- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for episode five of the Marvel show “Hawkeye.”
- Directing duo Bert and Bertie broke down how the dinner scene with Kate and Yelena came together.
- The directors said that Florence Pugh loves hot sauce and came up with the idea to put it on the pasta.
“Hawkeye” directors Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood — better known collectively as Bert and Bertie — unpacked Kate Bishop and Yelena Belova’s mac-and-cheese dinner scene from the latest episode and revealed how the stars improvised while filming.
Eagle-eyed fans who tuned into Wednesday’s episode probably noticed that Yelena’s meal choice was a callback to her younger self telling her mom she wanted mac-and-cheese for dinner in “Black Widow.”
The directors said that this Easter egg was part of the scene from the onset, thanks to the writers.
“A lot of the time our jobs are made easy because we have incredible writers on these shows and that’s something that was in there, that they would sit down and have this conversation,” Bert told Insider in an interview on Thursday.
The director said that sometimes they find themselves “playing catch up” on all the tiniest details, but superfans always make the connections because “they live with these characters.”
“So, of course, that had to be in there,” Bert added. “The new layer that we brought to was that it became such a focus of that scene and there was a lot of improv and it kind of really, really makes that scene.”
Archer Kate and assassin Yelena, who made their MCU debuts this year in separate projects, met for the first time on episode four during a rooftop fight scene involving Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maya Lopez/Echo (Alaqua Cox).
Yelena, the sister of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), visits New York under orders to kill Clint. Yelena makes a speedy exit on the episode and appears again on this week’s episode, showing up unannounced at Kate’s apartment.
When Kate realizes there’s an intruder, she reaches for the closest item — a bottle of hot sauce — and throws it at Yelena, who masterfully catches it and gives a cheerful “Hi!”
“We were looking for something that we knew Kate was gonna throw as a weapon,” Bertie explained, adding, “The hot sauce won the day because it was really catchable.”
Aside from being used as a weapon, Yelena takes the condiment and puts it on her “really tasty” boxed mac-and-cheese that she cooked.
The directors said that the character’s decision was Pugh’s idea, and the “Midsommar” actress had no problem eating the meal during the multiple takes that occurred while filming.
“Florence was like, ‘Well, hot sauce has gotta go on the mac-and-cheese,'” Bertie recalled. “I’m like, ‘Oh that’s a big choice, because you’ve now gotta eat that for multiple takes.’ And she’s like, ‘I’m in, I’m in it.’ And she did.”
Bertie said that Pugh “loves hot sauce,” but Steinfeld’s not as much of a fan. So, they incorporated that into the dialogue.
While the two eat the macaroni, Yelena confirms that Kate’s done, that way she can add hot sauce to it.
In another part of the scene, Yelena searches for forks so they can split the meal. She only finds a single utensil, to which Kate replies: “I’m one person.”
Grabbing a plastic fork that she finds, Yelena scolds Kate and tells her that it’s “not cutlery.”
Bertie said that the moment was the result of “only finding one fork was because that’s all the props people had set up. And then we were scrambling around for another fork.”
Bert added that because of COVID-19, the stars couldn’t share a fork, hence the inclusion of a plastic one.
Although Steinfeld and Pugh are newcomers to the MCU, the stars are well-known in Hollywood.
Steinfeld received critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for her role in the 2010 film “True Grit.” Pugh is known for her work in films like “Lady Macbeth,” “Midsommar,” and “Little Women.”
“They’re contemporaries,” Bert said of the stars. “They’re these incredible actors of their generation.”
Bert said that there was “palpable relief,” in being given the luxury of directing two talented actors who could just sit down at a dining table and still hold viewers’ attention.
“You see the magic that happens because that’s a long scene and you are gripped,” Bert said. “There’s not a moment where you’re kind of like, ‘Ah, I’m gonna go to the toilet’ or something. You want to see what happens with them.”
“They hadn’t worked together before that scene,” Bert added. “But their characters met on this kind of equal footing and that’s sometimes when chemistry happens because they’re so generous and they’re giving each other so much that they can stay in that moment.”