‘John Wick 4’ Director Reveals Stair Sequence Was Filmed in Just Five Days
Mar 31, 2023
[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4]
The final action set piece from John Wick: Chapter 4 sees Keanu Reeves face off against a horde of enemies eager to kill him as he moves up the famous 220 stairs of the Sacré Coeur, in Paris, France. The action sequence is long and, in one moment, John Wick is thrown down the stairs after almost making it to the top. It looks like a complicated sequence, and director Chad Stahelski says they had to nail it in five days.
As is common for scenes that are filmed in major tourist locations, production crews can’t stay for very long, otherwise they can impact the local economy. Stahelski’s plan to have an action scene in such an iconic location was already ambitious, but having a few days to get it right made it all the more difficult. However, having been a stunt performer himself, the director was able to put together a distinct stunt crew, which means they’re able to do in a short time what other teams take longer to conceive.
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During an interview with Collider, the filmmaker told our own Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub the assets that helped them had the scene completed in just five or six days:
“[W]e rehearse very differently than other stunt teams. We rehearse a lot, we have Keanu, and we can move much quicker. When you’re not dividing it up between doubles, and wires, and safety, and you’re doing it on the real location, it’s as fast as the crew can move. You have a good crew. You have a good rehearsal and you have a cast member that does 98% of it himself. Then you can move fairly quickly. You just gotta have a plan and you gotta have great people that can put it together.”
Image via Lionsgate
RELATED: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Ending Explained: Does the Assassin Finally Earn His Freedom?
Stahelski Reveals Stunt Performer Fell Down 220 Stairs
When he says that his stunt team is different, Stahelski isn’t kidding. One of the best moments of the scene follows John Wick fall down several flights of stairs, and Reeves’ stunt performer Vincent Bouillon was able to take that surprising hit all at once on his second try, as the director reports:
“He had to do that twice, and on the second one, that take that you see in the movie, there’s no stitching. It is 100% real. We cut when he stopped rolling. It is the second take, all in, no digital effects other than wiping out the camera that was tracking down, it was on a cable cam. […] went about 65% of the way down the stairs, to 220 steps. And he did it all on the second take. Pretty impressive.”
The Sacré Coeur scene is just the last part of a frantic sequence that starts off in the streets of Paris, moves on to the Arc de Triomphe, then inside an apartment building for a one-take shot, and then to the famed stairs. Wick does this, so he can make it in time for a duel with a member of the High Table.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is in theaters now. You can watch an interview we did with Stahelski and Keanu Reeves below:
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