John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum director Chad Stahelski talks about the process of training the attack dogs that appeared in the movie while at Collider‘s director’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Stahelski is currently working on post-production for John Wick 4, set for release in theaters on March 24, 2023. Series star Keanu Reeves will reprise his role alongside other cast members Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick.
John Wick 3 follows the titular assassin as he goes on the run after the unauthorized killing of a High Table crime lord at the end of John Wick 2. Midway through the film, he deals with former associate, Sofia (Halle Berry), who helps him find the Elder’s location who can clear Wick of his crimes, but not before fighting their way through a kasbah with Sofia’s attack dogs assisting the pair’s escape. The John Wick movies use dogs as symbolism for peace, a symbol that was elevated in John Wick 3 through Berry’s character.
At Collider‘s Directors on Directing panel at Comic-Con, Stahelski talked about how the fight sequence with the dogs was the most difficult to film in the movie. He talked about how the dogs needed months of training to not actually attack their targets, but only play attack to make it look convincing. He also mentions how they would put CGI cones over the stunt performer’s crotches for the dogs to attack to make the assault on those sensitive areas look real.
The John Wick films are defined by their unique and memorable action set pieces to tell their story. Given the highly stylized and minimally edited fight scenes in John Wick 3, it’s both surprising and not that Stahelski said the Casablanca sequence was the most difficult to film. The meticulous training of animals unsurprisingly takes much longer than the choreographing of just human-on-human fights with some of the best martial arts performers working in American cinema.
The training of animal actors is a long tradition in film, with directors going to great lengths to get the right performances out of animal co-stars. With John Wick using a dog as Wick’s metaphor for loss, it’s interesting to see how Berry’s character also sees dogs as important, taking the place of her unseen daughter. With John Wick 4 on the way, Stahelski has his work cut out for him to top the incredibly imaginative action of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but hopefully with nothing as difficult as the dog fight scene.
Source: Collider’s Directors on Directing Panel
- John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)Release date: Mar 24, 2023