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So far, 2019 has been the year of the movie cat -- between Captain Marvel’s Goose and Church in Pet Sematary. So while the John Wick franchise has always centered on dogs, including the upcoming third chapter, felines marked their territory.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum director Chad Stahelski recalled a particular cat invasion during the filming of the sequel in Essaouira, Morocco. The sequence features Keanu Reeves’ Wick and new character Sofia (played by Halle Berry) and her pair of Belgian Malinois hound protectors fighting off a small army of assassins. Here’s what happened, in Stahelski’s words:
The irony! The director told Entertainment Weekly that, as a result, the crew had to build massive cages to house the cat residents while they shot the scene. They also tasked themselves with feeding them, Chad Stahelski commenting that there were more felines to feed than cast and crew members put together.
Halle Berry’s hounds, who she trained herself, were to be a major component of the scene in Morocco. But, as you can imagine, thousands of cats are distracting. Chad Stahelski continued with these words:
Sounds like a bit of a mess… but it makes for a great story and hopefully some great content for the John Wick 3 bonus features. The crew did not expect to run into cats, of all problems on set -- especially during a scene featuring dogs, no less.
In addition to working closely with the hounds -- such as a sequence where one of the dogs jumps off her back, scales a wall and takes someone down from above -- Halle Berry also trained hard to do her own badass stunts during the movie’s fight scenes. The actress has the bruises to show for it because she actually broke three ribs during rehearsal. She doesn’t know how it happened but considers it her "badge of honor."
Unexpected cat setbacks aside, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is shaping up to be a highly-anticipated release. It's already being highly praised by critics, with one reviewer deeming it an “action masterpiece." The movie is expected to make $30 to $40 million during its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut for the franchise yet. John Wick hits theaters on May 17.