John Wick: Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski shed light on on what’s next for the Keanu Reeves assassin saga while also dispelling a few fan theories during an exclusive interview with loaded.
The follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit arrives in cinemas today and comes highly recommended by loaded.
In the meantime, we sat down with the man behind the mayhem for a quick chat that touched on everything from fucking up too many Mustangs to mention, to plans for sequels, prequels and whether or not Mr Wick would be able to take Bryan Mills in a fight.
You know, that guy with the particular set of skills.
loaded: So we’re back with John Wick: Chapter 2 – was there any apprehension about returning to the character for a second film?
Stahelski: Not so much with the character but then when we made the first film it was only ever meant to be one.
We had come up with tons of ideas as to how we could make the world interesting, in terms of the action, but it was always just a question of whether we could make it interesting enough or not. We knew fans would come back, whether it was good or bad, but it was more about whether we could introduce a new audience and expand it without seeming like it was just a cash cow.
That was one of the conditions of coming back with Keanu and the writer Derk Kolstad. We took a couple of months to see if we could come up with something or whether it was going to be a pass and it just clicked a couple of months in. So yes, there were some nerves and a bit of apprehension but we feel pretty good about what came out of the discussion
loaded: The film starts with a pretty memorable set piece in which John Wick seriously messes up his beloved Mustang – how many of those cars did you actually end up destroying during filming?
Stahelski: Good question, four actually and that’s actually all we had. Also, we lost one on like the first take. The first car jump you see is something called ‘The Flying Drift’ which is not easy to do. It’s skidding up a ramp sideways and our stunt driver sheered the car in half on the first take. Second take he nailed it though, though two more cars were essentially disintegrated over the next two days of filming.
loaded: You’re background is mainly in stunt work – what was your favourite set piece from this particular movie?
Stahelski: I actually really liked the little pencil fight. It might seem so simple and silly but I just kind of liked it.
loaded: Settle a fan theory for us – is John Wick actually living inside The Matrix?
Stahelski: [Laughs} I read that this morning, actually, which is pretty funny. I think John Wick exists in a Matrix. I don’t know if it’s the Matrix but it’s definitely an alternate reality.
loaded: [SPOILER ALERT] It looks almost certainly like there is going to be another John Wick film after this one. A lot of this chapter was set in Rome – are you going to move further afield with the follow-up?
Stahelski: Well, I like the circular nature of a lot mythology. I think he will end up back in New York at some point in the next film but I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more different aspects of the world. I’m a big fan of Asia and the Middle East so I would like to see them play parts in the movies.
loaded: There’s also been talk of a prequel TV series as well – is that something you are still keen on doing?
Stahelski: It’s actually in development right now. The prequel idea is a big idea for a TV show. It’s very much in the early stages but a lot of the creative think it’s a smart way of doing things.
loaded: Will Keanu be involved in that?
Stahelski: At some level but, again, it’s so early on. We would hope so.
loaded: One for the fans: Could John Wick beat Bryan Mills from Taken in a gun fight?
Stahelski: Oh yeah, that’s not even worth asking.
loaded: Hypothetically, say if Keanu Reeves hadn’t been around to play John Wick, who would you have gone to next?
Stahelski: See, that’s the thing. Keanu was attached before we came on to direct the original and the reason we came on to direct was because we knew his limitations and capabilities. The thing is, to do the action sequences we wanted to do, we knew there was really only one guy on the list capable of doing that stuff and that was Keanu. He’s a hard man to kill.
loaded: John Wick is constantly fighting – what would he do on his days off?
Stahelski: I think he just hangs out with his puppy and works on his car. John is very peaceful, he’s very Zen, and likes repetitive motion – as you can tell by his love of headshots.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.