Women have been kicking a lot more ass on-screen lately—and it’s about time. Carrie Fisher and Robin Wright have gone from princesses to generals. Female action stars are, for lack of a better term, killing it. I was thrilled while watching Atomic Blonde, which stars Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, a lethal spy in Russia during the Cold War. Lorraine action heroes her way through Berlin to an impeccable '80s soundtrack. It's amazing not only to see this sexy, strong female spy do sexy, strong female spy things, but also to know Charlize does most of her own fighting.
Naturally, when I had the opportunity to train with the film's actual stunt coordinator, Sam Hargrave, and the director, David Leitch, I immediately cancelled all my plans for Saturday. (That’s a lie, I had no plans because I'm a homebody, but had I had plans I definitely would have abandoned them in favor of this.)
We live in a time of Lorrianes and Reys and General Organas—there aren’t enough praise hands emojis to accurately reflect my feelings about this, so I will spare you and instead tell you some cool things I learned.
Sam tells me that Charlize did 98% of her own fighting in the film. David adds that she trained for hours a day for the role—and her dedication made her able to adapt quickly to changes in the choreography, like when they changed one of the scenes from a simple poisoning to one with more action. To get a taste of what it was like, they—along with a few other stuntmen—taught me choreography for my very own fight scene. Here's what happened.