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Chad Stahelski On Len Wiseman Directing Ballerina, Says It Won’t Just Copy John Wick

June 1, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Unity Phelan John WIck 3 Ballerina

John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski is looking forward to Len Wiseman’s work directing the spinoff Ballerina, and teased a bit about the film in an interview. Stahelski spoke with THR about the film, which Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) is directing, and how the movie won’t just be copying the main franchise’s approach to action. Highlights are below:

On Wiseman directing the film: “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.”

On the film’s approach to action being different than John Wick’s: “Mm-hmm. 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.”