Chad Stalehski Gives Updates on John Wick 4 Script, Stunts & Release Date
During an interview with Collider, John Wick 4 director Chad Stahelski offered new insights on developing the upcoming film, where the team is at in the scripting process, raising the stunt bar, and an update on the film’s release date.
Stalehski shared that while they were initially ready to move on and joked about doing “a romantic comedy or something” when John Wick 3 was complete, star Keanu Reeves revealed to the filmmaker that he was ready to for another shot at playing John Wick.
“We just kinda met each other when we were doing the [Parabellum] publicity tour and I think we were in Japan, and Keanu goes, ‘I think I got one more left in me,’ and we had one idea we didn’t use which we really loved and we have to cut it out of number three [Parabellum], just didn’t have the space for it. So we’re like, ‘Okay, we’ll do a fourth. That’s gonna be awesome. We’ll make a plan.’ The studios […] went, ‘We totally get what you’re trying to do.’ We submitted an idea or thematic [plan] and it was really big. So, we’re talking about doing a little bit more than a [John Wick 4], or something like that, and trying to develop that. We’ll see how that goes,” said Stahelski.
As far as where Stalehski and his team are in the pre-production process, Stalehski says that they are trying to shape the John Wick 4 “scriptment” into the foundation for a new entry: “We have, I wouldn’t call it a first draft but I’d call it a ‘scriptment’: A written-out story, part outline, part script, part thing. We know where we want to go, we know the thematics. We call it “the toy box.” It’s like a 100-and-something page document, but some of it’s written. It’s a good place to start. Then we start thinning it out, and then we work with the writers to get the right scenes, and then we start working with Keanu’s dialogue. It’s a very outward-in process for us. Then, we’ll do the inward-outward process which is about character. So, to answer your question, I’m in a happy place where we are in development. We got, not quite a locked-in first draft, but we’re in a place where we know what we want do and where we want to do it.”
Stalehski included that he and co-director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) never hide from the fact that they are stunt pros, adding that they are proud of their roots as stuntmen and stunt coordinators and how that plays well into making action movies. “I think Dave and I were both good at what we did as stuntmen and as choreographers. So, we don’t want to lose that. I want to be cool with the action. I want to be a better director, but that doesn’t mean I want to do less action or have less to do with the action. I guess the third one just felt like I needed a place to go after number two, and I had these ideas. It kind of became that wacky action movie. There’s been a couple days where I’ve decided to do number four and I’ve woken up in a cold sweat going, ‘Horses! How do I beat horses?!’ Like, I have no fuckin’ idea, to tell you the truth. […] I think I have a lot of really cool ideas for the next one that I think are different and shocking and fun and unique. How to do them, I have no fuckin’ idea right now. I’m still figuring it out.”
John Wick 4 was originally set to release on the same day as The Matrix 4 on May 21, 2021, in what has been dubbed by fans as Keanu Day. With movie productions largely shut down across the board, Stahelski revealed that he can’t give a solid release date for the next John Wick since The Matrix 4 “was only four weeks in when this all happened.”
“Keanu’s gotta finish up his commitment on The Matrix,” Stahelski continued, “which is a big deal and which I think will probably take him until the end of the year. Then we have to go into our prep mode and then we’ll start. So release dates, I’m sure with every production from Dave’s stuff to our stuff, who knows right now.”