William Hobbs, Fight Director on Swashbuckling Classics 'The Duellists' and 'Rob Roy,' Dies at 79

The Hollywood Reporter | 1/29/1939 | Mike Barnes
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He also choreographed action sequences for 'The Three Musketeers,' 'The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes,' 'Smarter Brother' and 'The Avengers.'

William Hobbs, an innovative fight director, fencing master and stuntman who choreographed action sequences for such films as The Three Musketeers, The Duellists and Rob Roy during his long career, has died. He was 79.

Hobbs - July - Hillingdon - Hospital - London

Hobbs died July 10 at Hillingdon Hospital in London after suffering from dementia, his son, Laurence Hobbs, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Hobbs masterminded John Steed's (Ralph Fiennes) umbrella combat scenes for the 1998 feature adaptation of The Avengers and worked on other features like The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), Robin and Marian (1976), Flash Gordon (1980), Brazil (1985), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Willow (1988), Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (1990), Robin Hood (1991), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002).

Hobbs - Combatants - Beings - Tony - Wolf

Hobbs set up his combatants as "fallible human beings," Tony Wolf, a fight director who served as a "cultural fighting styles designer" on The Lord of the Rings movies, wrote in a blog post. "They frequently found themselves scrambling to recover from mistakes, became exhausted or enraged, slipped in the mud, sometimes succeeding (or just surviving) almost in spite of themselves.

"All of this was in profound and refreshing contrast to the more purely heroic action scenes of Hobbs' predecessors in the field, which too often eschewed messy realism and psychological substance for the swashbuckling cliches of textbook 'movie swordsmanship.' Bill Hobbs' fight choreography always sought to surprise his audience and took the less-obvious path."

Wolf - Hobbs - Career - Fight - Director

Wolf, who said it was Hobbs who inspired him to take up a career as a fight director, pointed to the "honor duel" between Rob Roy (Liam Neeson) and Archie Cunningham (Tim Roth) in Michael Caton-Jones' Rob Roy (1995) as Hobbs' most famous work.

A co-founder of the Society of British Fight Directors and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Hollywood Reporter
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