WHITE HOUSE DOWN
About the Stunts
Overseeing the stunts and fight sequences in the film was stunt coordinator John Stoneham Jr. "You always want the stunts to be a real thing and an art," explains Stoneham. "Our task on this show has been to keep the realism. Channing's got a really good eye for that -- he would say, 'Well, I wouldn't do that, this move doesn't make sense.' He had a lot of input in a lot of the fights, and he had a lot of great ideas."
Tatum's expertise as a dancer and innate athletic ability made him a natural for stunt work. "He has a certain skill level. It's his dancing background -- I think gymnasts and dancers usually make good stunt people," says Stoneham. "They're just body-aware, and they know where they are in the air. He's quick-learning, he's fast, and action-wise, he makes it really easy for all of us. We can frame the camera so that we can see his face because we know he can do it. It's great for the film."
But it's more than just know-how with Tatum. "He's almost indestructible," says Stoneham. "He did take after take. He had fight after fight, all back-to-back-to-back, and in a span of six or seven weeks. We had one scene on the rooftop; he's doing a fight, and it went for most of the day. Channing was the only guy that stayed fighting all day long. It was crazy. He went all day long. I didn't see him get winded."
"His commitment is remarkable," says Fischer. "He gave it his all. I remember one day, the guy did a back flip onto the floor window of the White House roof with Jason Clarke collapsing on top of him -- and he did it twice. He's a remarkable guy and an amazing actor."
Tatum wasn't the only actor up for an added challenge, as Jason Clarke went toe-to-toe with the lead. "Both Channing and I do a lot of our own stunts, and that was one of the exciting things about a film like this and a part like this," he says.
To train for the part, Clarke went to the experts. "There was a Special Forces guy that they brought in, and we did a lot of drills," he says. "You are never going to get to the level of a real SEAL or Delta Force guy, but we worked as hard as we could."
Clarke and Tatum did not pull any punches in this man-to-man slugfest. "They're big sequences," says Clarke. "One of the fight sequences is all in water and rain as the sprinkler system goes off. One is on the roof of the White House down to the green. It's the little things you don't think about at the time when they're blowing wind machines with dust and throwing debris at you -- you want to bring a sense of something fresh and exciting to the fight sequence."
"Both the fights are messy," continues Clarke. "It's a good old-fashioned smackdown. We had to throw it down, and we threw it down."
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