Speaking to Men's Journal, stunt supervisor Zoë Bell and fighter coordinator Rob Alonzo explain how they worked with Pitt on the set of 'Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood' to make sure he was ready to tackle any fighting scenes that came his way.
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Bell, a former stunt actor, previously worked with Tarantino in the Kill Bill franchise and understood the efforts the critically acclaimed director demanded.
As part of the role, Pitt learned as much martial arts as he had time for to ensure the fight scenes were as authentic as possible.
“I didn’t want him just going through the motions,” Alonzo says.
“I knew that if Brad learned the principles of martial arts—like timing, spacial awareness, and range—he would be able to flow in the scenes much more naturally, like a real fighter would.”
At the start of every session, the pair worked on injury prevention and Pitt's flexibility using a dynamic warmup flow. Drawing from foundational martial arts positions, Alonzo labels the routine,“yoga for combat”.
“It’s more than a warmup or a stretch,” Alonzo continues.
“It was a way for him to prepare mentally, and it’s also great for conditioning. If you’re doing it right, you’re sweating by the end.”
In the film, Pitt plays Cliff Booth, a World War II veteran well-versed in knife work and close-quarters combat. As a result Alonzo concentrated on Filipino martial arts.
“Brad loved getting into the Filipino stick work,” Alonzo adds.
“It was a great way to practice blade awareness.”
The two also incorporated other forms of close combat in Pitt's training. And It was clear that Pitt hadn't lost his touch from his work in Fight club nearly 20 years ago.
“I was impressed with his combos,” Alonzo mentions.
Looks like Brad Pitt hasn't lost his touch.