Lance Reddick & Ian McShane on ‘Ballerina’ & Expanding Lore

Mar 18, 2023

Editor’s Note: We publish this interview with the sad awareness of Lance Reddick’s sudden passing earlier today. It was recorded last week and was already scheduled for publishing today.

Leading up to the theatrical release of the highly-anticipated Keanu Reeves-led John Wick: Chapter 4, Collider’s Steve Weintraub was able to sit down and discuss the movie with two of the franchise’s mainstays, Lance Reddick, who plays Continental concierge, Charon, and Ian McShane as Winston, the esteemed manager of said Continental Hotel. During the interview, Reddick, who’s best known for roles in popular series like The Wire and Fringe, discusses with us the way John Wick grew from “almost an independent film” to a “juggernaut” that transformed what action sagas could be, and we find out McShane (Deadwood) is as big a fan as we are of the “balletic quality of the kineticism of the action,” and director Chad Stahelski.

In Chapter 4, the lore of the High Table and the assassin underworld they orchestrate will further expand with the introduction of Bill Skarsgård’s Marquis de Gramont, tasked with tidying up the previous films’ bloodshed. A man-on-man fight against the Marquis appears to be John Wick’s (Reeves) final chance at freedom, but he’ll have to fight his way through the High Table member’s global alliances, including those Wick believed he could trust. Chapter 4 sees the return of Laurence Fishburne as Wick’s ally, the Bowery King, and introduces Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Natalia Tena, Scott Adkins, and more.

Both Reddick and McShane will reprise their roles for the Wick universe spinoff, Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas. During their conversation, which you can watch in the player above or read below, the two shed a little light on their roles within the film.

COLLIDER: I just want to say I am a huge fan of the John Wick franchise, and it is awesome to talk to you guys. Love this movie, love the franchise. You guys have both done so many things in your career. What does it mean to both of you to be part of a franchise like this that resonates with so many people around the world?

LANCE REDDICK: For me, it’s two things. First of all, I’m just amazed that it’s gotten to this point because it started as such a small, almost an independent film that I wasn’t sure was going to be much more than maybe a cult hit that I knew was just a great script that turned into this juggernaut. So, the fact that I’m part of not just such a big franchise, but such a big franchise that’s so, so well done, and it literally changed action films and then created a world that you’d never seen before is amazing to me.

And then, the fact that I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had that experience, particularly television, more than once. So I’m just kind of, “Damn, this is my career. This is cool.”

Image via Lionsgate

IAN MCSHANE: You never know. I mean, I’ve been doing this business a long time [laughs], a very long time. You never know what’s gonna happen with the movie. All I know is that there was a tight movie, the first one was great, looked at the cast, it was going to be fun. New York, Thanksgiving, five years, perfect! [There are] a lot of things to be taken into consideration when you do a movie: location, weather, time of year, [not] just the script [laughs]. And then suddenly, here we are, five films later, including the Ballerina, which we both did last year. But I mean, it’s been thrilling, it’s exciting. I love it. The cast is good.

The two people who were, I must say, responsible, I think, are Keanu and Chad, don’t you agree? I mean, Chad’s never done… I’m sure he’s been offered a zillion other movies, but he’s kept to this, and he’s refined this. It was a difficult thing to refine and expand. You know, the world has [gotten] bigger every time, but it all seems to be logical within it, and they look beautiful too. They’ve [gotten] even more gorgeous to look at, and the sort of balletic quality of the kineticism of the action is extraordinary to look at.

And at the same time, there’s also a film within a film. I said before, Keanu’s like it’s as if they put somebody’s head and said, “Wanted, dead or alive,” and all these assassins come from everywhere, all over the world for the pleasure of fighting John Wick, which is an underlying part of the movie, which is a kind of an interesting thing about this world. But I have the hotel, so there is a sort of continuity and a compelling sort of… Yeah, it’s a world which has been carefully thought out.

Image via Lionsgate

You mentioned Ballerina. I know that it takes place between John Wick 3 and 4, and I’m just curious, what can you tease it? Do you guys have a small role? Is it is a good role? I don’t know much about Ballerina.

MCSHANE: Well, it’s similar. Keanu’s in it too, but they’re all cameos in it. Basically, throughout the movie, he’s dotted a little more, and [Ana de Armas] was great doing her action, you know, she was terrific.

REDDICK: Our participation in it is so much about helping to, for the audience, connect that it’s part of the same world.

John Wick: Chapter 4 hits theaters on March 24. For an in-depth look at how they choreograph that balletic kineticism, check out our interview with Keanu Reeves below.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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