The John Wick movies are full of highly stylized and choreographed violence. That's why we love them. The action is a beautiful thing to behold as are the locations where that action takes place. John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski says that shooting on location is important to him, but doing so isn't always easy, because it frequently means trying to explain why you're trying to bring a truckload of guns into a foreign country. In the case of the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, that meant explaining to the nation of Morocco why they needed so many guns in order to be allowed to film there in the first place. As the director explains...
We had a truckload of [modified for filming] firearms that we were bringing into another country. That doesn’t guarantee you an invitation. You have to really explain it.
If the guns were all modified for filming then they likely couldn't actually function as real guns, but that likely isn't enough to impress officials when they see all the, otherwise, real weapons, you want to bring into their country. Sure, you're making a movie, but do you really need that many guns?
Well, it is a John Wick movie, so...yeah.
While the first John Wick movie stayed in New York, the second film took the story, and the title character, to Italy. For Chapter 3, John Wick will travel to the Sahara Desert. The production filmed the scenes in Morocco. Director Chad Stahelski tells THR his desire to film on location comes from a love of classic action movies like the work of Steve McQueen and early James Bond films, which always filmed on location. While these days you can take a movie anywhere in the universe with a green screen big enough, Stahelski still sees value in filming on location, but it does come with its own set of hurdles.
How much of John Wick 3 will take place in Morocco isn't clear. Chapter 2 had a strong opening that took place in Italy before the bulk of the action returned to New York. We know that the new film will open in New York, with Wick on the run from every assassin looking to cash in on his bounty, but he'll find himself in the desert looking for help from Sofia, another assassin played by Halle Berry.
While getting all those weapons into Morocco for filming might have required a bit of extra work, I feel confident that it will all be worth it. The John Wick series has created some of the most memorable action sequences of any recent films and whatever it was that led the production to film in the desert, we can be confident that the location for used to its fullest potential.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum hits theaters May 17.