Published May 19, 2023

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’: Creating the ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ Fight Scene

“This was just a labor of love and passion for everybody on this set."

guardians of the galaxy

No sleep till the Guardians of the Galaxy save the galaxy…again.

In Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the band of misfits must fight to save one of their own and in the process, you know, defend the galaxy. This all culminates in an epic showdown between the Guardians and their latest adversary, The High Evolutionary, as the heroes must fight their way back onto his ship to defeat him once and for all. Though bruised, battered, and definitely tired, the Guardians know this is a fight they must face head-on, and slowly march toward the imminent brawl.

That’s when the Beastie Boys' “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” kicks in, a highlight from the film’s soundtrack and a needle drop writer and director James Gunn calls one of his favorite moments in the film — and it’s only just begun. What follows is a fight scene between the Guardians and The High Evolutionary’s henchmen, the Hell Spawn, which fulfills a shot Gunn has been trying to make happen since the first Guardians film.

In the first film, Gunn wanted to do a long one-take hallway fight scene and while he planned it all out with the stunt coordinator it was a little too complicated for the actors to accomplish day-of.

“I'm standing there with Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt. And Chris and Dave look over me, and they're like, James, we've never seen this scene,” Gunn recalls to “I'm like, what? And they're like, ‘We've never seen this scene. We never rehearsed this scene. You can't have an actor come on and just do a scene as complicated as that.’ So, this is making up for that in spades.”

Teaming up with stunt coordinator Heidi Moneymaker and co-stunt coordinator Wayne Dalglish, Gunn and the team spent “months and months of planning and figuring out each and every shot and each and every move.”

“James wanted to showcase a couple beats from each character, and it flows from character to character to character,” Dalglish explains. “We thought it was fun, interesting, and entertaining which is what James wanted because it was a showcase for all of them. Once they do it, it comes to life.”

“This was just a labor of love and passion for everybody on this set,” Moneymaker adds. “We had been planning it and working it out and redoing it and redoing it for like 6 months. The action’s really cool. The way that it’s shot is incredible. All the actors are involved doing just amazing things in that big fight.”

While it’s not technically a one-take shot, it appears that way to viewers as the action fluidly jumps from one Guardian to the next as they take out every Hell Spawn they meet in the hallway. The action flows seamlessly together, giving everyone a chance to shine — and kick some major Hell Spawn butt.

Gunn singles out Pratt for this scene, explaining “It’s pretty amazing with what he does. All that stuff is actually him, where he’s rolling around and all of that.”

guardians of the galaxy

Star Pratt is excited to share that he does just about all his own stunts, but he does have a stunt double who he works closely with to help choreograph everything to make it look amazing on screen.

“Even when I'm doing my own stunts— I do them all, but [stunt double] Chris Romrell is the one who does the choreography and does the reps to get it right because it's not only a dance of an actor doing a stunt, it's an actor doing a stunt in a sequence that's very camera-specific.”

And this fight scene is maybe the most camera-specific scene in the entire movie, considering it’s floating around the actors and the action. “There's a bit of dance to these stunt sequences that it's not just about raising your gun and shooting someone,” Pratt continues. “It's about presenting the gun, putting your body in a perfect posture, pulling the trigger at just the right time as the camera's moving past you.”

Karen Gillan also found herself dancing around the cameras, too. “You need to be on your mark…the camera operator was attached to wires and flying around the room, literally, grabbing shots, and so if I was in the wrong place, there would have been a collision.”

Calling it the “most intricate fight scene I’ve ever done,” Gillan knew while they were filming they were creating something special.

“We just had so much fun with it. Nebula’s whole body breaks and she's still fighting, and I thought, that's one of the more original moments I've ever seen in a fight sequence.”

Nebula breaking was also more practical than viewers might realize, as Gillan is game to contort her body trying to recreate the effect as much as possible. One scene, in particular, stands out, where Nebula’s neck cracks (But don’t worry! She’s fine!)

“Whenever I'm doing any scenes where Nebula's body is broken and twisted in awkward ways, I basically do as much as I can for real, and then they enhance it with VFX,” She continues. “I will literally get into awkward positions so there's a little more practical stuff to it than you would imagine. For my head to go back, I just literally had to put it as far back as I could, and then I was fighting with my neck as loose as I could. Yeah, I got some weird muscle pains after that one, for sure."

And while all the Guardians are there, not all of them are jumping around in-person for the action. Even though Rocket’s fighting in the scene, it’s one of the few times Sean Gunn doesn’t step in to do the reference for the character, because as he jokes, “I can't do that stuff. That's a good example of where I need to step back and, like, let the visual effects team take over. As Rocket, I'm not really getting up on the wires and doing the things.”

However, watching from the sidelines, he knew something special was happening. “I didn't really see it until after James shot it. And he showed it to me, and then I was like, whoa.”

Whoa is right. As Pratt adds, “It was frustrating. It was grueling. And ultimately, it looks incredible.”

Save the galaxy, again. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing exclusively in theaters. Get your tickets today!


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