Marvel / Disney+

"The Matt Fraction run of comics does a great job at landing this character," Rhys said. "She's fun, but she has an edge to her."

5. Hawkeye was filmed more like a movie and less like a TV show, meaning they would film scenes from different episodes on the same day.


Mary Cybulski / Marvel / Disney+

"We have quite a big cast and an exciting cast, so to make it all work and get everybody when they needed to we had to film more like a movie with blocks of time," Rhys explained. "We shot in New York for the first few weeks and then we were jumping all over the place in terms of episodes. Me and the Berts [who direct the middle episodes] were sometimes handing off the crew day to day. I might start the day with them and do one scene with them and then they might go and do a scene from a different episode with the Berts."

6. Rhys said it was wild to go back and revisit the Battle of New York from The Avengers during the opening scene for Hawkeye.


Marvel / Disney+

"It was bizarre just having conversations about it," Rhys recalled. "It feels like you are revisiting some history moment in this universe."

7. Using the Battle of New York as the setting for the first episode helped the show establish the "origins and emotional connection" that Kate has with Clint Barton/Hawkeye.


Marvel / Disney+

Rhys said, "I think what helped maybe not make this scene overwhelming was the fact that were were really truing to get to the originals and emotional connection between this new character that we are introduction to one of the original Avengers. That was always the focus, so while it's obviously a big moment in the MCU, we're sort of narrowing in and seeing it through this very specific set of eyes with Kate Bishop."

8. The opening to Episode 1 where a young Kate runs through her apartment as the Battle of New York is happening was filmed in an extended long take, so audiences could feel like they were running alongside her.


Marvel / Disney+

"It was crazy because we had an extended take and a wonderful young actress, Clara Stacks, playing young Kate," Rhys began. "She had to run in terror through her family home and lots of things had to go right and [marks] had to be exactly hit. She was a champion."

9. In fact, the take they ended up using for this sequences included Clara accidentally cutting her foot while running through the Bishops apartment.


Marvel / Disney+

Rhys explained, "She cut her foot very early in the take. She didn't say anything and just kept on going. Near the end, I was like, 'Okay, that was good. I think I got it.' Clara quietly sat down and revealed a bleeding foot. She snagged it on a doorway or whatever it was. God bless her, she stayed in it and was just like, 'Was that okay? Was that okay?'"

10. The most difficult part of filming the Episode 1 opening was shooting the transition from going upstairs to downstairs in one take.


Marvel / Disney+

"Overall, it's not an insanely complicated one take, but the difficult thing was sort of the transition from upstairs to downstairs," Rhys said. "Just the timing of some of those practical effects going on."

11. In total, Rhys said they probably filmed the opening scene only "seven or eight times," which is honestly super impressive considering it's one very long take.


Marvel / Disney+

He continued, saying, "Part of the reason was we couldn't spend too much time on it because it's a TV show. We're doing the MCU, but on a TV schedule. I think we probably had another five things to do that day. So, at a certain point you're like, 'This has got to work.'"

12. The Battle of New York footage was a combination of new stuff they filmed and pieces of old, unused, footage Jeremy Renner originally shot for The Avengers.


Marvel / Disney+

"Most of it is new, but there's that iconic moment of Jeremy running and that bit where we see him on the roof, that was old footage," Rhys explained. "I actually had the thrilling and weird experience of being able to go and look at the dailies and unused angles and moments that they had from Avengers. There was Jeremy from that first movie, against a green screen, performing that leap. So it was a fun moment." 

13. Very early on in the production process, there was the idea of a bus driving by with an ad for Rogers: The Musical, and Rhys and the team decided to make the musical a reality instead of just a quick Easter eggs.


Marvel / Disney+

"It's a fun, absurd thing. Early on when I came on there was a mention of a bus driving past with just a bus ad with Rogers: The Musical," Rhys said. "It was mentioned in one of the outlines of the script, but there was nothing else about it. So, when I came on and I got to work with the writers and try to figure out how to make this all work. We were trying to figure out what Clint was doing in New York City. I was trying to think of what's the most amusing way to meet him? Where's the last place Clint Barton would want to be? So, yeah, I had this image of Jeremy sitting in a darkened theater just watching a musical version of his life playing out."

14. In fact, Rhys thought the Rogers: The Musical moment would not only be fun for fans, but a great parallel to the opening Battle of New York moments in Episode 1.


Marvel / Disney+

He said, "I pitched it to Kevin [Feige] and talked about doing a musical about the Battle of New York. It felt like a cool way of paralleling what we see in the beginning and showing how these traumatic moments can sometimes get reframed. It felt interesting. I genuinely did try backtracking on it, quite soon thereafter, when it suddenly occurred to me that I had to make a musical about the MCU, in the MCU."

15. It was also important for Rogers: The Musical to not only be funny, but to also get to the heart of how Clint is still dealing with Natasha's death.


Marvel / Disney+

"It's a fun, absurd, moment and it's a nice surprising way of meeting Clint, but there's still emotional relevance," Rhys explained. "That was the line to walk. Have that comedic touch, but also get to the heart of it all. It felt like a good way of shortcutting it."

16. When Kate fights in the basement and puts on Ronin's hood during Episode 1, Rhys wanted the sequence to feel "chaotic" and for it to show that Kate is a skilled fighter, but she might be in over her head.


Marvel / Disney+

He explained, "This girl knows what she's doing. I wanted it to feel a bit like someone who maybe misunderstood or didn't quite get the memo that bad guys don't play by the rules. They're not going to take turns, there isn't a referee. That's part of the energy. Just to kind of throw Kate in, the suits too big for her, she can't see properly, guys are coming after her. She can fight, but it's her first time in this type of situation."

17. And finally, during the fight scenes in Episode 1 and 2, Rhys wanted to really showcase Kate's vulnerability too and how she's not "John Wick all of a sudden."


Marvel / Disney+

"She gets that rush, but it's not like seeing someone reveal they're John Wick all of a sudden. I wanted to see that vulnerability from Kate," Rhys began. "Hailee does a great job and she dove in and she did a lot of it and took it seriously."

Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2 are streaming now on Disney+.

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