Several of the actors, including Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson, had fight training prior to the shoot. First, Akerman spent two months learning to be fierce from a former Navy SEAL. "It was all obstacle courses and dragging 50-pound weights and getting roped up to a fence and running and doing push-ups. Then we went on to Vancouver where we started training with Damon Caro ("300")," outlines Akerman, calling the experience "frustrating at times. It was as if I was a ballerina trying to do fight moves. It did not look tough at all!"
Wilson, who put on 25 pounds and added muscle to play Nite Owl, admits his martial arts skills are not up to par. "Luckily, we had a great team of doubles and fighters, though Damon wanted to use as much as he could of us." Fight sequences were shot with the actors and with the doubles so they could be edited together.
Jackie Earle Haley, a black belt in Kenpo, was exempt from the fight training but still had a double for the dangerous or tougher moves. Matthew Goode missed the fight lessons because he arrived late in Vancouver from the "Brideshead Revisited" set, but says that in the climactic confrontation, "quite a lot of that was me."
Morgan, who had to prepare for the opening brawl that took about a week to shoot, found fight training difficult. "I'm not a kid anymore. I was sore. I got a lot of bumps and bruises," he says. Learning to use a machine gun on several trips to a firing range was more fun, but it was of no help in the flamethrower scene.
In the Vietnam flashback, "Zack wanted me to keep the flamethrower on this guy for like 10 seconds, but I kept pulling up, thinking, 'I'm gonna kill this guy.' I kept having to redo it." So much gasoline had built up around him that flames came dangerously close. "It's coming right up my leg, and all I can think about is 'I can't ruin the costume so I'm gonna have to put it out myself.' It was a nightmare. But I kept the cigar lit the entire time!"