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Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry, stars, and director Chad Stahelski of John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Liongate releases John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum nationwide on May 17th, 2019.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Halle and Keanu, how would you define charisma? Can you detect your own charisma?

Halle Berry: I don't know how to define my own charisma, but I know how to define Keanu's. I can't think of many actors that can really be so alive and so captivating on film without saying very much at all, but Keanu has that gift, and itís a real gift. Thereís some quality, I donít really have the words for it, but I know how I feel when I watch someone on screen that just forces me to watch them whether theyíre talking or not. And itís not just because heís doing cool ass fighting scenes---itís just something about his person that makes you wanna watch him no matter what heís doing and go wherever he goes, without saying usually a word, and I think that thatís charisma.

Keanu Reeves: Through all og the performances Iíve see, thereís a quality that when youíre on screen I lean in, and Iím interested in that person. Thereís something about when you come on screen thereís like an authenticity, an intimacy, a strength, but thereís mystery. Thereís always a mystery to you, sheís right there, present, but thereís always something else and I want to know. So whenever youíre on screen that charisma of your humanity. I'm hanging onto what you're thinking and feeling, and I don't think that there's a separation. I feel you, and I'm sensitive to your character's emotions and what they're doing, and I root for you.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Chad, what was the process like to include such stylish choreography during the action scenes?

Chad Stahelski: When we choreograph, it starts with the character and what weíre trying to create. It always comes down to the most based denominator, which is the cast---the people actually doing the choreography. It doesnít work without the actual performer. Just like a great ballet, and a great dance doesn't work without that. So months and months and months and months of prep for the performer to do---elongated takes, no cuts, and if you look at the logistics of some of those sequences with dogs, horses and motorcycles, we try to immerse the audience in sort of like a live performance vibe like you guys watching us right now. But it can only be done when you have a certain amount of commitment that doesnít exist too often.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What are your thoughts on the use of CGI?

CS: Iím certainly not against digital effects. Iím not against using them to make things safer or more elaborate or bigger. Just for John Wick, weíve always considered the action to be character-based; weíve always considered it to be more of a live performance. Thatís why you see the longer takes and the wide angles that we use. We want it to be immersive. All three of us have gone to the Wachowski school of filmmaking at some point. The Matrix was a big influence on me, about how the Wachowskis really built their world of The Matrix. That sunk in for everything from a prop, to a set, to lighting. So, one of most the immersive ways we use in John Wick is through the action---to ground it---and then we see Halle and Keanu doing it, you quickly dismiss that thereís a separation between character and cast. Theyíre doing it as you see them so that you can actually believe that John Wick and Sophia will be able to do them. I think itís very immersive. When you go to a live theater or you watch a ballet, youíre not looking for stunt doubles, youíre not looking for wires, youíre not looking for CGI or cuts; you sit back and relax and you watch the performanceĖhuman beings doing cool stuff. Thatís just the attitude we took. Youíre going to see cool humans doing cool things and hopefully, thatíll immerse you into the character and their world.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Halle, what was it like to physically prepare for your role?

HB: First of all, the training was like nothing Iíve ever experienced in my whole career. And I had done a few action movies before. I trained for Catwoman and learned capoeira, I had done Storm [in X-Men] and [Jinx in] a Bond movie, and I was a gymnast as a teenager/child, so I had a great base. I was prepared because I saw Keanu doing it. After I saw John Wick: Chapter 2, I researched how they did this and I saw many videos of Keanu and his training, so I knew how hard it was. Itís just to be in it was life changing. I donít think Iíve ever worked harder, or longer to prepare for a part in a movie. I learned parts of jiu-jitsu on Keto, I learned how to fire a gun. I've never worked with firearms, really in that way before. I became a dog trainer, I mean, I went through the gamut. I donít have a black belt or anything, and I didnít get any belts in this training, but I will tell you this, if someone thought they were going to snatch my purse on the street, they better think again. Just surviving Chad and [action design company] 87eleven's training taught me that I can probably do just about anything. I broke three ribs in my training. I worked probably five weeks with three broken ribs before I even knew they were broken. Then I came back even better and stronger after breaking those ribs. This process really taught me what Iím made of, and it was really good for me to learn that.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like training with the dogs in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum?

HB: I trained with them for about five or six months. They were always the last part of my training. After I had done the fighting with Chad and the guys, Iíd go hang out with the dogs. It was the best part. They are really smart. I worked with five of them. My two main dogs had a stand-in each. And each dog had their own personality and was good at certain things, some snarled good, some bit well, some jumped higher than the others, some liked to just sit and look pretty, so it just all depended, but it was the most enjoyable part of the day actually because I am a huge animal/dog lover.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Chad, what was the process like to decide that there should definitely be a third chapter to the John Wick series?

CS: When Keanu and I did the first one, and we finished, I donít think we expected a sequel. We were already looking for other jobs. Itís a bit odd when you kill 84 people over a puppy, so we didnít know how that was gonna go over. When we got asked to do the second one, we were very interested, but we said, "Well, let us get together and weíll talk about it and if we come up with something weíd like to do, weíll do it." We finished the second one and thought, "Oh, we dodged that bullet, we did another good one, okay great." We were very happy about that. When we were asked to do a third one and we did the same thing, we got together and had a drink and said "I donít know, do we have a story to tell?" In either case, we were always willing to walk away if we didnít have more of the world we wanted to share, but every time weíve come back to the table, Keanuís come with just a ton of ideas and we both thought we wanted to spend more time with the character and I think thatís kind of the magic. Even now, weíll see how this one goes, and if thereís more to tell. Thereís always talk of sequels, especially on the business end of things, and yes we wanna do more. If my crew was solely living in the John Wick universe, Iíd be very thankful for that, thatís why we keep choosing to come back with all the other options out there. Itís fun, thereís no limits. Weíre allowed to create our own mythology. Itís not anything other than our own original intellectual property from Keanu, myself and the other creators---thatís what makes it fun. Itís an interesting story. Thereís an ethos there with the characters that we really love, and thereís a mythology that I think is attractive. We have our twisted sense of chivalry, our code of ethics, our world-building elements and we all like dogs, horses and kung fu.

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