Extraction director Sam Hargrave has answered a question that’s haunted us since age 12: Can actors like who perform long fight scenes in movies also fight in real life? In other words, can actors like Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron and Extraction star Chris Hemsworth handle their business if need be?
First: This is, obviously, a hypothetical and silly question. Second: Here’s the answer.
“Yes,” Hargrave said. “I mean, there’s you can’t spend that much time training and doing martial arts without acquiring a bit of skill.”
But there’s a caveat.
“Now, the beauty of movies is, you know, the fights are designed for the heroes to win. So, so you know that regardless of their skill, the fight’s gonna go down how we designed it to,” Hargrave said. “But yes, Keanu Reeves, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize — they put in so much time in the training. I would not want to be someone who mistakenly tried to, you know, take something from them in a dark alleyway.”
Hargrave was the stunt coordinator for Theron in Atomic Blonde, and first worked with Hemsworth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. He was a stuntman and stunt coordinator when he joined the MCU for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and impressed the film’s directors, the Russo Brothers, by doubling for Chris Evans’ Captain America and coordinating stunts in several additional MCU films, including Avengers: Endgame.
The Russo Brothers invited him during that film to make his directorial debut shooting Extraction, and he delivered. The film features a 12-minute continuous fight scene that will leave you very convinced of Hemsworth fighting prowess, at least onscreen. It features gunplay, a leap across buildings, car chases, lots of close-up hand-to-hand fighting, a knife fight, and many, many more stunts that look very convincing.
Hargrave hasn’t worked with Reeves, but has seen him in action. He told USA Today at the premiere of Atomic Blonde that Theron and Reeves would train at the same gym while she was prepping for Atomic Blonde and Reeves was prepping for John Wick 2.
“Charlize would look over, and Keanu would look over, and they’d train a little bit harder to push themselves,” Hargrave said.
Also: Hargrave can definitely fight in real life. Growing up in North Carolina, he honed his skills as a martial arts before he expanded his skills into devising stunts. As he tells us in the new MovieMaker interviews podcast, he moved out to Hollywood when he realized that could be his career.
Extraction, directed by Sam Hargrave, is now streaming on Netflix.