Guys, The John Wick 3 Dog Action Scenes Are Much Harder To Film Than You Realize
The following story will get into spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum**. Do yourself a favor and turn around now if you haven’t yet seen the film**.
Hard-to-kill hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) remains on the run at the start of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. He is declared excommunicado by the organization he used to call “home.” And there’s a bounty on his head, meaning every assassin in the greater New York City area is hunting him down. Wick needs allies… and some of his allies in the sequel are four-legged friends.
Director Chad Stahelski unleashes two ferocious dogs in several fight sequences for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, with Halle Berry commanding her two animals to defend her character, and John from attackers. During an appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, Stahelski explained in great detail the difficulty of shooting with the dogs, and the sheer amount of prep work that goes in to training a dog to attack – and the complications that come from that. He explains:
How does a filmmaker choreograph complicated long takes involving trained dogs who still are not really able to tell the difference between a fictional film set and a realistic fight? Especially when they are trying to complete the dog attack in the middle of an unbroken tracking shot, with loud gunshots and explosions going off all around them?
According to Chad Stahelski, speaking to the ReelBlend podcast, it requires an immense level of time commitment so that everyone involved with the stunts in the scene – from the actors to the stunt choreographers to the actual camera people – come to set months in advance to train with the dogs and familiarize themselves with the animals. He said:
Chad Stahelski goes on to say that a movie like John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum might five different dogs working with 10 different stuntmen, which requires each participant to spend two hours a day with the different dogs just so they know who to attack. As he explains in the interview, even though the stunt involving the dog doesn’t look massive, the amount of time it takes to get the dog to run from Point A to Point B and tackle the right person can take months to get right.
This is one of the many fascinating stories that Chad Stahelski told about the behind-the-scenes on the making of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. You really should give the whole interview a listen, as part of this week’s ReelBlend podcast:
This past weekend, the third John Wick movie finally dethroned Avengers: Endgame as the box office champ of the weekend, though the superhero ensemble adventure has banked more than $2.6 billion at the worldwide market, and can only go up from there. What did you go see this weekend? Did it involve dogs biting crotches? If so, then now you know how complicated those sequences were to pull off.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.