The world of John Wick is expanding. While fans are presently awaiting the release of John Wick: Chapter 4 this Friday, we are also getting ready for the release of Ballerina – a spinoff starring the Oscar-nominated talents of Ana de Armas. Having recently completed filming, the movie is now in post-production, and while there is still quite a lot about it that we don’t know, we do know that it will feature Lance Reddick and Ian McShane in supporting roles, and both actors recently spoke about their time working with the film’s star.
Two weeks prior to the horrible news from this past Friday about Lance Reddick’s death, I had the chance to interview him and co-star Ian McShane at the John Wick: Chapter 4 junket. In addition to discussing the motivations of their characters, Charon and Winston, at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the actors also talked about their time on the set of Ballerina. I asked specifically about their experience with Ana de Armas, and McShane began,
The character Ana plays is from John Wick 3, from the ballet school – which they've expanded upon that. She was great. I was in Prague last, what was it? Last November? December? We have a long scene together and she was great. Yeah.
For those who don’t recall, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum features a sequence at a ballet school where Keanu Reeves’ titular protagonist meets with The Director (Anjelica Huston). In one of the scenes with the two characters, The Director is instructing a ballerina played by Unity Phelan, and it’s she who will be the protagonist in Ballerina (recast with Ana de Armas in the role). Her name is Rooney, and she is not only a dancer, but an assassin-in-training – which shouldn’t be too surprising in the context of the franchise.
The character’s work as a hired killer presumably leads her to go to the New York Continental at some point in the new film, as that that would be the logical way that she encounters both Charon and Winston.
Ballerina will feature one of the last performances by Lance Reddick, and while it doesn’t sound like he will have too much screen time in the film, he was nonetheless impressed by what he saw from Ana de Armas. Said Reddick,
I had a short scene with her. But I mean, she's just so dynamic. And I mean, I wasn't there for any of the action, but given what I read in the script, it's gotta be a hell of a film. It's gonna be a hell of a film.
In addition to Lance Reddick and Ian McShane, Ballerina will also feature an appearance from Keanu Reeves – and it will mark the third time that Reeves has worked with Ana de Armas after 2015’s Knock Knock and 2016’s Exposed. Shay Hatten, the co-writer of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4, has penned the screenplay, and Len Wiseman is directing.
Lionsgate is set to distribute Ballerina, but the studio has not yet announced a release date for the film. Of course, the wait for that movie is made easier by the fact that we are about to see the theatrical arrival of John Wick: Chapter 4, which has earned rave reviews in recent weeks following press screenings and a surprise showing at the 2023 SWSW Film Festival.
Stay tuned for more from my interviews with the stars and director of the new sequel, and check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the big films set to be released in theaters and on streaming in the coming months.