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Production Notes: E60’s “Moneymaker – Behind Black Widow” Director Martin Khodabakhshian

Meet the former UCLA star gymnast who has doubled for Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow for years; preview this ESPN+ documentary about Heidi Moneymaker, debuting July 5; Black Widow is in theaters and on Disney+ on July 9

E60’s “Moneymaker – Behind Black Widow” begins streaming Monday, July 5, on ESPN+. The half-hour film is directed by 14-time Emmy-winning producer Martin Khodabakhshian.

The documentary focuses on Heidi Moneymaker, a former champion gymnast at UCLA who now, along with her sister Renae, is among Hollywood’s most in-demand stunt performers.

Heidi Moneymaker was a star gymnast at UCLA .(Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)

Heidi Moneymaker has been a stunt double for star Scarlett Johansson in eight Marvel Studios films including the upcoming Black Widow, which premieres July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets.

Johansson narrates the ESPN+ documentary about Moneymaker.

“The idea [for the E60 film] was originally pitched to me by Janna Bettencourt [Senior Publicist at Walt Disney Studios] while we were in Finland together filming the ‘Finding Chewbacca’ E60 project,” Khodabakhshian said. “And then [ESPN feature writer] Katie Barnes pitched it on the digital side, and we collaborated initially on the first shoot in January of 2019 with Renae.

Katie wrote an outstanding and in-depth story on the sisters that ran that spring. We delayed our TV piece.

“We didn’t film again until March of 2020,” he said. “All with Heidi, and no Renae because she was filming a movie overseas,” he said. “We were aiming to get the film done for the May release of Black Widow. But then something called the pandemic hit. I flew home from filming with Heidi on March 10, and then sports, movies, everything, stopped.”

Khodabakhshian said that because of the delays in Black Widow’s release, Heidi Moneymaker was able to become a part of Black Widow, the stand-alone movie of the character that she helped create when she first served as a stunt double for Johansson’s Black Widow character in Iron Man 2.

“We filmed a cool beach fight scene with Heidi with the incomparable Director of Photography Michael Bollacke, and it was masterfully edited by our own in-house ESPN editor Warren Wolcott. It acts as a device throughout the E60 piece,” he said.

“And because of the delay, we got to do a formal interview with Renae and include her.”

Khodabakhshian, who said he is very familiar with Marvel Studios films, the characters, and the overall world of the films, found the Moneymaker sisters to be very willing subjects for the film.

“Heidi and Renae are remarkable to work with,” he said. “They follow direction, and they want to make things perfect for the camera. They are true professionals and even better people.”.

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