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How Stargate Atlantis Made an Aquaman Out of Momoa | Companion Update 9

Stunt choreographer turned director James ‘Bam Bam’ Bamford has a résumé that reads like a superhero finishing school. From early credits as a stuntman on the X-Men movies to his long association as fight coordinator and then director on The CW’s Arrow (2012-2020), Bamford has taken punches for Wolverine and taught Green Arrow how to throw them.

Bamford appears as a special guest on our new podcast, Gaters Gonna Rate with Joseph Mallozzi, to discuss his work as stunt co-ordinator on Stargate Atlantis which made three of the five top spots in our countdown through Stargate’s best hand-to-hand combat scenes, as chosen by you. (No spoilers, you’ll have to wait for the episode to drop so subscribe here and give us a rating!)

For the show’s second season, the cast was joined by the 26-year old Jason Momoa who is now petty much Hollywood’s go-to-guy for low-tech/high aggression warriors like Conan the Barbarian, Khal Drogo, the trident-swirling Aquaman, and of course SGA’s resident bad-ass, Ronon Dex. It’s sometimes tough to remember that before Atlantis, Momoa was best known for spending two years on Baywatch

“Jason hadn’t thrown a punch – ever – when I met him,” Bamford tells Mallozzi on the podcast. “It’s the same thing we did with Stephen Amell [Oliver Queen in Arrow], it’s the same method that I’d apply to any actor who wasn’t a martial artist.”

The ‘Bamford method’, which he proudly describes as “experimental” tailored the character’s fighting style towards the actor’s strengths, and “pushed him to the limit” to fight in double-time with his Satedan sword at a pace common to Hong Kong martial arts cinema – and all but new to North American filmmaking.  After four years working together, the young Baywatch star who hadn’t thrown a punch had become a superhero-in-waiting, ready to go from Stargate Atlantis to Monarch of Atlantis.

“Jason would quite often, even if we were going with what I like to call ‘slow with flow’ pace to smooth it out to begin with [in rehearsals], ramp it up pretty quickly, which is key from taking a fight sequence to looking like it’s choreography into the position where it looks like an actual fight. The timing, the speed, and aggression – Momoa would immediately apply all those things so if you put somebody in ‘the ring’ with him – they better be ready to go.”

The full episode of Gaters Gonna Rate with Joseph Mallozzi drops Tuesday, but we’ve got a little teaser trailer with your name on it right here. Subscribe and rate to make sure you don’t miss out!


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James Hoare is editor of The Companion. He has been “working in publishing” since the early 1990s when he made his own Doctor Who fanzine to sell in the school playground.

You can find him on Twitter @JDHoare


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