Frank Grillo on the Wild ‘Winter Soldier’ Stunt Scarlett Johansson Convinced Him to Do

“I had s*** in my pants, because I was that afraid.”

Frank Grillo doesn’t look like a guy who shys away from stunts. The actor, known for his gruff manner and intimidating physique, has starred in a number of action films, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and its sequel Captain America: Civil War. And while Grillo admits to being up for just about anything, there were a few “stupid” stunts he’s done in his career that he initially turned down, including a big sequence in The Winter Soldier.

In an extended interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub, Grillo discussed the hit 2014 MCU film and his role as Brock Rumlow a.k.a. Crossbones, a well-known villain from the Captain America comics. The film’s opening scene contained a particularly impressive (and scary) stunt that Grillo refused to do at first, until the enthusiasm of his co-star Scarlett Johansson pushed him into it.

“We were doing Cap 2, Winter Soldier, and we were out in Long Beach on an aircraft carrier. So however many stories above sea level the boat is… it’s like 150 feet up, right? There was a crane on the deck which was another 150 feet up, so you’re probably 300 feet up from the water. And basically what we had to do was clip into the crane, and they dropped us so that it looked like we were flying onto the boat. And I wasn’t gonna do it. I said, ‘I’m not doing that! Let my guy do it, I’m not doing it.’ And Scarlett Johansson said, ‘Well I’m doing it!’ So she went and did it, and then I had to do it. (laughs) I think in the movie I fly in behind her. And she didn’t, but I had shit in my pants, because I was that afraid. And it was pitch black! It was nighttime.”

Image via Open Road Films

Grillo shared a similar story about filming David Ayer’s crime thriller End of Watch, when star Jake Gyllenhaal decided to do something, um, unusual to benefit his character:

Gyllenhaal had this great idea that he was gonna get tased, so he could feel what it [felt like]. And I’m like, “I’m not doing that, you’re stupid.” And then Natalie Martinez, beautiful Natalie Martinez, said, ‘Well I’m gonna do it!’ And I’m like, ‘Motherf-. Now I gotta do it.’ (laughs) Because I’m, you know, that guy.

The actor admits he’s much more comfortable doing traditional rough-and-tumble stuntwork, saying, “Mostly I just fight. Mostly I’ll do all my own fighting, I’ll do all my own driving, as long as I’m not driving off something. I try not to jump too much. I don’t like jumping off things.” I have to agree with Grillo on that one.

Check back soon for Collider’s full in-depth interview.

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