The long-awaited John Wick: Chapter 4 was delayed due to the pandemic, but the Keanu Reeves-led movie is finally hitting theatres next year. The fourth installment to the franchise that began back in 2014 isn't the only thing to look forward to from the wide world of underground assassins. While Starz is working on The Continental, a prequel set decades before the original films, Lionsgate has a Ballerina feature in development. The film will be based on the group led by Anjelica Huston's character in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Knives Out and No Time To Die star Ana de Armas would be starring in Ballerina. de Armas is currently promoting her new Netflix film, The Gray Man, and revealed in an interview with Elle that she brought in Oscar-winning writer Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) to help with the Ballerina script.
"It was really important for me to hire a female writer, because to that point when I got involved in the project, it was only the director, Len Wiseman, and another guy. And I was like, 'That's not going to work.' So I interviewed, like, five or six female writers. We hired Emerald Fennell, which I was so proud of," de Armas shared.
John Wick director Chad Stahelski is stepping aside for the Ballerina feature, which will be helmed by Len Wiseman. However, Stahelski will serve as an executive producer on the project to make sure it stays in line with the story that was previously established in his films.
"Having him [Ballerina director Len Wiseman] on board and approaching some of the action design from a slightly different perspective, meaning the set pieces, the character involvement, how and what he wants to do during the action sequences, makes it kind of fresh," Stahelski previously told THR. "So, we're not just copying ourselves over and over again with gun-fu or something like that. And because the character is different, we're going to get a different take on things. But as far as the level, the competence or the style of action? Yes. I plan to be there to assist whenever I can. And our 87eleven stunt team will be very actively involved in helping Len in all his action needs."
"[Wiseman] had a take that he wanted to pitch to Basil about how Ballerina fit into the John Wick world and how he could really spin it and put his taste on it," Stahelski added. "So, Basil and Thunder Road heard the pitch, and they wanted me to hear it. So, I went to dinner with Len, and he pitched me on his ideas and what he wanted to do with it. I already think he's a really good director, and I think he gets the tone. I think he understands action, and I think he's got a good visual style. And right off the bat, I was like, 'Oh, we've got to get this guy. He gets it.'"
Stay tuned for more updates on Ballerina, which does not yet have a release date. John Wick: Chapter 4 is currently scheduled to hit theatres on March 24, 2023.