Exclusive: ‘John Wick 3’ Director on Upping the Action, Test Screening Reactions, and That Title

     January 17, 2019

With the fantastic-looking first John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum trailer now online, I recently got to sit down with director Chad Stahelski in the Los Angeles editing room to talk about the upcoming sequel. During the extended interview, Stahelski talked about where he’s at in the edit, what he wants fans to know about the story and sequel, how they’ve upped the action and amount of set pieces in the third film, how they leaned into what Keanu Reeves is good at for the action, why they do long takes in the film, how the film has two big storylines, what they’ve learned while editing about the film, how fans of genre stuff, Kurosawa, Sergio Leoni, Spaghetti Westerns or Kung Fu movies will notice a lot of references in John Wick 3, and so much more. My favorite part of the conversation is when he reveals the crazy note the test screening audiences told him. I won’t spoil it here.

john-wick-3-posterAs you may recall, at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, Wick (Keanu Reeves) was declared “excommunicado” and a global bounty had been put on his head for killing Santino inside the sanctuary of the Continental hotel. John Wick: Chapter 3 picks up almost immediately after the end of the previous film.

John Wick: Chapter 3 opens May 17th and also stars Ian McShane, Lawrence Fishburne, Anelica Huston, Halle Berry, Jason Mantzoukas, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tiger Hu Chen, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Lance Reddick, Common, and Ruby Rose.

Check out what Chad Stahelski had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Chad Stahelski:

  • What does he want fans to know about the third film and the story?
  • Where is he in the edit with the release date fast approaching?
  • When does he have to deliver the movie to the studio?
  • How many action set-pieces are in Chapter 3 and how have they upped the action?
  • How have they leaned into what Reeves is good at for the action.
  • Why they always do long takes during action sequences and whether that continues in Chapter 3.
  • john-wick-3-keanu-reeves-halle-berry

    Image via Lionsgate

    What has he learned while in the editing room and how long was his first cut?

  • How the film has two storylines.
  • What did he learn from the recent test screenings?
  • How fans of genre stuff, Kurosawa, Sergio Leoni, Spaghetti Westerns or Kung Fu movies are going to see a lot of references in John Wick 3.
  • What can he tease about Keanu Reeves riding the horse in New York City?

Here’s the official synopsis for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum:

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run for two reasons… he’s being hunted for a global $14 million dollar open contract on his life, and for breaking a central rule: taking a life on Continental Hotel grounds. The victim was a member of the High Table who ordered the open contract. John should have already been executed, except the Continental’s manager, Winston, has given him a one-hour grace period before he’s “Excommunicado” – membership revoked, banned from all services and cut off from other members. John uses the service industry to stay alive as he fights and kills his way out of New York City.

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