Chaos Walking (2021)
All horseback riders were stunt riders or experienced actors who were skilled at riding, mounting and dismounting. All running/galloping scenes were well choreographed, and actors used caution while on and near animals. The horse(s) rearing was a trained behavior. The horses were specially trained “falling horses” and “lay down horses” that fell on cue onto a soft landing area. When teams of horses pulled wagons or carriages, the drivers were experienced and teams of horses were familiar with each other and accustomed to the pulling action. Whenever horses were seen tied to posts/fences, they were attached to lead ropes tied to posts.
In the opening when the actor walks through the woods with a dog barking at him, the dog was brought to the set by the trainer, who introduced him to the actor. On action, the trainer cued the dog to follow the actor. When the actor walks into the village and the dog runs ahead of him, the trainer also stood behind the camera and cued the dog to run towards him.
Throughout the film, the main actor has a dog, who is seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running on or off leash. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action, which the trained dog was accustomed to performing. The barking/growling was also a trained behavior.
In the scene when the actors are in the forest and the men on horseback approach them, wranglers brought trained horses to set. Wranglers were also in costume.
In the scene when the men ride after the girl on horseback, prior to shooting, the path was checked for safety by AH rep and trainers. Location was on private resort with little or no traffic and not filmed on any main roads but back into the forest. The wranglers had been working with the actors giving them riding lessons and teaching them how to work around horses for months prior to start of production.
In the scene when a hole gets blown in a saloon’s wall and the men ride out of the village in a hurry, the horses were conditioned to the special effects and explosions and had cotton in their ears.
When the actors on horseback surround the kid in forest, the horses were ridden by stunt riders and actors in costume gallop up a moderate hill and stop at the top of the hill, which is in front of the farm house. In the same scene when the man is shot off his horse, the man was trained to fall off the horse.
In the scene when the actor on horseback falls off cliff, and his horse is injured and can’t get up, a stunt rider rode primarily today but for the last scene.
The horses had also been on this set previously and appeared accustomed to working as a group. The horses willingly did the action required of them and appeared well trained and calm at all times and extremely tolerant of equipment and crew activity.
All horses and tack appeared in good condition, and the horses were shod. These animals appeared adequately fit for the work required as no excessive sweating or increased prolonged high respiratory rates were observed. In addition, the riders always got feedback from the crew and several open discussions with crew, stunt riders and wranglers about the action required was the norm for this set before retakes were done.
The lead horse rehearsed but at reduced speed. When requested stunt riders were also allowed to walk the course and/or do practice sessions. A real horse never fell down a hill; a large model horse was used for blocking and will be used for CGI of horse fall. Trainers laid horse down on his side, and actor used a fake, rubber knife to cut horse’s neck. He actually never touched horse’s neck with fake blade.
In the scene when the kid falls in the water with the dog, in the first half of the scene the actor is holding the dog, but when he falls in the water he’s holding a fake dog. When the kid fights a monster in the water and the dog barks at them, the trainer cued the dog to bark at him behind the camera.
In the scene when the dogs bark at each other on the airstrip, the dogs were led to set with collar and leashes on by trainers. All collars and leashes were removed for the scenes. Chickens were carried to their position by the hay stack by trainers/wranglers. On action the trainers cued the dogs to bark at each other.
When the men invade the village and shoot at everyone, the blanks in the guns followed American Humane guidelines, and the horses were trained to be around gunfire.
In the scene where the man drowns the dog, the man was never holding a live dog, it was done through CGI.