In an early scene in the upcoming movie Atomic Blonde, part of which was revealed in a trailer, British spy Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) uses her red stiletto to attack some bad guys. She’s in a car and can sense that something is wrong, so she takes off her shoe and uses it to fend off the man sitting next to her. (And then, of course a bunch of other wild stuff happens.)
Atomic Blonde stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave told HelloGiggles that it was very important to bring a feminine perspective to the action sequence.
“A lot of times, you use the environment to your advantage,” he continued. “You have to take whatever advantage you can. In that instance, the weapon that she had available, something that seemed like it would be painful to utilize, was a stiletto heel. I believe it was Monique and Jon Valera, our assistant [stunt] coordinator and fight coordinator, respectively, who came up with this idea.”
But, this particular fight goes much deeper than using one’s resources.
Through using her heel in combat, Lorraine reminds us that women can be feminine and badass — at the same time. And she does that within the male-dominated genre that is action film, no less.
Hargrave confirmed that the filmmaking team intended to make a statement. “Once we were delving into it, we definitely did see that as a symbol for her,” he said. “The movie does make a feminist statement. It puts a female James Bond out there. It says, ‘Hey, women can do what men can do, and be just as badass.’ We tried to do that in a number of fights, actually.”
“In the apartment, with the hose fight, she’s in a miniskirt and thigh-high boots,” he continued. “We tried to say, ‘Let’s not make it obvious that she’s about to do an action scene and put her in jeans and some sneakers.’ What [some women] wear is very feminine and conducive to a lot of action. So we thought, how do we use that to our advantage and make a statement with the clothing she’s wearing. Or, in that example, the shoe, how do you use feminine ideals against, say, a male attacker?”
As for the shoe itself, costume designer Cindy Evans wanted a pop of color.
“I wanted a pop of crimson and knew [the shoes] would be heavily featured,” she wrote in an email to HelloGiggles. And that crimson does really pop against Lorraine’s stark, predominantly black and white palette. “The surprise for me was when Percival [James McAvoy] retrieves her shoe.” At the end of the sequence, Percival picks up Lorraine’s shoe and Lorraine, still on the defense, fires her gun at him. But, he doesn’t get hit — and he gives Lorraine her heel back.
Evans added of the power and significance of using the heel to defeat the opponent, “I love it in the context of a genre like this, why not? Lorraine is a powerful force in this film, she gets knocked around plenty, but it’s her resilience that wins in the end. It’s great to see women taking on these strong female characters and doing it so well.”
We could not agree more, and highly recommend Atomic Blonde, which is now in theaters!