He had most of those lads throwing up he was working them so hard, ... We did basic strength and fitness training for about two hours ... and then we'd start choreographing all of the fight sequences and then we'd go into the afternoon and rehearse and then go out in the evening and start drinking, which is probably why the next morning people were throwing up.
You can go outside and have a straightener on the cobbles with your fists or you can go shoot kids, ... I've encountered the direct aftermath of gang activity in Venice [Beach] with my mum, walking down the street, where we got caught for 12 hours, we couldn't get my car out, because two kids had been shot dead and one of them had landed with his head touching the tire of my car.
I think we all kind of thought those would be the most fun, the fight scenes. And they were the most challenging. Physically exhausting and complicated and kind of very specific and intricate, so they just took a long time to film. I think that we all thought that we'd get to set, have a punch up and we'd get it on film and be wrapped, but it wasn't quite like that.
When you see them in the streets, they're very much just alcohol fueled madness. And none of these guys are trained fighters. There's very few prizefighters that go out and get involved in this. Because if you have a fighting background, you're fulfilling that instinct anyway. You don't need to go out looking for it on the streets. These are generally guys that just drink a lot of beer. It's more about actually adrenalin I think than the fighting itself. It's a huge adrenalin rush.
[There are several major fight scenes in the film, as Matt finds himself participating in an ever-escalating series of violent confrontations and Hunnam explained how much work went into these scenes.] It's really about trying to figure out how to make it look as messy and out of control as possible, while being absolutely in control. We really didn't have any casualties at all through the course of filming. A little nick and scratch here, but for the amount of volume of fighting that we did, it's pretty amazing how little. ... This is an amazing fight choreographer, actually an American guy came over called Pat Johnson. He was the number one guy in Chuck Norris' fight team and of 198 bare knuckle fights he had throughout his career, he won 196 in knockouts. So he was definitely very familiar with the world of fighting, but completely unfamiliar with the specific world of Hooligan fighting. So I spent a lot of time with him, and obviously Lexi did also, just watching all of the tapes of fights. And this was a huge challenge for him because there's nothing at all choreographed about these fights.
[Not surprisingly, a lot of preparation went into getting all of the actors playing the members of the firm ready for the fight scenes. Explained Wood,] I had to train a lot. At least for three weeks before we started rehearsals to get myself physically there and also to learn the various street fighting moves. It was physically demanding. It was definitely a challenge on that level. ... The training was incredible. We'd go and work out with Pat Johnson for four or five hours every day. He had most of those lads throwing up, he was working them so hard. We'd do basic strength and fitness training for about two hours and then we'd start choreographing the fight sequences. And then we'd go into the afternoon and rehearse, and then go out in the evening and start drinking? which is probably why the next morning people were throwing up.