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The Other Avengers: Four MCU Stunt Doubles Dish On an Action-Packed 10 Years Saving the Universe

Bobby Holland Hanton, Glenn Foster, Loyd Bateman, and Daniel Hargrave – that's Thor, Tony, the Hulk, and Cap to you – talk wild stunts, Endgame goosebumps, and doubling for "America's ass."

by | May 16, 2019 | Comments

Most of the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t have secret identities, but the actors who play them do – in a sense. While the cavalcade of A-list stars who rushed into battle against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame performed plenty of heroics on their own, they were also supported by doubles who took on some of the more dangerous or elaborate stunts in their efforts to restore the universe.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke with four of the stunt doubles who stood in for some of the original Avengers in Endgame — Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and Captain America (Black Widow was busy!) — and who have been working with the stars for years. We asked them about their wildest stunts, gnarliest injuries, and just what the Avengers are really like to work with.


Bobby Holland Hanton: Double for Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

“I had to wear a fat suit, as well as a costume, as well as a harness, as well as stunt pads. It was the most difficult thing.”

Thor Stunt Double Bobby Holland Hanton
(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

What was the first Marvel movie you worked on?
Captain America: The First Avenger. I was down originally to double for Cap, but I was injured. I ended up doubling Cap and Evans in Age of Ultron for all the Korea sequences. Then I went back to the U.K. to double for Thor, so I actually doubled both on that movie.

When was the first time you doubled for Thor?
I doubled Chris first on Thor: The Dark World. I worked with him on Snow White and the Huntsman. I’d just finished The Dark Knight Rises in New York, where I’d been doubling for Batman. I finished, went back to England, and met Chris on Snow White. After that movie I became his main double. Went everywhere with him, done everything since. It’s been the better part of seven years, I think, and 11 movies later.

What goes into doubling Thor, the God of Thunder?
It’s very difficult, just due to the fact that Chris is in such good shape. That makes it very difficult. It actually is a job in itself, the training and the nutrition. Training twice a day, five or six days a week, eating between six and eight meals a day — two of those may be protein shakes. It’s very hard to get into the shape that Thor and also Chris carry.

Did Thor’s weight gain in Endgame change the way you doubled for him?
I had to wear a fat suit, as well as a costume, as well as a harness, as well as stunt pads. It was the most difficult thing. We were shooting in Atlanta and it was very, very hot. You’re trying to do stunts, and all of it is so heavy.

Above: Hanton with Hemsworth in a photo from Hanton’s Instagram (@bobbydazzler84).

What’s the craziest stunt you’ve ever done for a Marvel movie?
In Infinity War, I got smacked off my feet by Peter Dinklage’s character. I got punted off my feet, somersaulted through the air with a twist, and then landed on a rock face and then headplant into the ground, which was a pretty gnarly hit.

What was the toughest MCU movie to shoot?
Thor: Ragnarok was intense. The movie is all about Thor, so there were a lot of stunts for Thor and myself and Chris to do in that movie. A month into rehearsal, I snapped my groin… I think on that movie I cranked my neck a few times, popped my shoulder out. That’s probably the most I’ve picked up injuries on a Marvel movie, due to the fact that there are a lot more stunts to rehearse, a lot more stunts to do, and a little bit of being unlucky with a couple of landings and tweaks I picked up. That’s the nature of the beast. We spend as much time in rehearsal as possible, breaking it down and making sure it’s as safe as possible before we take the mats out. The stunt team are all working together to make sure it looks great, but it’s repeatable and safe. That’s why we’re on the movie 10-12 weeks prior. I’ve picked up injuries along the way but it’s part of the job.

What was the most memorable part of working on Endgame?
I think just being surrounded by so many A-list movie stars and so many superheroes all under one roof. The end battle is incredible, all these actors running next to each other and having little fight sequences with each other; Cap getting the hammer, and stuff like that. It was a great ending to a great team and a bunch of professional actors and actresses.

What has it been doubling for Thor and working alongside Chris Hemsworth for so long?
Chris and I have become very close as friends. We’re the same age, have the same sense of humor. We have a great laugh on set, and Chris is such a great guy. It’s been nearly seven years, so we’ve developed a very close relationship. Without being biased, I think Thor is one of the best characters, so hopefully they do continue [making Thor movies].


Glenn Foster: Double for Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

“They put the helmet on me, and I suddenly had a flashback to that moment as a kid of seeing Darth Vader helmeted, and I suddenly thought, ‘oh my goodness, this is that moment that I imagined as a kid.'”

Iron Man 2
(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)

What was the first Marvel movie you worked on?
Iron Man 2.

How did you get the job?
I was with Robert at that point. We had done Sherlock Holmes prior to that, and he expressed an interest in keeping me with him for whatever journey was in store for us. That was 10 years ago, so it’s kind of been a decade of craziness and an incredible life experience for me. We’ve done maybe seven Marvel films together? And a bunch of other different projects as well.

Is there a difference between doubling for Tony Stark and doubling for Iron Man?
Iron Man is a lot less quirky and fluid. Robert has a very unique way of moving and acting. Maybe it’s why he was so good as Chaplin. And then, an Iron Man-type movement is much more about being upright, more strident, more powerful. In a way, slightly more mechanized. In some instances, that was dictated by the amount of movement that the suits would allow. Earlier versions were actually very tricky to move in and see anything in.

What’s the craziest stunt you ever did for a Marvel movie?
For Iron Man 3, we were jumping off cranes. Those cranes were 300-, maybe 400-feet high. Launching yourself off the side of those was interesting. Definite leaps of faith, especially since it was all shot at night. You’re leaping into darkness and trusting that the various cables you’re attached to are going to do what they’re supposed to.

Got any MCU war stories?
I’ve certainly taken some knocks. Nothing that has particularly stopped me from continuing with a project. On all the Marvel projects, we’ve been very lucky in having had a good group of stunt engineering guys or girls. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be on those rigs or whatever it was and come out the other side.

Iron Man and Captain America
(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)

What was the most memorable part of working on Endgame?
The scene were Tony travels back in time and he’s dressed as a SWAT guy in the past, but [the 2012 version of him] is talking to Robert Redford. They did that whole sequence in the morning, and I was the [present-day Tony] in the background, in the SWAT gear, observing him while he went through this whole scene. It was sprung on me that for the afternoon’s work Robert [Downey Jr.] would be the guy in the SWAT gear, so they would do the close-up stuff on him, watching me, now perform that whole dialogue sequence. I essentially got to act on screen, with dialogue, not only with Chris Hemsworth, but with an absolute living icon, Robert Redford. That was incredibly memorable to me.

What has it mean to you to be part of the MCU for a decade?
I remember seeing a documentary about Star Wars as a kid, and they showed Darth Vader without a mask. I remember thinking, “that would be the coolest job ever. To be a character like that, and to actually be the guy in the mask, to be that iconic, awe-inspiring character.” I came to do Iron Man 2, and they told me I was going to wear the suit, and the first time I ever put it on, it was for a sequence where there’s a party in Tony’s house. They put the helmet on me, and I suddenly had a flashback to that moment as a kid of seeing Darth Vader helmeted, and I suddenly thought, “oh my goodness, this is that moment that I imagined as a kid.”


Loyd Bateman: Double for The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

“These large chunks of foam that you’d have to wear in order to make parts of your body the correct size — that makes it tricky.”

Hulk, Infinity War Poster
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios)

What was the first Marvel movie you worked on?
I actually have only done Infinity War and Endgame.

How did you get the job?
I’ve been working in film for almost 20 years now, doing stunts and etcetera. I sent a short reel of some of the things that I’ve done, including a short film that I made for my son called Zarg Attack!. He wanted to fight a giant robot. I did a stop-motion animation robot and made it attack him. I think it’s that clip that landed me the job, between that and my performance stuff.

What was it like meeting Mark Ruffalo for the first time?
Mark was really sweet. It was early 2017 when we started to do some of the motion-capture stuff for Infinity War. Right out of the gate he was very friendly, very sweet, very open. Talked a little bit about how he was playing about it, the character. I brought some of my ideas to the table, and he was really open and receptive.

What’s the difference between doubling for Bruce Banner and for the Hulk?
If I’m completely honest, I’m physically larger and, I daresay, a hair more muscular than Mark, so I actually didn’t do any of the Bruce Banner stuff. I did all the motion capture stuff for the Hulk, and for smart-Hulk.

While wearing the motion-capture suit, did you also have a fake head on a stick, like the ones Josh Brolin wore as Thanos?
We did from time to time, just as a height reference, but often if we were being really physical, it would just break. We would take it off to do what we needed to do. Also, often the character would be fighting other characters of equivalent size, so it was less tricky. Thanos would often be fighting human-sized characters, so there were eyeline issues all the time and size issues.

Avengers Endgame
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios)

Did the motion-capture nature of the character make doing the stunts more complicated?
It was a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can wear as much padding as you wanted. You could be as safe as you needed. Sometimes, though, with all the extra gear on — like height offsets or these large chunks of foam that you’d have to wear in order to make parts of your body the correct size — that makes it tricky. Other than that, not too difficult.

What was the craziest stunt you’ve done for a Marvel movie?
The stunts weren’t physically that huge for my character. The more complex stuff was fight choreography, really. For this particular character, any of the explosions or huge falls he would have to do, they would just do it completely with computers. It’s a magic show. It’s a lot of trickery. We got to have fun, be safe, and do things that were spectacular at the same time.

Did you ever get injured?
We always get bumps and bruises. I don’t mean to put my experience too lightly. Obviously the human characters who are acting with real practical walls and windows and things are going to have a much harder time, but I still did a certain amount of getting kicked and punched backwards, landing on things, all that sort of stuff.

What was the most memorable part of working on Endgame?
Watching the finished film in the theater, I think was the most memorable to me, because seeing it all come together after all that time and all that effort, how hard everyone worked, everyone putting their heart and soul into it. Seeing it all come together and getting to watch it with a group of people was actually made it was the most memorable thing. It was fantastic.


Daniel Hargrave: Double for Captain America (Chris Evans)

“That ‘America’s ass’ shot, when he’s on the ground, was shot during additional photography – that was all Chris Evans.”

Captain America, The Winter Soldier
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios)

What was the first Marvel movie you worked on?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

How did you get the job?
My brother Sam had doubled Chris Evans for the whole movie, and they were going to do some additional photography. Sam and I were actually working on The Hunger Games, and he had a long beard and he didn’t feel like shaving for a couple days of reshoots so he volunteered me. I went out there and doubled Chris for one scene.

What was it like meeting Chris Evans for the first time?
He was super nice. My brother had a good relationship with Chris, and he was very cordial and nice to me. Of course, he expected me to be like my brother and perform at a higher level, so it was a little pressure, first time meeting him, but he was a very nice guy.

What’s the craziest stunt you’ve ever done for a Marvel movie?
In Endgame, when my brother and me were both doubling Cap for the “Cap versus Cap” scene. There was the double stair fall, where we both ran and jumped off of a platform down the stairs at the same time, and went crashing down the stairs and off the edge into a box catcher, and then they hoisted us up. It was a throwback to when we were little kids on the farm, we used to make little videos. Kinda funny, now 25 years later, we’re doing it on the big screen for one of the biggest movies in the world. It was awesome, a dream come true.

 

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Above: Hargrave while shooting the Wakanda battle in Infinity War (courtesy @fiercelotus).

Have you ever gotten injured working on a Marvel movie?
Nothing too crazy. I was injured in Infinity War, pulled a hamstring and had a little minor shoulder separation, but they were both my fault. During the battle entrance run, when Cap and Black Panther lead the charge, I was on a wire rig that was pulling me about 22 miles per hour. On the sixth take, I kind of stumbled, stubbed my toe and overextended my hamstring. That’s about all though. Everybody’s super safe.

What was the most memorable part of working on Endgame?
When Cap is able to finally wield Thor’s hammer. Being part of that scene, even talking about it still gives me chills, but just being there, and being part of that was the most memorable and probably my favorite. Fighting with the shield and the hammer was unbelievable. It was really something special

How does it feel to have doubled for “America’s ass?”
That was actually Chris’s ass [laughs]. That “America’s ass” shot, when he’s on the ground, was shot during additional photography – that was all Chris Evans. I was coordinating on a different shoot when they did that, so I was unavailable. But, the rest of it, yeah, maybe I’ll take a little bit of credit for some behind shots of me.


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