How Atomic Blonde's Stairwell Fight Scene Was Made

A new behind-the-scenes video details the secrets of Atomic Blonde's standout stairwell action sequence, including Charlize Theron's training.

A new video reveals how the show-stopping stairwell fight sequence in Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde was pulled off. After she created an instant action icon with Furisoa in Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron quickly signed up for another character that would show off her action chops. Atomic Blonde was adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City and finds a spy tearing her way through Berlin to recover a list of double agents.

While some reviews criticized the story for being too labyrinthine and complex, it received praise for Theron’s performance, the stylish direction and the fantastic action scenes. One sequence, in particular, finds Theron fighting off a group of assassins in a stairway and is arguably one of the most breathless – and grueling – fights of 2017. The scene is made up of long takes seamlessly edited together to make it look like one extended take.

Ahead of Atomic Blonde’s Digital HD release, a brief featurette on the stairwell fight can be found at This making of details the training and preparation that went into it, with Theron revealing that in spite of the crazy amount of action, nobody was injured. Director David Leitch also talks about his ambition with the fight, revealing "The long take shot in the stairwell was something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. And then we started to see Charlize train, and we were like “Holy sh*t”. We can make this happen.'"

The effort that went into the fight paid off because even those who didn’t enjoy Atomic Blonde itself have to admit the stairwell sequence is extremely well done. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, considering Leitch is the co-director of John Wick. Like Atomic Blonde, Wick also put its leading man Keanu Reeves through a rigorous amount of training and prep to be able to pull of the fight sequences all by himself. In fact, Reeves and Theron trained side by side while preparing for Atomic Blonde and John Wick: Chapter 2 respectively.

Leitch’s impressive work has now landed him the director’s chair on Deadpool 2, which just wrapped filming. Leitch replaced original helmer Tim Miller, who left the project over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds. It all worked out in the end though, with Miller now set to direct the next Terminator movie with producer James Cameron. While nothing has been confirmed yet, Leitch has also spoken of his hopes for an Atomic Blonde sequel, with the director feeling there are more stories to be told with Theron’s ass-kicking spy.

Atomic Blonde will be available on Blu-ray November 14, 2017.


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