There’s a sigh of relief from MyM as we raise the Highlander reboot with John Wick: Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski. “I’m a big fan of the original film and I would like to hold true to the mythology of that and then expand the universe, much in the same way we did with John Wick,” he says in an interview in Issue 59 of MyM magazine, immediately putting us at ease.
“I love the story of the immortals, I love the simplicity of the rules and the characters, it’s just about expanding it. I don’t think the Highlander sequels – two, three, four, five, six, whatever they were – really helped to expand the world because the first film was such a great set up. But that’s our biggest hump – we want to expand the world without overcomplicating what the story is really about. We don’t want to get off track, we want to make it fun and include all the great elements of the first one.”
Stahelski did an amazing job of taking Derek Kolstad’s script for John Wick and creating a new film universe full of A-list hitmen and their rules, so a similar treatment for Highlander would be very welcome.
“Two things stood out the most,” he explains when we ask about Kolstad’s script for the first John Wick film. “One, it was super simple. It was written about a guy. You didn’t waste time on government agencies, a meteor, aliens, anything like that. The way Derek had written the script, it never left John Wick. You were always with him. And once the dog died on page five, you were like, ‘OK, I get it.’
“But in the original script he only killed about four people and it was very grounded and a very serious film. Derek had also written it in a way that had a very formal etiquette to it – it spoke of Mr Wick and Mr so-and-so and we liked that. So we kept it. Derek had also read a lot of mythology on King Arthur and Greek mythology and set the rules and the form of those myths and applied it to the modern world. If you look at Tolkien he did it as an ancient piece, and we tried to come up with what would be a modern-day myth and built it around the hotel and certain characters, with guns for swords and suits for armour.”
Reports suggest that Kolstad and Stahelski are already hard at work on a John Wick: Chapter 3 script. We can’t leave our chat without finding out if that’s true…
“We haven’t really jumped into that yet,” Stahelski tells MyM. “We’ve all talked about it and we have a thought and an idea of where it should go, but that’s all. You’re at the point where a lot of guys get together and drink really expensive Scotch and really riff on big ideas. But there will be a third film.”
John Wick: Chapter 2 opens in US cinemas tomorrow and in UK cinemas on 17 February 2017.
Read the full interview with director Chad Stahelski in MyM Issue 59. Subscribe to MyM magazine and get a FREE T-SHIRT!