Nobody's Greg Rementer on Year's Best Action Flick and Bob Odenkirk, Action Superstar
Greg Rementer is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's top stuntmen. After serving as a stuntman on projects like Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther, Deadpool, Agents of SHIELD, Sons of Anarchy, Banshee, and The Walking Dead, Rementer switched to a role primarily behind cameras. That's led him to credits as the stunt coordinator on Hobbs & Shaw, The Mandalorian, and most recently, Bob Odenkirk's Nobody.
Written by Derek Kolstad — the same scribe behind the John Wick franchise — Nobody features Odenkirk as a retired assassin. He's left his life as a "fixer" behind to move out to the suburbs and start a family. It's that plot device that Rementer tells us drew him to the project in the first place.
"We're those guys. We're at home. I'm with my wife. I'm with my son. You know, we're all feeling maybe a hair mundane in our life and who better to play that then Bob Odenkirk, who reminds us of that everyday guy," the stunt coordinator tells us. "Who is by the way, far from the everyday guy. Bob Odenkirk is the wittiest guy I've ever met, extremely talented. And now that he does fight choreography, I'm like, 'Bob, what can't you do?'"
Keep scrolling to see our full chat with Rementer in support of Nobody, out on physical media release Tuesday, June 22nd.
ComicBook.com: Nobody, man. I'm telling you — Nobody is probably my favorite movie of 2021 so far.
Greg Rementer: I really appreciate that.
It's an incredible little feature, so let's talk that. You get the call to say, "Hey, you know what? We're working on a movie that's this, I call it a Wickian-type feature, but we have Bob Odenkirk in the lead role." What's what's your initial reaction like? No offense to Bob, but he's not the first person you think of when you think of mega-action superstar, right?
Absolutely. And again, you nailed it right on the head. I was finishing a movie that I was working that David Leitch was directing at the time. And his producing partner and wife, Kelly McCormick looked at me and said exactly that. We've got this thing that we were finishing up and she asked, "What are you doing after it? Check this out." Obviously, David co-directed the first John Wick, so this genre we understood and he said, "But it's Bob Odenkirk. And I said, "I would have never imagined you would have ever said that".
I can see where this could turn out great and the opposite. And what I didn't know was that Bob had already been training for more than a year with a stunt actor who I know very well. And I said, "Really? I'd love to see some footage". So I get in touch with this gentleman named Daniel Bernhardt, who is a well-known stunt actor, stunt performer, and fight coordinator.
He was one of the co-fight coordinators on Nobody. And I said, "I hear you've been training Bob. David and Kelly even spoke to me about Nobody. I'd love to see some footage of Bob."
He sends me this footage and he tells me they've been training for a year, year and a half, and they've become good friends. He just donates his time to Bob on a regular basis and they just train once or twice a week. Turns out, Bob is obsessed with physical training and stunt training and I'm like, "You've got to be kidding me."
He shows me these videos, and I say, "Okay, I'm in." Now I'm a hundred percent in because who doesn't want to see the opposite archetype that we all can connect with from Iowa, to Atlanta, to LA, to Montana? The guy that we are. We're those guys. We're at home. I'm with my wife. I'm with my son. You know, we're all feeling maybe a hair mundane in our life and who better to play that then Bob Odenkirk, who reminds us of that everyday guy. Who is by the way, far from the everyday guy. Bob Odenkirk is the wittiest guy I've ever met, extremely talented. And now that he does fight choreography, I'm like, "Bob, what can't you do?"
But he worked extremely, extremely hard to get where he was at on his own time, on his own dime. Daniel, as I said, worked with them for almost a year, year and a half before we ever talked about doing this. And then I saw this work. I signed on. We started developing Hutch's style and his energy behind his fight choreography. And then the next thing that we did was talk to Daniel about getting him with more stunt performers and taking that style that we're doing and getting Bob to do that.
So they had been doing like a general style that teaches you how to move your body when you're doing fight choreography. It's important to come from the hips, to reach chamber punches and kicks. And now we want to put the aggression and the anger behind it. And what it is, you know, when Bob is hitting somebody, is he just hitting him or is the smashing the life out of them because he has so much pent-up progression?
And then for maybe another two months, we got more specific with that style. Then Bob came and joined us in Nobody in Winnipeg for about a month to two months before we actually shot andwe got down and dirty and really taught him the choreography of the bus and the home fight, and the finale, and really let him train with the people he was going to be fighting with.
My favorite story about Bob, and if you know, I was previously a fighter and I know many fighters. You get this kind of like lion and the tiger, or you get this like super calm essence before you fight, and I think he got to a certain point where Bob was like, "I think I can take these guys". You know, we really truly saw in his eyes and we primed him.
We're like, "Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow's the big day. Are you ready to do the bus fight? Two years in the training, Bob. It's go time." We walk on a set, and I just see Bob pacing back and forth, like a tiger in a cage ready for meat being started. And he looked at the stunt performers who, one was Daniel Bernhardt, the fight coordinator, another Kirk Jenkins, who is the other co-fight coordinator, and these other two Canadian incredible stunt performers. And I just looked at all four of them and said, "I think he's probably going to hurt you guys."
It's going to be awesome because you're going to believe it. He's going to get in there. And we taught Bob, when you're hitting the body, when stunt performing, you make gentle contact, right. You really get in there and you, you feel the aggression and Bob was just seething. So when you watch that bus fight, you just know that two years to date at that moment, Bob has been waiting to prove himself. And, oh my God, did he do it. It was a dream come true for a second-united director and stunt coordinator to sit back and have an idea and have someone deliver it in full-heartedly.prevnext
Becoming A Stunt Coordinator
You mentioned you were previously a fighter. At what point in your life do you go, "You know, hold up. I think I want to do something with stunt work and movies?"
I kind of had a crooked path and I'll keep this one short because I know it's not about Nobody. But yeah, I grew up doing martial arts my whole life. Watched Jackie Chan Found all these guys and thought to myself, "I'll never get to do it. I'll never go to Hollywood."
But then I found live shows and that was kind of my crossover, where I worked at theme parks, like Walt Disney World and Universal, and they had live stunt shows. And I remember seeing them as a kid, and thought, "I could do that." Learn these live-stunt shows, and then just kind of met a couple of guys who they were like, "Yeah, we do live stunt shows, but we also work in film and television." They kind of mentored me and worked my way into it. And it was always a dream. I just never knew how I was going to be on that path.
Sure enough, I just found these little alleys and took me to meet the right people until inevitably just found the right people to put me on the right paths. I always wanted to make films. I just never knew that I was going to actually get to do it, you know? So I found myself right to the optimal spot there with Nobody again. The underdog movie and nobody saw coming that I just believed truly is what it was because Bob Odenkirk played the guy that we can all relate to being.
He's not the handsome muscular guy walking away from explosions. I truly believe in my heart that the majority of the men that watch this movie can relate and feel they can do what he did. I feel like most of the wives watch it and believe I bet my husband could do that. Kids can relate, that was the everyday household. And I just think it was so special because without Bob doing it, it would have been totally different.
Right. What do you think your the most difficult aspect of your job on Nobody was?
Well, the most difficult job on Nobody would probably have to be, I guess it would just have to be continuing to set the bar higher. We have the writer from John Wick. We have the director, producers from John Wick. John Wick. Everybody was like, "John Wick." And I know, but we're not making John Wick. Okay? But you've seen, and I've worked with this team and we've all been a part of incredible projects like John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool.
And they all have this je ne sais quoi about them that makes them special. So what was that about Nobody? To me, it was about the things that he fought with, and how he fought. But most importantly, the hardest part was keeping the narrative in the fights honest. From the minute that he fights in the bus, we don't just do a fight scene. We do a raw, gritty, story-driven bloodbath about a man who has pent-up aggression. Twenty years of realizing he wants to be who he was again, but he's rusty.
The second time he fights he's a little cleaner, but now they fucked with his family. And it's time to level that up in his own home. So we had to come up with, what does a guy do when he's the world's top guy you send in to delete everybody? And now you're in his home. And then finally he gets the setup, this ultimate home alone bloodbath with his two most trusted confidants who come in and surprise, he's as calm as a cucumber.
But we've seen those kind of scenes before. We just wanted to make sure that A, Bob remained true to his character and had those great moments through and through. And didn't become an action star, remained the dad who was fighting for what he was fighting for.
We also kept it fresh with ideas like rat trap shotgun shells. Yes. I know it's sick, but the love of the action did that for love, not for the negative. To me, it just sounded like the perfect really sick twisted device or rebar in air cannons. Why not? That sounds like something that Bob in his tool and die shop would do. Keeping it fresh, keeping the audience happy, keeping them on the edge of their seats.prevnext
From Script to Stunt
Rat traps and you mentioned the rebar. How much of that stuff's actually scripted? Like you get the script, and how much leeway do you and your team have to go from there?
Well, if I would say I was beyond fortunate, I would be undersaying how fortunate I am to work with Kelly McCormick and David Leitch, 87 North, because they are action aficionados too. David was a second-unit director who was the stunt coordinator, et cetera. And they just look at us and they go, "Yeah, I know the script says this, but what else do you got?" And then we make a laundry list of hundreds of things that maybe only four or five will make it because the other are just, well, not right for the movie or way too violent, or we don't have time, or these are just better.
But they never say, "This is what it is." They always say, "Give us more." And we have an incredible writer like Derek Kolstad,who knows that too.
With David, he's going to work with guys who are going to bring the action. He says, "Hey, look, and then a fight scene happens here". And then he lets us go. And so fortunate to be the second unit director to work alongside Ilya [Naishuller]. We sat with Bob and brainstormed these concepts.
It was almost too much fun. We get to do what we love. And I think the script is always a jumping-off point. And if there's something great in the script, of course we're going to go for it. But if there are other ideas, the best idea always wins and that's why I love working with those guys as a team, because we're always striving to come up with something, not seen, fun. If it's been seen, how do we twist it? What's the darkest, craziest thing that the audience is going to go, "That is the most disgusting and memorable moment I'll have in cinema", you know?
Other than a potential Nobody 2, one of the other most anticipated movies on my list is Bullet Train, which I heard that you may or may not be involved in. If you can say anything, what can you tease or say about working with Brad Pitt?
I can confirm that I worked on it. Yes. I was a second unit director and stunt coordinator. I worked with David Leitch. What I can say is that it is, no pun intended, it's going to be the wildest ride. I don't know how to put it into words. I'm not going to put it into words, unfortunately. I'm really excited for everybody to see it. I have the same chills about Bullet Train as I do about Nobody. So I'm excited that people are going to just continue to get to go on these fun journeys that maybe 87 North, David, and Kelly are a part of, because from the top down, they aren't afraid to take bold, bold choices. And I don't want to give too much away.
It's going to be incredible. It's going to be a wild, wild ride. Stay tuned. Be ready for it. It's going to be awesome. But Nobody, if you guys get a chance, spread the word. Check out the behind the scenes on the DVD, because it'll tell you a lot about how we break down the stunts and how we trained Bob, and how we create these pre-visualization to pitch to the director and the producers as if we shoot little mini-movies in this little box room.
And that's where we go from there. You know, it's important to go in there on the day, having your actor fully trained and your concept fully expressed and have room for collaboration and change on the day. But you're so prepared for it that changing a right punch to a left punch is fine. And that's not the story point anyway, whether you give a right or left punch. The point is, what is Bob doing? And that's what Bob did. He brought it on every occasion. So savagely, but to be honest with you, I would be terrified to fight him. So I'm glad I didn't have to. They did it.
Nobody releases on 4K UHD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, June 22nd. You can order you copy of the action flick right here.
Cover photo by Tara Ziemba/Getty Imagesprev