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Hawkeye's Piotr Adamczyk Dishes On The Tracksuit Mafia And The Biggest Action Sequences - Exclusive Interview

There's no denying that the Tracksuit Mafia "bros" are one of the best aspects of "Hawkeye." With a series boasting of holiday cheer and a festive premise, it's only natural to have a set of equally lighthearted villains to balance out some of the show's darker undertones — like Clint Barton's grief over Natasha and the heavy undercurrent of loss as a whole. Luckily, the series found a perfect trio of actors to portray the gang, including Polish actor Piotr Adamczyk, who plays Tomas.

Adamczyk is no stranger to the MCU, as Polish fans may recognize his voice as the Polish dub for Ant-Man. In addition to his "Hawkeye" role, Adamczyk plays Sergei in "For All Mankind" and scored a role in the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series, "Lightyears." However, Adamczyk's Hollywood roles are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his acting resume. He's appeared in dozens of Polish films and TV shows dating back to 1996.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Piotr Adamczyk spoke about working alongside "Hawkeye" veterans like Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, and Alaqua Cox. He also covered the importance of Polish and deaf representation, revealed what he wished he could have told Vera Farmiga during "Hawkeye" filming, and touched on "For All Mankind" Season 3 and "Lightyears."

Hawkeye's most iconic action sequences

You are a part of some of the most iconic fight scenes from the first three episodes of "Hawkeye." What was that experience like, and can you walk us through how you shot those scenes?

You mean the chasing scene, right? It's really iconic. I watched it a few days ago, and I'm still so happy about being a part of it. For me, because I was shooting a lot, it's more than 30 years [I've been] working on different sets in Poland [and] Europe, but it was the first time for me. I was so amazed by the meticulous way they prepared every technical [aspect] on set, and especially this scene.

One [thing that's] really very memorable for me, when I think about this scene, [is] this chasing scene. It's the tower built on the car in which Jeremy [Renner] and Hailee [Steinfeld] are running away from [the] Tracksuit Mafia. And on this tower, there is [an] average guy, [an] inconspicuous person, sitting behind the wheel. And suddenly, they're shouting action. And okay, oh what a stunt driver, what an incredible ... But he was like a pocket-sized guy who was just making these turns and drifting and [doing] all the chasing car stunt work. And it was incredible.

So I'm just proud I could see it in my own eyes, how it was done. I'm curious how it was from the perspective of Jeremy or Hailee, being inside this car, which is driven automatically either way. And they have to [pretend] they're driving the car.

Improvising with Jeremy Renner

Tomas has some really fun scenes with Hawkeye himself. What was it like filming with Jeremy Renner, and do any moments behind the scenes stand out in working with him?

I remember, and I'm very thankful to directors Bert, Bertie, and Rhys Thomas [for allowing] us to add some new stuff to the characters — to the Tracksuit Mafia guys. So there was a moment during this scene when Tomas is interrogating Hawkeye that Rhys said, "You could try to improvise, just add some stuff." Improvising for me, not being [an] English speaker because English is my second language, it was something I was a bit afraid of. But to do it in this huge production was [a] really incredible debut for me to have [an] improvisation scene with Jeremy Renner.

And there was a moment I mispronounced something, and I said something like, "We are integrating you," or something, I don't remember. And Jeremy started to laugh about it, but he continued to be in the moment, in character. So we were improvising back and forth to the moment when the whole crew burst [into] laughter. And that was something for us as well, because the crew is our first audience. So we understood that these lovable idiots are really very funny. And probably [that] was the moment we understood how important this comedy release [would be] on our part.

Can you remember any of the specific things that you improvised that might have made it into the final product?

Because [the] Tracksuit Mafia guys are Eastern Europeans, Kazi, the character played by Fra Fee, an Irish actor, he is Kazimierz Kazimierczak. I was actually teaching him how to pronounce his name. That's a Polish character. So based on that, we thought that it would be good, me being from Poland, to use some Polish. And that's what I did with pleasure. So that was probably my own influence and idea. And I'm very, very happy because it had such a huge impact in my country. My countrymen are so proud of being a part of the Marvel Universe, which is so surprising.

Working with the next generation of archers

Your character also has a great interaction with Kate. What was it like being on set with Hailee Steinfeld? And is there anything unique that she brings to the series that you noticed?

She [brings] so much joy. Of course, a lot of people, it's a very professional set, everybody's focus is very ... But it's like trying to be on time — being in the moment. And she was an exceptional actress. I was amazed by her, how humble she was, how open. Being this level of a star and not losing [her] very normal human level [of] approach is something unique. And I was really very happy. We were taking care of her dog on set and having a lot of fun between takes.

And lately, I visited my friend, and her daughters are big, big fans of Hailee. And they were like, "Oh my God. So you were kicked by Hailee in the face? She touched you?!" So part of this stardom came on me with the kick from Hailee. So I'm really proud.

We don't know a whole lot about Tomas, based on the first three episodes. How would you categorize his character: a hero, a villain, or someone who's just dealing with unfortunate circumstances? And without giving too much away, what do you think his motivations are?

I think he's not so bright. I think it's not only me [who] thinks so. So in the way, it'll be difficult for him to ... I think that, yeah, he's a villain. I never thought I would be happy reading the critics calling my character (or me) these lovable idiots. [But] I love this description of our characters — the Tracksuit Mafia guys. But I think stupidity could be dangerous as well. So in that way, that's their superpower because they're unpredictable. And so, yes, in the way it enables us to be enemies of [an] Avenger.

Onset sign language comparisons

What can we expect to see from your character and the Tracksuit Mafia in the future?

That's the question I don't know how to answer. I think that we should expect what we already got in the comic book. These guys are like comedy-release background. I'm, in a way, surprised [at] how important background [can] be and how we were treated on set and even being in the intros, in the credits at the beginning. We had our own poster, which is incredible. We are so, so happy about that.

And coming back to the thought about [the] reaction of my countryman, when the poster of the Tracksuit Mafia guys released on the Marvel Studios Instagram, I think that somebody from the social media there was very surprised. Because most of the comments, thousands of comments, were in Polish. So they had to be surprised with the [number] of comments and this Polish pride from a Polish actor being part of the Marvel Universe.

I'm the second Polish actor. There was already a Polish director and actor, Jerzy Skolimowski, who played a Russian in "Black Widow." But for Polish people to hear, in [the] original version, some Polish words in this funny mixture of very strongly Polish-accented English, and some Polish words in [a] Marvel show, that was something they didn't expect, and they are happy to hear.

I think it's so important for people to see themselves in media. The deaf representation in "Hawkeye" as well has been really cool.

Yes. And working with Alaqua Cox, watching her development as well as an actress, how powerful her performance is. And she is a hero in real life — [a] superhero in real life. And I was so, so happy to be a member of the group with her. I remember I also prepared a few sentences in sign language, but now I prove that I'm very close to my character because it was my ignorance that I didn't know that sign language is different in different languages.

I was really surprised. I thought, forgive my stupidity, but I thought that it's quite unique. So I said something, I signed something to her, and she didn't understand, but then we [had] a laugh about that. We were comparing different signs: How is it in English? How is it in Polish? And I'm happy that I got to have important scenes with her. Observing her was a great pleasure. She has very powerful presence, and it's a very powerful performance because of the strong look she has and the information which is flowing from her eyes. I'm proud of her as well.

The levels of Marvel fandom

Were you a fan of the Hawkeye comics or the MCU before taking on this role?

If you asked me before, I would say, "Yes, of course, I'm a Marvel fan." I'm enjoying watching all [of the] films and know, (I thought), a lot. But then I met real, true fans of Marvel. And I understood that to call yourself a Marvel fan is about different levels. These people are so dedicated to the films. I'm so happy to be in touch with these fans and exchange some messages, and understand how dedicated they are to this universe, how important it is for them.

And I think that they also have some influence on the storyline. I'm sure that right now, data is so important to understand what audiences like [and] would like to see, is so important for the producers. I'm sure they are this moment, this game that's top-secret, but somebody's thinking of what the possible scenarios could be. I'm sure everybody's watching, reading those comments and the fans also [have] their own influence.

So, for example, our Tracksuit Mafia, when we understood how important "Bro," is, this line that everybody's speaking. "Bro, bro, bro," this bro-ing or something like that. We added a lot of bro because of that because we understood how magical [that] word is.

The Polish Ant-Man

Which MCU characters and movies are your favorites? And is there another character or actor from the franchise that you'd love to work with in the future?

I had a similar question on the red carpet. I was very nervous to walk on. First thing, the interview's in English, this big opening night. And I remember I said something, somebody asked me, "Would you like to meet some superhero from Marvel in real life?" And I said, "I already met Ant-Man." And the journalist was very surprised. The thing is that, yeah, I would love to meet Paul Rudd, not because he was chosen the sexiest man on the planet, but because I'm his Polish voice of Ant-Man.

So with these films, I could treat him as a tutor as well, because when you work on a performance as a dubbing actor, I don't know how to depict it well, but you're trying to copy the rhythm, the emotion, the truthfulness of the voice of the original version of the original character and actor. That's one of the best lessons of acting. It's so great when we have [the] opportunity to be [the] voice of a great actor. And [so] being [the] Polish voice of Paul Rudd, in [that] way, I'm a Polish Ant-Man already.

The future of the Tracksuit Mafia

Are there any upcoming MCU movies and TV shows that you'd love to see your character make an appearance on?

It's probably would be difficult for Tomas to be important in some of the stories. But of course, I would be happy, and probably we'd all be happy, the Tracksuit Mafia group. We became such a huge ... We created [a] bond, a special bond, during the shooting of "Hawkeye," that we are constantly in touch, keeping fingers crossed for the next projects of everybody: Aleks Paunovic, Fra Fee, Alaqua Cox, and Carlos Navarro. So our dream is to see each other, again, even as a background and even being again [as] these lovable idiots. Just to see each other again and [to] have a blast as we used to.

This is the moment we are watching [for] the reaction of the audience, and we are enjoying [it]. Because they are not big parts, but they are noticeable. And you being funny, being a comic release, is something [the] audience is looking for. So yeah, we are proud of it and would love to have a chance to meet again.

An animated Tracksuit Mafia?

I love the animated show "What If...?," which basically puts a spin on all of the classic Marvel stories that we know and love. If you could have your character appear on "What If...?" and change something about his backstory, make him a hero, make him a villain, or put him in a different universe, a different world, what would you like to see happen to Tomas in that kind of situation?

I know this series because Ant-Man is in it as well. So [I voice] the animated character of Ant-Man. If Tomas could be in "What If...?," I was thinking [of a] possible scenario [where the] Tracksuit Mafia steal some of the superpowers — [that] could be really very dangerous. Because, as I told you, stupidity can be very dangerous because it's unpredictable. And imagine having these stupid guys have [access] to some really dangerous arms or superpower — [that] could be a real threat. So why not? Maybe it would be a good idea for Marvel producers, for Kevin Feige. And he'll read this interview, and he'll go, "Oh yeah. Why don't we do that?" I hope so. That's my dream.

Either that, or he becomes Ant-Man [laughs]. That would be really meta.

Oh yes, why not? Maybe that could be their superpower. Imagine these small Tracksuit Mafia, the ants walking on your desk right now. Yeah, that's a great idea.

The joys of appearing in the MCU

What attracted you to "Hawkeye," and what's the most exciting aspect of appearing on the show?

It's not what attracted me, because of course, when you are getting this kind of chance to be a part of MCU, that's an offer —that's something you dream of. So nothing attracted me. I was just thrilled to be a part of it. I remember that it was not so easy for my manager to submit me. In Poland, I was playing Pope John Paul II, or Chopin, some villains as well, but I didn't have this kind of gangster image. So when he was sending the photos of me with the blonde hair and Levi's probably, they said, "No, we are thinking of somebody else." But then he succeeded, and I had a chance to audition for it.

I asked my friend, a makeup artist, to give me a bald cap. So I already went into the character and changed my image. So for me, it was a great, great experience to encounter a completely different character I was not really familiar with. And this creation of changing his voice [and] making his accent very strong, using Polish in it, that was a great acting experience, which I like. And [the] experience of being in such a huge production working with the best of the best. I always was thinking, "How is it done?" My dream was not actually to be on Marvel show, but to see how it's done. So in a way, it came true in [a] very unexpected way.

Expectations vs. Reality

Was Hawkeye what you expected going in? Or is there anything about the show, the set, or the actors that surprised you?

If something surprised me? To be honest, there's so [much] gossip about stars and Hollywood and the huge contracts, and I was coming into the set having these strange expectations and not knowing actually anything. So for me, in a way, it was a big surprise that films are done the same way everywhere. Of course, here is a big, big, huge budget — best of the best professionals, time, tweaking. We could come back to the same scene again and again and again, and make it better and better and better.

So that's my answer to the question: how films, great films, are done. They are constantly made better every take, every moment. A lot of people are working on it to make it perfect. And then we have a perfect effect after it all. So it's strange, but what surprised me is that the films are being made everywhere in the same way. And the stars are approachable, are great. We became friends. We were like a family. And the last moments of shooting, people were crying [and] hugging each other.

I don't know if I can say that they were hugging each other, but yeah, in masks. So yeah, it was so many hugs. But we definitely missed each other. And then seeing the faces, a few of the faces on the opening night and seeing even Jeremy Renner, who's waving to me and shouting, "Bro!" I'm so proud of, yeah.

Action sequence movie magic

Going back to that epic car chase on the bridge, what was it like filming that scene? And what did it look like before all of the CGI and special effects? Did it look cool in reality or did it look silly without all of the things that fans get to see when it's finally done?

Yeah. I think, from the perspective of somebody just passing the set and, "Oh, they are shooting a film, so I will stand and watch." From his perspective, it's so boring. Because, oh my God, a lot of people who aren't witnesses of our work are saying, "Oh, you are just shooting this few-second sequence over and over again for a day?" So yes, that's the way it goes.

So probably, for the amateur viewer, our work might [seem] very boring. It's nothing like later on in the show. But for me, it was really very interesting, all the technical stuff. And of course, we had to imagine everything. So it was a group of us. We had to create this imaginary trajectory of the arrow [so it would be] easy to add it [in].

What surprised me is that I thought that I knew how it [would] look when I was on the set. And then it occurred [to me] that I didn't even have a clue how massive, how big, how entertaining it [would] be. So they said, "And then this arrow will be big, and you should react because there will be a track, blah, blah, blah." So somebody is telling you this stuff, and you have to imagine it. You're just concentrating on the technical moment — that Aleks is looking right now, so I'm having to look right now as well, [as] we are the same group.

The importance of representation

We shoot in New York and in Atlanta, and then when I was watching this show, I was like, "Oh my God, this scene was done in Atlanta, but it's totally New York, it's totally New York." I love this job. And this strange world of filmmakers who are telling the stories. And I'm happy to be a part of this perfect production, which is giving so much joy and tears as well. Because a few of the scenes, I was watching the cousin of Alaqua playing young Maya, and I couldn't stop crying. I was like, "Oh my God. How touching these moments are."

It's really very important for a lot of communities. So as you said, for deaf representation, right? Or even me, I'm proud to be a [part of] Polish representation, even if it's this stupid guy representing Poland. But it's the comic characters, and I understand that everybody knows what's the joke about. It's not the Polish joke at all.

What's one piece of advice that you would give your "Hawkeye" character?

I know that he would not understand the deep thoughts. So I would actually encourage him to speak Polish, more Polish, because I've seen the reaction of my countrymen. And I ask, "Please, I hope there'll be more Polish in the next episode." And things like that. So yeah, I would encourage him speak Polish because the audience likes it.

Missed onset opportunities

Is there anyone from the series that you wish you had more screen time with?

As I told you, I would love to come back to the guys and the director, to the people I had screen time with. So when you get something, you are getting hungry for having more. So yes, my dream is to come back to the set again and then meet everybody [again]. My favorite actress I had a chance to meet, and I was really very timid to speak to, was Vera Farmiga. So I had this moment that, "I should just say how much I love her work and how much I admire her." And my English was gone when I had a chance to speak.

What movies of hers are your favorite?

Oh my God, you killed me right now. You know what we have the problem with, Polish people, our titles are translated. So when you are asking about the title, I'm so lost.

What's it about? "The Conjuring?" The horror movie?

So I don't know the title of it, but she was with George Clooney in this film.

"Up in the Air?"

Yeah. Oh, probably that's it. Yes, of course. Yes, yes. But there [are] so many characters, she is just such an adorable personality that even if she appears in supporting part, you remember she was in it. And I don't think Tomas would have a chance to have a chat with her probably, the character of Vera Farmiga. And I was so, so timid when I met her.

From cutting class to The Graduate

What's your favorite movie of all time and what makes it special to you? If you can think of one.

I remember, I don't know how to say that, when I was a child and in primary school, [what] do you call the moment you just are so afraid of exams that you are running away from school?


No, no, not anxiety, but the moment that you skip the lessons and just run away from school.

Cutting class.

Oh yeah. Okay. So I did this, and I hid myself in the cinema. It was a special cinema in Warsaw, and it still exists, and I love it. It's a cinema [that shows] old films, some weeks of an actor or weeks of a director, [and] famous movies from the past. And so it's great to be able to see old films, classic films, on screen.

So I run away to the cinema, and I've hidden behind the row. And I watched "The Graduate" a few times in a row. And that was the moment I think, watching the performance of Dustin Hoffman, that I understood that that's my dream to be an actor — probably that was the moment. I enjoyed watching it over and over again, and finding new stuff, new small gestures, small emotions, small tweaks — understanding that this performance is much deeper than you could see it from just watching the film.

Is there an actor or a director, either from the past or the present, that you would have loved the opportunity to work with?

It's so difficult. I think it's my mind or my character that I can't find answers to these kinds of ranking questions. Of course, I could use the opportunity to say some important name, thinking that maybe the universe will help me to make it true. But what I'm enjoying as an actor is every encounter, meeting new people. And sometimes, you could learn more even from somebody like you who's looking for answers, who's still being on the new land. Sometimes you could learn from young actors reminding yourself [of] your first steps.

And I'm just, to honestly answer this question, I just love to work. And that's my dream, to continue doing it, meeting different people, different directors. Because every new person in your life is a big, big experience.

Channeling lived experience for roles

You also have a recurring role in the show "For All Mankind." What has that experience been like, and what's your favorite aspect of filming that show?

That was the first big role for me on American soil. And my experience was, my feeling was like I'm 20-something-years-old again. Because I'm starting everything from scratch. And that was a great experience, to be on the set with people you don't know, but you admire. Because I already watched the first season of "For All Mankind." I was thrilled [with] how great [the] acting [of] everybody is.

My first scene was really very difficult for me because it was the exchange of Russian. I'm the Russian counterpart of Margo Madison, played by wonderful Wrenn Schmidt, who's in charge of the mission control in the States. I'm [the] Russian mission control head. So the difficulty was that we had a very heated conversation, but in this scene [had] a lot of other actors, all the faces I knew from the first season probably. And they had nothing to do, just listening, being in there.

And so I could see how they are judging when you counter, somebody who will be [your] future colleague on set. And I think I passed the exam because they liked me and they welcomed me after that. But it was a very difficult first swimming lesson for me. And really, for me, this was something new as well — the script [and] the story being written and changed during the process of filming. That even though the showrunners are seeing that there is chemistry between actors, or there is not, they are changing the story.

Actors inspiring the script

So I was amazed [how] important your performance as an actor is, that it could actually change the way they had an idea about the character. So there is a big influence for actors. Actors could be influential in the storytelling. And I'm happy that my Sergei survived the second season. We already finished shooting the third season.

Yesterday, we [found out] that "For All Mankind" was nominated for the Critics Choice Award for Best Drama. So, that's awesome. And it's really deserved because the scripts are incredible and the way they tell the story — the idea of this alternative history — this series is becoming more science fiction with every season. Because at the beginning of the season, it's this alternative history: 'What would happen if Russians were first on the moon?' And from that point, the [show's] reality and the real history are taking different paths. So yeah, maybe it'll be more science fiction with every season. And it's a great idea.

A trip to Mars

Congratulations on the nomination. That's really cool. Can you vaguely tease anything that we might expect to see in Season 3?

It was already teased that the aim of our characters will be landing on Mars. But if we succeed [or not], that's the question. But yes, our series' reality is much more technologically advanced than [ours]. We [can] see how technologically advanced we are now, right? But imagine that the world in our reality is even more advanced. I don't know, I'm just a secondary actor. I'm not the one who would give any spoilers or teases.

I'm just happy. I think that from my perspective, I'm happy that Sergei is having his own moments. And I really enjoyed working on the third season, jumping with time and trying to understand the character. I think it was close, it was important for me because I was born in Poland, which was behind The Iron Curtain. And so I understand the fear, the grayness, the mentality of the people from [a] socialist era.

And probably this memory's helped me as well to understand the motives of Sergei, who is a Soviet guy, that sort of person. So sometimes your experience [can] be very helpful. And I could say, "Oh, I couldn't learn English. I started to learn English when I was 20-something. It was too late. I would never speak well." And things like that. But there [are] also some pluses, like, for example, understanding the mentality. Probably that's why I was lucky enough to win the audition.

Lightyears away

Is there anything else about "Hawkeye" or "For All Mankind" or any upcoming projects that you wanted to talk about?

If you'll allow me to tease and throw the one title, the title will be "Lightyears," and it's an Amazon series. The first season [is] with Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons. And that was [an] incredible, incredible adventure. So as I told you, I said that I feel young again because I [understand] that it is never too late. In a way, [the] pandemic influenced me to move to [the] United States for a while and give it a try. And it worked incredibly, so I'm really very, very happy to have these joyful moments of my life.

I feel like I'm having the best moment of my life, in a way. And starting again, being like a debut, starting from scratch. Nobody is judging me as, "Oh, I know this actor from so many roles." But here, it's like I'm just a new climber, and everybody's judging me from the point, what person I am or if I'm credible as an actor, if I'm credible as a character. So it's a new chapter in my life. I'm very proud, happy of it.

You mentioned a couple of big names on your upcoming Amazon series "Lightyears." What was it like working with some of those guys?

As I told you, the big, big names are so approachable. This is sometimes a big surprise. Of course, they have to sometimes be hidden. And this big popularity is probably a burden for them. But my experience is that I was just [acting with] my friends. And it's an honor to be able to call Sissy Spacek or J.K. Simmons your friend. But yeah, they were so friendly on set. And very helpful, understanding. I can't find words, that's not only because my English is limited, but it's really indescribable how [many] beautiful [moments] I received from the universe, having a chance to meet them and work with them.

New episodes of "Hawkeye" air Wednesdays on Disney+.