When it comes to the world of stunt work, fewer names are bigger than Chad Stahelski. At one point, the filmmaker served as the stunt double for Keanu Reeves and now, he helps run Hollywood's 87eleven collective, a group of filmmakers and stunt people that includes Deadpool 2 helmer David Leitch amongst others. Stahelski has cut his teeth directing Reeves on the John Wick franchise and he's currently working on developing a Highlander reboot for Lionsgate.
Along the way, he's continued his work with stunts; he's also managed to get some credits on second united directing work for tentpole features like Birds of Prey and Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War. According to one recent interview, Stahelski says choreography and action design is still one of his favorite things to do in filmmaking.
"Helping or just collaborating with the directors, to put a different spin or take. Or to exchange ideas about action design – that’s something I’ll always love," Stahelski tells DiscussingFilm. "I’m a stunt guy and a martial artist. I am a choreographer, I love choreographing. I also have 30 years in the business and Joe and Anthony Russo are friends. Walter Hamada who works for Warner Bros. and runs DC, he’s a friend. So part of your question revolves around me having these relationships."
He adds, "There are also some people out there – if they called, I wouldn’t miss a beat. Even if it was to carry their bag to the car. Maybe I owed them. Maybe I just love them to death for their continued knowledge and input or just that they’re good f*cking people. So there’s that side of it. Especially with stunts, where you learn very quickly that your word, your wellbeing, and your respect is all very important. It’s a character thing. So most of us are pretty loyal to the people that have helped us in the past. There’s always that relationship."
Prior to production shutdowns in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmaker had been helping out on The Matrix 4, a franchise he's been involved with since its inception. Shortly after that wraps, Stahelski is expected to begin work on John Wick: Chapter 4 in hopes for a 2022 release.
Birds of Prey is now available wherever movies are sold while Captain America: Civil War is streaming on Disney+.