Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia Sinh and Richard Madden as Mason Kane in Citadel; all photos by Jonathan Prime/ Prime Video
Producers Joe and Anthony Russo's new Prime Video spy series Citadel pushes the limits with action sequences—which stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden largely performed themselves. Here, stunt coordinator James Young discusses the most challenging scenes and what impressed him most about Chopra Jonas and Madden's performances.
What drew you to this project?
Working with the Russos is always a blast. Their action is so much fun, so we were happy to come aboard. The scripts by David Weil got us excited and the premise was unique. To play action with characters that don’t remember who they were but embody the physical sense of their old memories was very fun.
What makes the stunt work on Citadel so cutting-edge and exciting?
Using the actors as much as possible. Priyanka and Richard really surrendered themselves to us to allow us to do some really fun action. It's better when you see it's the actors doing it.
Roland Moller and Richard Madden
What inspirations did you draw from for your work on Citadel?
No Country for Old Men was a good inspiration for us. It gave us more gritty and realistic combat performances from the actors over high-octane Marvel pieces, although we do have a tiny bit of that flavor through the series.
Which scenes were your favorites to work on, and why?
The Hunters Cabin scene at the start of Episode 2. It was a blast to create and run that scene with Priyanka and see how incredibly talented and driven she is. That scene was very difficult on many levels, made even more fun by a small, very hot space!
What was your process for devising stunts for Priyanka Chopra Jonas?
We design the scene with the characters in mind and once we have a template we work with Priyanka to add all the intricacies of her character. We love actors to bring a lot of character choices to an action scene and not just do choreography.
Which were some of her most challenging sequences, and how did you guide her through them?
The Hunter Cabin was very tough as it was a lot of work in a small space. The action is a lot more close-quarters and hands-on as opposed to throwing strikes. It takes lot out of you performing sequences like that. Priyanka was bringing such a great high-energy performance—we had to keep her energy up for the long three-day shoot. The train sequence had its challenges in tight spaces and fighting with heels and a dress. Luckily, Priyanka is a pro and great with action.
I read Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden performed most of their own stunts. What impressed you most about their capabilities?
Their willingness to trust us and dive into the craziness. It takes a lot to do action and it takes a lot of trust and energy. They went through everything we asked and kicked a lot of ass doing it. It was an absolute joy to work with them.