There are a lot of fantastic action scenes in The King’s Man, and director Matthew Vaughn is always looking for new ways to push the envelope when it comes to his action scenes. While there are a lot of memorable ones, the one that stands out the most is the fight scene with Rhys Ifans as Rasputin. Ifans is already going so over the top with the role that he might as well be in a completely different movie from the rest of the cast, but they also decided to do something really fun with his fight scene; they incorporated Russian ballet. There are a lot of fight scenes that look more like dancing, but they tend to go toward women fighters, and to see this big bearded man doing a combination of ballet and swordsmanship is fascinating to watch. During the virtual press conference for The King’s Man, Ifans was asked about prepping for the scene and how it came to be.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Ifans said while leading off of a question to The King’s Man co-star Djimon Hounsou who is also in the fight scene. “Unlike Djimon [Hounsou], I was shall we say, an action virgin prior to this film. So, I would walk past gyms, and suddenly I found myself in one, readying myself. All of us had to get to a level of fitness, not just strength, but just stamina, to basically complete a working day. It took us about two to three weeks to complete that sequence. So we were working with a trainer, and with this brilliant stunt team, you know, initially trying to find a kind of language or a physical language, or a vernacular that was specific and unique to Rasputin. And then I remember Matthew [Vaughn], in yet another light bulb genius moment of his, came up with quite possibly one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard. He came into the stunt room one day, and he went, “Russian dancing, martial arts mix em up.” And what a challenge.”
“And between Matthew and us, and the stunt team, we arrived at this language with Rasputin, which is extraordinary,” Ifans continued, which you can see some of in a clip from The King’s Man below. “And, you know, for me in terms of how I wanted Rasputin to live within that physical world, is this sense that Rasputin had this looming hypnotic presence and in a sense, he has this dervish quality about him.”
“So the sense that he would dance his adversaries to death, that everyone Rasputin kills has a drunken smile on their face having been spun around the room, and then killed almost in rapture,” Ifans explained. “So all these elements came to play, and-and it was really a huge group effort. And it was really satisfying to see the end result, all of which was based on facts and elements of Rasputin that we knew to be true.”
It leads to one of the better fight scenes in the movie, and it certainly will be one of the scenes in The King’s Man that people will be talking about after the fact.
As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them. Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency in “The King’s Man.”
The King’s Man, directed by Matthew Vaughn, stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, with Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance. It will be released on December 22nd.