By: John M Jerva
I was busy this weekend to say the least and one interesting thing to pop up last week was Chad Stahelski serving us on some updates for the next John Wick film, the spin-off female centric Actioner Ballerina as well as his long in development Highlander redo.
First up, Stahelski chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the status of the fourth John Wick film which of course has been delayed due to the pandemic. The biggest thing was the omission of certain key plot points that were taken out of Parabellum so that they could use it for the fourth film.
“There’s a couple things. We had a couple of overlapping thematics, and I stripped it down to the bare essentials,” Stahelski tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And there were two action sequences that we had really kind of conceived, but we just didn’t have room for them. So, we pulled them from the movie. And I’d like to think that 90 percent of what I pulled, there’s a place in John Wick 4 that I can definitely reinsert them.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 was supposed to hit on May 21st of 2021 but now it will release in 2022 as Reeves will go back to filming The Matrix 4 once things get rolling again.
Stahelski then talked about his Highlander reboot which has been in discussion for quite some time.
As far as Highlander goes, it’s a project I’ve been working on for a little over three years now. It’s a project that’s not only near and dear to my heart but also the other creative people that are involved in it. It’s something that we feel we’ve got a good direction on. It’s just a tough nut to crack because the Highlander property is so involved and the mythology is so deep. But to try and make it our own, and be somewhat true to the original, yet do it in a way that makes it ours, is a little tricky. We don’t want to do a remake. We don’t want to do a reinvention. We want to do something that’s fresh, that utilizes the mythology of what everyone loves from the first movie. To make a good film is hard, to make a great film is even harder. We choose challenging projects in trying to be new and diverse — at least something that the audience hasn’t exactly seen our way yet. So, time is always a good thing, but I think I have a knack for picking projects that aren’t easy to develop. So, that’s good, I guess.
There is also the female centric spin-off Ballerina in the works which was teased a little in the third John Wick entry and it has been confirmed that Len Wiseman has been attached to helm that film. Stahelski will serve as a producer on the film and he talked about Wisemsn’s involvement and what he brings to the table.
I’m a producer on Ballerina, and Len’s name came up; I think Basil Iwanyk, who’s the main producer on Ballerina, brought it up. I actually have known Len for a while. I worked for him when he was directing Live Free or Die Hard. I worked for him as a stuntman on the show. So, I met him a while ago, and I love Len. He’s very creative. He’s a very visual director. He has a great sense of style. It was very interesting. I think Len had contacted Basil about it and said that he’s got a take. I think he had read Ballerina first. You’d have to check with Len, but I think he’d read a version of Ballerina and somehow got it in his head. He had a take that he wanted to pitch to Basil about how Ballerina fit into the John Wick world and how he could really spin it and put his taste on it. So, Basil and Thunder Road heard the pitch, and they wanted me to hear it. So, I went to dinner with Len, and he pitched me on his ideas and what he wanted to do with it. I already think he’s a really good director, and I think he gets the tone. I think he understands action, and I think he’s got a good visual style. And right off the bat, I was like, “Oh, we’ve got to get this guy. He gets it.” So, right now, I know that him and Shay are developing Ballerina. I’m not exactly sure what stage it’s at, but it’s something I know that both Lionsgate, Thunder Road and myself would like to see happen sooner rather than later. And from what I’ve heard recently, they’ve got a good angle on it and they’re actively developing.
Stahelski then mentioned how the action sequences will be switched up a bit so they won’t be repeating what we’ve already seen in the John Wick films.
The director has a lot to do, especially someone as stylistic and as good as Len is. Having him on board and approaching some of the action design from a slightly different perspective, meaning the set pieces, the character involvement, how and what he wants to do during the action sequences, makes it kind of fresh. So, we’re not just copying ourselves over and over again with gun-fu or something like that. And because the character is different, we’re going to get a different take on things. But as far as the level, the competence or the style of action? Yes. I plan to be there to assist whenever I can. And our 87eleven stunt team will be very actively involved in helping Len in all his action needs.
Anyway you want yo look at it, we have a substantial wait for don’t if these films especially the Highlander film as well as Ballerina as both of those films are still in the early stages of development. Hopefully John Wick 4 hits a date in 2022 and hopefully the wheels of Hollywood start to gear up once again.
For the full interview with Stahelski, check out the article in The Hollywood Reporter and remember to keep it locked and loaded right here as we are your source for everything action!!!