John Wick director Chad Stahelski knows best! When it comes to film series, few have been as successful as the John Wick movie. Now that the John Wick film series has been established with four hits, it will continue to grow with spin-offs like The Continental and Ballerina.
But the John Wick films’ unique approach to worldbuilding sets them distinct from previous cinematic worlds. John Wick director Chad Stahelski spoke exclusively about his approach to creating a cinematic world, which includes staying out of the way of spin-offs like the planned Ballerina movie.
Chad Stahelski Is Pro-Creative Freedom
Many filmmakers and studios have a very calculated approach to storytelling when building a cinematic universe. On the other hand, Chad Stahelski’s take on the John Wick canon is a breath of new air. Stahelski wants to let filmmakers develop the films they envision for the series rather than intervene at every turn.
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Stahelski told The Direct he likes to “give as much help as I can in the beginning” before stepping back. He said that he had previously worked with Ballerina spinoff director Len Wiseman on Die Hard 4 and that Wiseman had been pleased by his respect for the John Wick films.
“I try to give as much help as I can in the beginning. And then honestly, like like Len Wiseman who’s directing, or who is currently posting ‘Ballerina.’ I actually worked for Len when he was directing ‘Die Hard 4’ and I was just a stuntman. So I’ve known Len for a while. Great guy, big fan of his.”
For the Ballerina spin-off, director Len Wiseman “came in and really immersed himself” in the John Wick universe. Stahelski shared everything with him but ultimately told him to “go do your own thing” and blessed him on his journey.
“The best was that he came in and really immersed himself into what we were doing in ‘John Wick 4’ and into the sequels, and then we heard his take on things. He had a lot of reverence for what lenses, what stuff. And look, I shared everything with him, and then the best thing I felt I could do was like, you know, ‘Bless you. Go with God, do your own thing. I don’t wanna know, blah, blah. Like, go do your thing.’”
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The John Wick films themselves are examples of Stahelski’s style of genre mixing. The films combine the aesthetics of Hong Kong cinema and Westerns with action, thriller, and revenge story elements. This blending of genres resulted in a setting that felt both familiar and fresh, factors that contributed to the franchise’s overall success.
Ballerina Starring Ana de Armas
Ballerina features a stellar cast, including Keanu Reeves as John Wick, Ana de Armas, Anjelica Huston, Gabriel Byrne, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and director Len Wiseman.
The official synopsis reveals that the film will center on a character played by Ana de Armas, an assassin schooled in the methods of the Ruska Roma. Particularly exciting is the casting of Ana de Armas in the lead role, as she has emerged as one of Hollywood’s rising stars with notable turns in recent films like Blade Runner 2049 and Knives Out.
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The actress has the range and ability to pull off the strenuous role of an assassin in a Ballerina. It goes without saying that the action sequences in Ballerina will be just as well choreographed as those in the John Wick films.