Faculty Member Joe Travers is Stunt Coordinator for 'The Depths'
April 30, 2018
Faculty member Joe Travers has created hundreds of fights, stunts and action sequences, from fistfights and duels to brawls and battles, on stage and on screen. His work has been seen at Playwrights Horizons, Irish Repertory Theatre, Primary Stages, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Seaside Music Theatre, abroad at the Shanghai International Experimental Theatre Festival and on tour with the National Shakespeare Company. Most recently, Joe was stunt coordinator for the film The Depths and served also as stunt coordinator and sword master for the fantasy epic Tower of Silence.
We talked with Joe about The Depths and his role as fight director.
What's the most exciting part of your job?
I've been lucky enough to stage a wide variety of contemporary and period fight scenes with various weapons (whether one-on-one fights or skirmishes and battles), and that is a continuous thrill. Still, I'd have to say the most exciting part is always the moment when an actor really connects with the physicality of the character, the way the character fights and moves. Then the choreography really becomes a story. I love being part of that moment.
What's the main difference between working in theatre versus film?
Theatre and film are each demanding in their own unique way. Choreographically, fights on stage need to lead and direct the attention of the audience in ways the camera and the editor will often do for you on film. And fights on film demand a different kind of stamina and precision than those on stage, while also requiring a great deal of flexibility - one change of camera angle can change a lot about how the fight must be performed.
Tell us more about your role as a stunt coordinator in the film The Depths. How was that experience?
Stunt coordinating Jamison LoCascio's The Depths was a wonderfully intense process. We had one long day together, cast and crew, in a small apartment, to create a knock-down drag-out fight between the two leads, played by Michael Rispoli and Patch Darragh. We used every inch of the place, floor, walls, furniture. They did all their own fight and stunt work, and positive attitudes and creative input were invaluable. Jamison's experience with guerrilla film-making and his boundless energy meant we were all up and focussed the whole time, changing setups and angles frequently. I had a blast, and the film (and the fight!) came out beautifully. After a round on the festival circuit, it's just been released on amazon and iTunes! Check it out!
You can watch The Depths trailer here.