[Article] THE PRINCESS & Its Most Difficult Action Sequence

[Article] THE PRINCESS & Its Most Difficult Action Sequence
Courtesy 20th Century Studios
The world needs more grounded kickass princesses. Part of this is because, historically, there were just a lot of badly “misbehaving” princesses who frequently pushed against expectations. The idea of a strong powerful princess resonates with many. With the arrival tomorrow of 20th Century Studios’ THE PRINCESS, viewers will be getting a kickass princess onscreen who is not only strong but vulnerable. She quite literally is in for the fight of her life as she tiredly battles her way through her besieged castle. And, the action in this film is where it is at!

An action-packed fight to the death set in a fairy tale world, THE PRINCESS is directed by Le-Van Kiet (Furie, The Requin) and stars Emmy Award® nominee Joey King (“The Act,” The Kissing Booth) as a beautiful, strong-willed princess who refuses to wed the cruel sociopath to whom she is betrothed, and is kidnapped and locked in a remote tower of her father’s castle. With her scorned, vindictive suitor intent on taking her father’s throne, the princess must protect her family and save the kingdom.

Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings took part in the global press conference for the upcoming film release of THE PRINCESS. Moderating the conference was Morgan Hoffman of ET Canada, and attending the conference was director Le-Van Kiet, actor/Executive Producer Joey King, and actor Veronica Ngo (The Old Guard, Tam Cam: The Untold).

The primary driving force of THE PRINCESS is its action scenes. The film itself is one fighting sequence after another after another. And, as was discovered during the press conference, Joey King was actually heavily involved with the physical sequences. In what is her most physically demanding role to date, King is almost in every scene, and the bulk of the scenes, she’s doing some level of fight choreography and stuntwork. This is why when asked by Hoffman what her overall experience was like filming THE PRINCESS, it makes so much sense that King responded: “Exhausting.” Those fight scenes are no joke.

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When it came down to the action scenes, one particular scene proved to be universally tough for both King and Ngo. And it might not be the one that viewers would think. During the conference, an audience member asked which scene was the most difficult for King to tackle, and she answered:

“It was actually a scene with Veronica. It was in the woods. We had a flashback sequence of us fighting together. And the reason why that was the most challenging scene is ’cause I don’t think we actually stopped fighting for 12 hours. All the cameras were kind of already where they needed to be, and we would just kind of move them around us. If I remember correctly, we wouldn’t cut sometimes. We’d just go right into another take and just keep fighting. And I was wearing leather pants. I think I lost five pounds of water weight that day. I was so tired.  I went home and I Theragunned my whole body, and  I was crying. [laughs] Oh, that was a hard day.”

Ngo agreed with King that this was the most difficult scene, but there was an additional layer of stress involved for Ngo. One that many don’t oftentimes think about when it comes to what all goes into prepping these types of action-based scenes:

“I was very concerned when I came into a fight scene with another actress, ’cause, we need a lot of training. It’s better for me to fight with a stunt person.  It’s easier, ’cause I know they can take a lot, and then I can really kick and punch as hard as I [can].

But fighting with another actress gives me a lot of stress. But Joey, she came in [committed] and I saw her training and we trained together. We felt confident. And again, when you’re on set, the stress is there, and the people and the camera and the actions go on. It’s a lot of stress to carry. But I’m super proud of how we pulled it out. The scene, it’s amazing. It looks really real. And for you to see that, you will see us fighting together. Not like on one side or the other side. We were [fighting] in a wide shot.”

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The biggest surprise, though, from this exchange was the reveal that there was an injury that took place during the lengthy filming of this particular scene. After Ngo was done explaining the difficulties of shooting the sequence, King pointed out that there was actually something that happened while they were shooting that day that she still felt incredibly guilty about:

“I hurt Veronica’s finger so bad that day. I accidentally hit her super hard with the sword, and her finger was bleeding so bad. I felt so bad. But again, she’s so amazing. She’s so professional. She wasn’t head shy the next time we went into it. It was a hard day for many reasons, but also, some mistakes were made on my end, and I wound up hurting her, and I felt so guilty.  But she was amazing about it.”

Kiet added his two cents in about that day, revealing that it actually was pretty bad. This considering that both Kiet and Ngo have worked together on a couple of films together at this point:

“It was actually bad, ’cause I came to Veronica and  I looked at her knuckles, and they literally looked like she was in a brawl. And she just looked up to me, she’s like, it’s okay.  It’s all right. We’ve been through this before, right?  And so I was with Joey. I was like, “Joey, don’t worry. These things happen. It’s an action movie.” But a  lot of this speaks to who stepped up, because Veronica is right. Our camera coverage was special for this scene because of the way it’s designed in the movie and the way it’s stylized. We couldn’t shoot it [with] a stunt double. So these two, I just can’t speak enough. I  hope they keep that. I mean, Veronica, no problem, but  Joey’s a pro now. She’s gonna just be like, yeah, I got it. “

A lot of preparation and training is involved leading up to shooting these sequences. However, injuries can happen. It’s something that is prepared for because accidents are a hazard of the job. That said, the behind-the-scenes stories surrounding this flashback fighting sequence add an extra weight to all of the hard work this trio (as well as the rest of the cast and crew) put into bringing the action-packed THE PRINCESS to life for the screen.

THE PRINCESS will stream on July 1, 2022, exclusively on Disney’s direct-to-consumer platforms: on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.

Sarah Musnicky
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