SPOILERS: Do not read any further if you haven’t seen John Wick 3. Ya been warned.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is not short on set pieces featuring inventive (and bloody) shoot outs and kills. But there’s one scene director Chad Stahelski and his star, Keanu Reeves, had to fight to keep in the movie.
The beat in question happens in the second act when Wick (Reeves) is forced to re-pledge his fidelity to the organization that just excommunicated him by, um, chopping off one of his own fingers. Not only does this choice complicate matters for all scenes following this one, but it also ripple effects the future of Lionsgate’s franchise.
“You have a left-handed actor who’s just deformed his left hand — and that left hand is in every shot of the third act of the movie,” Stahelski told The Hollywood Reporter. “VFX wise, there’s a cost associated with that. There’s logistical problems and practical filming that are associated with that. The studio does their job of questioning my visions and my methods to see if I really like it. It was an issue.”
Reeves and his director were insistent that the self-mutilation scene be included in the final cut. To make that happen, they agreed to other concessions to make it work with the budget they had in a way that made both the filmmakers and Lionsgate happy.
What’s making all parties happy must be audiences’ early collective response to the film at the box office. In Thursday previews, John Wick: Chapter 3 made a $5.9 million debut, significantly outpacing Chapter 2‘s Thursday gross of $2.2 million. Those numbers point to a solid opening weekend that all but guarantees a fourth film in the life of our favorite black-suited assassin. In fact, Stahelski told THR the groundwork for that sequel has already been laid in Parabellum.
“I think if you read [Parabellum co-writer] Shay [Hatten]’s script, and you look into the characters in that, you’d find your answer,” Stahelski strongly hinted. The third chapter ends with Wick being in a very unique, and broken, spot. Can’t wait to see how they deal with that in a fourth movie.
John Wick: Chapter 3 is in theaters now. Grab your tickets here.