Ever since making his Hollywood debut in Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai in 2003, Hiroyuki Sanada has become the go-to guy for many productions seeking a grizzled Japanese badass. With over 50 years of acting experience and just as long training in martial arts, you can understand why. And now, the actor has now boarded the cast of John Wick: Chapter 4 as a mysterious figure known as Watanabe, but his mere presence is more than enough to generate excitement.
The ensemble for Keanu Reeves’ fourth outing as the legendary assassin is shaping up nicely, with Sanada joining returning stars Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne, along with new additions Rina Sawayama, Shamier Anderson, Bill Skarsgård and Donnie Yen, although Wesley Snipes won’t be part of the team as was rumored recently.
Still, that’s more than enough talent gearing up for a globetrotting adventure that’s set to kick off shooting in Paris and Berlin before heading off to Sanada’s native Japan, then eventually circling back around to the title hero’s home base of New York City. It’s another high profile gig for the 60 year-old, who recently stole every scene he was in as Mortal Kombat‘s Scorpion before showing up in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead as the facilitator of the central heist, while he’s also got star studded actioner Bullet Train in the can, which was ironically directed by David Leitch, who co-helmed the first Wick with Chad Stahelski.
John Wick: Chapter 4 may not be shooting back-to-back with the fifth installment anymore, but having been delayed for an entire year, fans will be happy enough in the knowledge that there’s just eleven months to go until it hits theaters on May 27th, 2022.