In a bit of news that should be exciting for any fan of the action genre, it was announced that John Wick director Chad Stahelski has been tapped for another franchise in the action space. Even more exciting, he’s bringing John Wick writer and collaborator Derek Kolstad with him.
Stahelski will be tackling New Line’s English-language remake of South Korean action flick, The Man from Nowhere. Kolstad is on board to write the script, with Stahelski and Jason Spitz handling producer duties under their 87Eleven Entertainment banner. CJ E&M will also produce. THR reported the news.
2010’s The Man from Nowhere told the story of a quiet and reclusive owner of a pawnshop with a shady and violent past. When a drug cartel and organ-smuggling ring kidnaps the little girl who is is only friend, he returns to his old ways in order to save her. It was Korea’s highest-grossing movie that year, staying atop the box office for five weeks straight.
American remakes of foreign films, particularly action films, have often tended to be subpar thanks to flattened stories and generic action sequences. But The Man from Nowhere is right in the wheelhouse of Stahelski, which you can see from the trailer for the original film:
Along with John Wick co-collaborator, David Leitch, Stahelski has reinvented the U.S. action genre in recent years. Since largely cutting his teeth working on the Matrix franchise, the stuntman-turned-director has been one of the most sought-after names in the action genre. His popularity skyrocketed after John Wick thanks to his incorporation and expansion of “gun fu,” a fighting style combining martial arts and gun and weapon melee fighting. He took the style he’d learned while coordinating action in the Matrix franchise and adapted it to John Wick in grittier, bloodier, closer-quarters combat. The inventiveness of the franchise’s action sequences and distinct, color-saturated visual style showed it was possible to make memorable, high-end movies in a genre not known for them. The Hollywood action genre has long needed an injection of new talent, and Stahelski is proof of that.
Stahelski has directed all three John Wick movies and will be back on board for the fourth. He has a number of other projects in the works, including Lionsgate’s announced reboot of Highlander. More recently, he was reported that he and Leitch are reteaming with Matrix collaborator Lana Wachowski to consult on the stunts and action for The Matrix 4.
With The Man from Nowhere, New Line is hoping to launch a franchise on the level of John Wick, whose three movies have generated almost $580 million worldwide at the box office on a combined budget of about $135 million. Its success has also generated a number of spinoff projects, including the female-led Ballerina and a Starz TV series, The Continental, both of which are in development.