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Joey King in her ‘tired’ Oldboy-style stair fight in The Princess

Princess plays a stubborn princess who wants to get out of an arranged marriage and make the most of it. As the famous unnamed princess, Joey King breaks in and slashes her down a tower full of enemies. King is known for his trilogy of rom-coms Kissing booth, so this is definitely a new movie for her. But she totally accepts it, handling a lot of combat stunts on her own; she told Polygon she did about “85-90% of what you see in the movies.” That means learning how to wield a sword, throw a punch, and come back right after striking.

“The harder it was, the more brutal it was, but in the end it was more than worth it,” King said. “I did things that I never thought I could do.”

The film is full of tense battle scenes involving swords and fire, whips and ropes. Sometimes the princess fights alongside her mysterious trainer, Linh (Veronica Ngo), and sometimes she has to face her enemies alone. But out of all the action sequences, one stands out for King: the stairway sequence where the princess faces enemy after enemy in a relentless onslaught. King compared it to Park Chan-wook’s famous hallway fight scene Oldboyespecially when it comes to required durability.

This preview video includes quite a few clips from the sequence, for reference.

“I think […] That was definitely the biggest commitment of the whole movie,” King recounts. “This is the song that takes the most preparation, the most time, the most practice, it’s the one that no matter what choreography we’re doing, on any given day, we’ll always spend a little Time to prepare for the chain of stairs. . That’s like mine Oldboy interval. It’s huge, it’s massive. And so being prepared for that, and then actually being able to film it, is a beast. But I’m glad I had to. Every detail is choreographed to perfection, when we all go in and do it, it’s like this beautiful dance. It was tiring.”

Princess currently streaming on Hulu and on Disney Plus in select non-US territories.

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