NS: What style of Direction and Camera work did you use for JW ?
DL: We like to see the choreography. But a lot of times in Western Cinema, they just shoot the camera around and that’s just to hide the actor’s inability to do it, or for the need to create energy, lack of rehearsal time or lack of ability. With Keanu, we had an actor that could stand up to one shot and deliver compelling action. We wanted to highlight it. So you are going to see Keanu in longer takes of action and it’s going to be far more compelling and reminiscent of a movie set out of HK or Korea or even India.
NS: Fantastic! I’m a big fan of Keanu – He’s looks great and fit. Whatever I’ve seen of John Wicks it looks fantastic. Are you planning another film, now that this is done really well?
DL: Lionsgate and Summit are continuing the John Wicks saga; maybe we’ll do more John Wicks. We have an international TV series that we are planning with Keanu that has an action sort of component.
NS: Did he go into special kind of training? From what I saw in the promos, it’s very choreography driven and seems like something he would probably have had to rehearse a lot?
DL: We took Keanu through three months of training and that was 5-6 days a week. He did Judo, Jujitsu, and combat, combat fire arms with members of the LA Squad. Also, he did stunt driving, he learnt how to ‘drift’ a car and technical driving. That’s why the performance holds up in lighter shots and we don’t have to use camera tricks. We trained Keanu like a stuntman and he’s better than 99% of stuntmen out there. He respects and embraces the training and it’s not a burden to him as a star. It’s a blessing I think.
NS: How many days did it take you to shoot the entire action sequence of the film?
DL: The entire shoot was 40 days. In Western cinema, the cost of each day is so expensive that you have to plan accordingly. And you have to know exactly what you want or you get murdered in terms of schedule and budget. That’s why rehearsals are so important – planning storyboards, co-ordinate stunts, all of that is so important to the process because your shooting day is so expensive. 4o days is a relatively short shoot for the action that he got in this movie. The film cost 18 million dollars
NS: How dramatically do you think times have changed in terms of action? And which was your favorite era of action?
DL: How John Wicks rates amongst other films?
NS: No, I mean you as a stunt co-coordinator you are obviously influenced by a certain kind of action and shot-taking. And out of the eras from the Westerns to the Rambos to the Terminators and to the current lot of action films that are happening. What would be your favorite genre? Would it be what you’ve done in John Wick?
DL: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite genre. I just like the movies where the action moves the character and story forward and supports the bigger themes of the film and I think we did that in John Wick. It’s one man’s journey and psychosis, grieving over the loss of his wife and someone does this ultimate violation to him. He really in a sense overreacts and we go on this journey with him, right or wrong, we question our own morality of what John’s doing, but we go along. I like those types of movies. Making action for just a spectacle thing is fun for me as an action junkie but not as compelling. When it fits with the story and character, that’s when I like it.
NS: Who is your favorite action hero?
DL: I like so many. I’m hugely influenced by Jackie Chan and Chad would feel the same, respecting him as a stunt performer and also respecting him as a choreographer and his shooting style and his editing style and his ability to add humour and entertain and audience is really surpassed by nobody. John Wick is not Jackie Chan but his films are amazing.
NS: Have you seen any Bollywood action films?
DL: I’m not a huge connoisseur of it, but it’s becoming more popular in the States and it’s soon going to be a real element here.
NS: Would you consider making a Bollywood film if you had the opportunity?
DL: Yes. It’s all about time and opportunity and it seems interesting. I’m a student of the world and in dealing in the stunt business and movie business I travel all over the world. Majority of my adult life, I’ve lived outside the US making movies. I’ve never been to India, but would I want to make a movie there? Absolutely!
NS: What’s next after John Wick? Are you developing something yourself, or something you’ve read?
DL: People have responded tremendously to the movie so we’ve been taking a lot of meetings with the studios and they have been discussing with us, we are trying to decide our next move and hopefully we’ll cash in on this. Being a director it’s an all consuming work and takes well over a year of your life to complete a movie, so you’ll never be in love with it!
NS: So now that you all have turned directors, are you still going to choreograph for other people and stunt co-ordinate for other films?
DL: I don’t think we could ever quit entirely. I turned down a couple of big projects as an action director. It’s really refreshing to be home and doing promos on John Wick so I’m kinda feeling spoiled. I’ve been in LA for over a year. We’ll probably do something through our company, and bring in some younger guys. That’s the plan.
Disclaimer- The reviewer is well respected as an Action connoisseur in global action communities. Amdb (Action movie Data Base) is a site solely designed to review and promote “only” action Films. The reviewer has served as an action consultant to many Action films. He is graduate in advance screen writing. And Above all he know’s what the F he’s talking about.
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