At the London press junket for Elizabeth Banks’ new Charlie’s Angels movie, I sat down with stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska to talk real-life spy skills, wardrobe (my God, the wardrobe) and on-set injuries. Notably, how Kristen Stewart was almost seriously “hurt” while filming one particularly explosive action scene.
I’m really not surprised there were a few scrapes and bruises on set, though, as this is a no holds barred revival if ever there was one.
Charlie’s Angels high-kicks/cartwheels/backflips its way into UK cinemas this weekend, after a somewhat underwhelming opening in the US.
The latest revival sees the next generation of Charlie’s Angels take flight with Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, Aladdin’s Naomi Scott and newbie Ella Balinska rising from the ashes left behind by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu almost two decades ago.
In Elizabeth Banks’ bold vision, Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. There are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys (one of which is played by Banks) taking on the toughest jobs everywhere.
We eventually meet Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), a brilliant scientist and engineer who has created a sustainable energy source designed to revolutionise the way the world powers things . When her bosses rush her invention to market, she warns them there is a flaw in the system – in the wrong hands, it can be used as deadly weapon. Elena turns to the Townsend Agency for help, which is where her journey kicks off.
Upon leaving a screening of the film I had three main thoughts. One: “That kicked a*se”. Two: “F*ck me, those girls got thrown around a lot”. Three: “There must’ve been more wigs on this set that in the Drag Race UK Werk Room”.
Everything certainly packs more of a punch twenty years later; the hits are harder, the damage count is doubled and the bangs are bigger. Just to stress, these 2019 Angels would beat the sh*t out of you with harps if they had them.
“In this film, we definitely feel the weight of gravity! We jump and we fall”, said Ella Balinska.
“We’ve got the bruises to prove it”, added Naomi Scott.
Naturally, I had to ask the girls about on-set injuries, and during a quick chin-wag about getting blow-up a lot, Ella recalls one particular scene when the three stars were being pulled by a rope to create the illusion that an explosion had sent them flying (and not in the camp ’00s Charlie’s Angels way you’re imagining).
Kristen explained how she got fully “pulled off the mat” during one particular take for this scene, to which Naomi responded:
“Yeah, that was really, really dangerous”.
“I was like: ‘You could’ve really, really hurt me there, you know?’ I was chill about it, but… “
The stars joked about how the incident was so bad that Kristen (being the star that she is) could’ve had a real Mariah moment on set. Naomi said with a cheeky smile:
“You could’ve gone all diva on them!
“It looked crazy. I remember everyone thought you [to Kristen] were really, really hurt in that moment. You played it cool.”
To which the high-flying Twilight star jokingly added:
“Yeah, I really could’ve made a thing.
“I brushed it off. I didn’t want to make a big thing. A normal actor – I don’t want to say ‘actress’ and make girls sound like wimps – but most people would’ve been like: ‘That is not okay!’ I was like: ‘It’s cool… can we just not do that again?’ They were like: ‘Might have to go again’. Umm, no.”
The good news is, Kristen wasn’t injured and was just playing cool AF during our interview.
Some people just make you feel very uncool, you know?
I was personally so ready for some 2019 Angel action. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle – my absolute go-to hangover movie and one of the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures – was released in 2003, and the last 16 years have just felt cold and empty.
In all seriousness, I’ve always been drawn to films and television shows that showcase strong women that kick as much – if not more – a*s as men.
Growing up as a closeted gay boy, I found no comfort in strong male role models in the media (tbh, there just weren’t any). It was strong female characters like Buffy Summers, Sydney Bristow, the Halliwell sisters and Charlie’s Angels that fed me the strength I needed to stay resilient against the men that made me a victim.
It sounds cheesy, but I owe everything to strong women and I know how important that visibility in the media is.
And these new Angels are definitely kicking a*s for those who wish they could, so I say bravo, director and all-round star, Elizabeth Banks. Who gives a sh*t about what the haters say. There are so few decent films with multiple female leads out there and there are people in the world who I know will benefit from seeing the strength in this film.
They might’ve been falling hard on set, but here’s hoping these Angels fly high at the UK box office this weekend.
Charlie’s Angels flies into UK cinemas Friday 29th November.
Images via Getty, Sony and Columbia Pictures
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow