Stahelski, DP Dan Laustsen and editor Nathan Orloff delve into the making of “Chapter 4,” including how they pulled off action scenes set at Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and on the steep steps that lead to the Sacré Cœur, in a new episode of THR’s ‘Behind the Screen.’
John Wick 5’ John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski admits he’s open to a fifth film in his assassin franchise starring Keanu Reeves for Lionsgate, following Chapter 4’s big debut. In its second weekend, the movie has already topped $245 million globally.
“It’s very flattering for them to come back and, you know, say ‘We want more’ and it’s not just a cash grab. It’s legitimately the audience wants more,” he says in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Behind the Screen podcast series. “I think we all need that little bit of time to go, ‘Whew. Let’s see what’s next.’ … If Keanu and I, a few months from now sit down at a whiskey bar in Japan again and go, ‘Yep, we’ll never do another one of those,’ and then all of a sudden go, ‘Yeah, but I got an idea,’ we’re open to it.”
Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chair Joe Drake previously told THR that “there’s a will and there’s an openness” if the team can find a “credible” way to deliver a fifth installment following John Wick 4‘s box office performance.
In the podcast episode, the director is joined by two-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dan Laustsen (who also lensed Chapters 2 and 3 in the franchise) and editor Nathan Orloff (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) to detail the making of John Wick 4, which involved filming in Japan, France, Jordan, Germany and New York.
That includes delving into action sequences such as one set around Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and another on the 270 steps that lead to the hilltop Sacré Cœur Basilica.
“We were [scouting] at the top of Sacré Cœur, the sun had just set. We looked down the stairs from the top, and went, ‘Oh, somebody’s going down this,’” says the director, adding “literally we’re like, not only is he going down this, we’re gonna have John Wick fight his way up. We’re gonna throw him back down and then we’re gonna have him and Donnie [Yen’s] character Caine do the Butch and Sundance thing and get to the top… We’ll do the music and we’ll make it like a Western. We’ll have him fight all the way to the top and bond just so we can see who kills each other at the top.”
Stahelski adds that he and Laustsen gave the night scene on the steps a moody atmosphere inspired by The Exorcist, using “as much practical lighting as we can from the lamp posts and [we] put our cranes up to get some fill in and try to work backwards from that with atmosphere.”
They also talked about the complex camera work, that involved Steadicam, handheld, as well as Spydercam to capture the fall. Says Stahelski, “When you see Keanu run up the steps and the camera’s going with him, that’s a guy with 120 pounds Steadicam running up after him.”
During the conversation, Stahelski, who is also a stunt performer, offered his take on the potential for stunts to become an Oscar category. “I don’t think you could find an argument or an individual with an argument that says stunts don’t deserve an Oscar. I don’t think that’s the issue. I just don’t think we’ve ever had the talk,” he says. “I’ve been in the business 35 years, I’ve never met a stunt person that’s sat down with an Academy member, nor have I met an Academy member that’s ever sat down with a stunt representative. That’s probably the first problem. No one’s actually talked.”
He adds, “I think the issue really is to get down at the table and ask the Academy, how [to structure an award].”