Minka Kelly and Alan Ritchson Talk Hawk, Dove, and TITANS

Joe McCabe

Joe McCabe

Oct. 23, 2018


In the second episode of DC Universe's Titans, "Hawk and Dove", actors Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) bring the titular crime-fighting team to brave-and-bold life. We sat down with the duo to learn a little bit about their inspiration and approach to embodying two of the show's most popular characters to date. Here's what they had to say...


On their thoughts upon first donning their eye-catching costumes...


Ritchson: "Get this thing off of me!" It was so uncomfortable building that thing. The process that the team took, they really poured their heart and souls into it, but I had to be the mannequin. And it was hours and hours of pushing and pulling, bolts digging in. They really built that thing from the ground up. For a long time, I couldn't envision it. You just saw foam things shooting off the back. But I finally got it when it was finished and we put it on for the first time. I was like, "Oh my God, this is pretty cool... Now I can't pee for the entire day." [Laughs.] So it was a love-hate relationship. But I think they did a great job honoring the comics. It's really hard to translate what you can draw on a page to our dimension, and I think they did a fantastic job. 


The cape is like 30 pounds or something. Those wings have steel rods in them to keep them from moving in a way that they shouldn't move. So it was bolted and screwed together. I'd take it off at the end of the day, and my chest would be bleeding. There would be bruises all over, because if I punched somebody...I could feel it happening. It was awful. They were like, "OK, we've got to fix this." So they would get super Velcro manufactured for them, that's stronger than any Velcro. It works now. I'm not bleeding at the end of the day. But it's just not the most comfortable thing. It takes four people to put it on.


Kelly: He's probably got six wings, which probably weigh ten pounds. So yeah, it's rough on him. Mine are about 30 pounds. And we have super-suit teams that come in and lift up and hold the weight of the wings for us. I wear a huge harness underneath my suit that can hold and distribute the weight of the wings so I can fight with them and use them as my shield. It's fun though. As soon as you put it on, you're like, "Wow, I'm ready to fight!"


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On researching the comic books...


Ritchson: I'm going to say this with some shame. I wanted to do that kind of research. Geoff Johns called me and pitched me on the part. And I was like, politely, "I've done the DC thing, and respectfully, I think I want to keep trying new things." He was like, "No, let me tell you why this is different and why it has to be you." So he pitched me, and I was like, "OK, if it's what you say it is, I'm in. Would you just send me some stuff? Some literature? I'll read and start getting to know this guy the way that you think I should get to know him." So a box shows up and it's one comic [Hawk and Dove's first appearance]. I was like, "I guess there's not much to it. OK, I think I know this guy."


I get to set and I meet Minka and we're getting to know each other. I was like, "So did you read it?" She's like, "What?" "The comic book." She's like, "One comic book? I read them all. I called Geoff Johns and he sent me like 80." I was like, "How many?!" She was like, "Yeah, I read like 80 comic books." I was like, "Oh shit. Now I'm like the idiot who doesn't know what he's [doing]." But it wasn't my fault. So I don't know who's to blame there. But I've only read one, all right? [Laughs.]


Kelly: [Laughs.] I didn't read 80 comics. Maybe 10... And we really stayed true to a lot of that too. In episode [9], it's Dawn and Hank's origin story. So it's before they're Hawk and Dove, and you get to see them when they meet. And true to the books, there's a little resistance from Hank to her becoming Dove, because Dove was [his] brother. So I was so excited. I was like, "I read this. This is in the books. I'm so excited!" And that was a really fun episode to do. Akiva and Geoff Johns wrote that episode and Akiva directed it, and it's beautiful. Every episode is beautiful. Each one is a little movie. It's just been so much fun. I'm so drawn to the world that Akiva and Geoff have been able to create. The balance between making it the most grownup, real, raw, violent version of a superhero show you've ever seen, while also keeping the superhero aspect of it. I think they've done such a beautiful job, and I feel so lucky to be on board and be able to bring this character to life for the first time.




On performing their fight scenes...


Ritchson: I've always played somebody who has to fight, Raphael or whoever. So it's just a slightly different version of those kinds of martial arts. I actually did a movie immediately before this called Shadow Girl that isn't out yet, where I play a UFC fighter. I spent four months training MMA, and then a month training with Tito Ortiz, because he was the antagonist in that movie. We fought each other a bunch in the ring, and that is actually the style that we used for [Hawk]. So I rolled off that movie right into this. Thank God I had five months of ground-and-hound jiu-jitsu training that prepared me for this. It all helps. In my world at least. I'd love to do a movie where like I play piano and I'm a librarian and I read a lot or something. Maybe someday. [Laughs.]


Kelly: That's also what's so great about this show. They've given each of us our particular specific way of fighting. My character was a ballerina, she was into jiu-jitsu, and she was a gymnast. So her fights are more of a dance. Hawk is a brute. He just blows stuff up. Robin has his cape and his staff. Everyone has their own specific way to do things, which I think is really cool. But frustrating in the rehearsals, because he gets his choreography in ten minutes -- because he’s just throwing a bunch of punches, and I'm ducking and diving and dancing and throwing legs. But it's so much fun. Our stunt coordinators are incredible. My amazing stunt double teaches me how to fight, and I insist on doing all of it. It's mostly her, but I do do my part. 


My favorite fight so far was in episode two, when Hawk uses Dove. I love it when we fight together. He uses me and throws me around. I think that's so cool... I can't believe this is my job. [Laughs.]


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