Wayne Dalglish and Gaston Morrison interview: ‘Peacemaker’ stunt coordinators
“There’s different directors that are like, ‘hey go for it,’ and then there’s directors like James,” reveals stunt coordinator Wayne Dalglish about the close collaboration between the expert stunt team and creator and showrunner James Gunn on HBO Max’s “Peacemaker.” For our recent webchat, he adds that “he’s like ‘I want to see this person, this person, then this person do that, and then within that, have fun! He’s really great at what he does, so for me it’s a learning experience. I’ve worked for other directors and they’re just ‘here’s point A, and here’s the end, go for it,’ and I enjoy that too, so it’s fun both ways.”
The stunt work on “Peacemaker” is so extensive and complicated that Dalglish invited Gaston Morrison to join him as fellow stunt coordinator to divide and conquer the huge undertaking before them. “It’s really the business of smoke and mirrors,” Morrison suggests on the key technical components of great stunt work on a show like this, where the stunts are meticulously choreographed and then seamlessly woven into the high-octane action series. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“Peacemaker” was created by writer and director Gunn, who wrote all eight (and directed five) episodes of the outrageous action superhero comedy/drama, based on the DC Comics character of the same name, as a spin-off from his 2021 hit blockbuster “The Suicide Squad” in which John Cena co-starred as the cocky Christopher Smith (otherwise known as the titular superhero). “Peacemaker” is set after the events of the film, in which Cena reprises his role as the superhero with a heart of gold, alongside co-stars Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee and Robert Patrick.
Over eight glorious blood-splattered episodes, the series explores Peacemaker’s origin story, while also getting to know his newfound family of misfits who have uncovered a looming alien invasion by a race of parasitic butterfly alien invaders hell-bent on global domination. It’s a riotous adventure full of laughs and some unexpected heartfelt moments in between, culminating in an action-packed season finale full of eye-popping stunts designed and executed by Dalglish, Morrison and their team of stunt performers.
“We got really lucky with the cast on this because they’re all very athletic,” Morrison says. “The cast is very interested in rehearsals and getting the fights down, and being involved in as much of it as they could. That’s a really great thing to have when you’re shooting this type of project,” he adds. “The time we were allotted for rehearsals was critical, because we would have to set up the sequences, rehearse them, film them, take them back to James, tweak them, bring them back to the table, revamp them and bring them back,” Morrison explains. “Quite often on TV shows, we end up with compromised sequences because we don’t have the time to explore them, to execute them as they need to be done. But in this case, the studio was allowing us the ability to get a really great product and to be able to have the time and money and the resources to put together these fight sequences that came across on the screen.”