Making your feature film debut isn’t the easiest feat, but it sure helps to be surrounded with actors like Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe, and Adrianne Palicki, who bring their A-game to every single scene. That was the scenario for David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, two veteran 2nd unit guys who decided to make the leap to 1st unit for their feature debut, John Wick. You’ve seen their action work in films like The Expendables 3 and The Matrix, but these guys wanted to prove they weren’t just 2nd unit specialists who couldn’t tackle bigger fish.
The action sequences in John Wick emphatically showcase the technical prowess of Leitch and Stahelski, a testament to their action work on numerous blockbuster films, but the duo also prove they can string together a fluid movie as well. A lot of the locations really pop off the screen, especially a fictitious night club called the Red Circle, which shows a keen camera eye present in the newcomers. They create a fun B-Movie adventure that runs the typical cliches that any hitman-coming-out-of-retirement story would, but the spectacular attention to fight choreography elevates Reeve’s presence beyond that of an average gun-for-hire. Reeves is back, and that’s largely due to the explosive action Leitch and Stahelski create.
Sitting down with the two directors for an exclusive interview, we got to the root of John Wick and what made them choose such a title as their directorial debut. They discussed working with a loaded cast, the common misconceptions people make about 2nd unit crew members, and what it takes to create a lifelike Russian bathhouse.
Check it all out in the video above, and be sure to catch John Wick in theaters!