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Warning: SPOILERS for Sonic the Hedgehog are ahead!
During Sonic the Hedgehog, while the eponymous protagonist and his human pal, Sheriff Tom Wachowski, are on the run from Dr. Robotnik, the duo end up at a roadside bar to relax a little bit and cross some things off Sonic’s bucket list. Eventually though, a bar fight breaks out, one which Sonic puts an end to using his super speed.
The Sonic the Hedgehog bar fight was reminiscent of Quicksilver’s memorable scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, with both speedy protagonists getting into shenanigans while everything around them moved in slow motion. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with James Marsden, who played Tom Wachowski, about his time on Sonic, and when I asked what the process of shooting this particular scene was like on his end, he responded:
Not understanding the technology and just saying, ‘Just tell me what I need to do and how to stand and how long to hold my breath and how I long I can’t blink for.’ A lot of times I’ll go in and try to understand. ‘Okay, how is this going to cut together?’ Jeff Fowler was like, ‘Just trust me. Stand here, hold this beer.’ So it was very technical, but you knew you were being part of a sequence that was ultimately going to work and be cool. It was one of those things where I was like, ’This isn’t my wheelhouse, so I’m gonna let the real nerds step in and show me how this is shot.’ Because this is definitely not something actors are used to. We’re used to trying to get scenes to come to life with dialogue and eye contact and movement, and this was definitely like, ‘Okay, you’re a pawn in this big, fun thing that they’re putting together.’ So it was cool.
It’s one thing for an actor to properly prepare for acting in regular scenes, but for a highly technical scene like Sonic the Hedgehog’s bar fight, I can’t blame James Marsden for feeling baffled. In cases like these, it’s best for the actor to just let the director and the other experienced behind-the-camera people guide them on how they need to be positioned, how long they need to hold still for, etc. It’s the postproduction people who will later work their VFX magic to bring this scene to life.
You can see how Sonic the Hedgehog’s completed bar fight turned out with the below clip:
Despite not fully understanding the process of putting together this scene, James Marsden is still fascinated by the technical work that goes into making blockbusters like Sonic the Hedgehog, saying:
There’s a whole big, technical element to making these kinds of movies. I’m kind of fascinated with that side of it, the sort of convergence of digital vs. live action. And gaming mixed with live action, I think you’re seeing a lot of that more and it’s pretty cool to see where all this entertainment world goes.
Although its time in theaters was cut short by current events (resulting it also not opening in China and Japan), Sonic the Hedgehog nonetheless had a strong commercial run. It’s made over $306 million worldwide and is now the highest-grossing video game adaptation in the United States.
Officially speaking, Paramount Pictures hasn’t announced yet if Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is on the way. That said, Sonic did include an after-credits scene that set the stage for a follow-up, and James Marsden said last month that he’s signed on for multiple sequels. So stay tuned to CinemaBlend for what’s coming up next for the Sega character in the cinematic realm.