Is that, then, the thought process between the distinction that it’s “Chapter 2″, not just John Wick 2. Does that allow it to be its own thing?
STAHELSKI: It was a completely conscious decision. That’s why we named it Chapter 2. It was a like a chapter in a book. Where, if you pick up a book, you don’t have to read the beginning, you can just jump into a chapter.
And you changed the locale a bit, yeah? I’m assuming you shot on location?
STAHELSKI: Yeah, I grew up with the old James Bond films that made me want to go to Paris or London, wherever. And we wanted to show people a new side of John Wick, so Italy. Other than two or three little bits it was all on location, but a good two-thirds of the movie is still in New York, yeah.
In term of your newcomers, I know you wrote one of the roles with Laurence [Fishburne] in mind. Did you write Common’s role with him in mind?
STAHELSKI: Common’s role was made, we’re basically writing, what would John Wick be like if he stayed in the business? If he didn’t retire. We went through a lot of very cool actors, I thought all very different. I didn’t know much about Common, to tell you the truth. Everyone told me good things about him. When I met him, he had so much energy. He walked in a t-shirt and jeans, and he had class, as you probably saw today. He was incredibly polite, incredibly humble, very articulate and we were like, “Oh shit, it’s John Wick.” We literally cast him on the spot. We didn’t have to do a screen test we just knew this guy is in it. We met Willem Dafoe in the first one like my partner and I Dave [Leitch] and men like Lance Reddick, Willem Dafoe and John Leguizamo, it had nothing to do with the job. We met them, they saw our artwork, and they wanted to be on the movie.
I would imagine the work is hard enough that there are other jobs are easier to do if you’re just looking for a part.
STAHELSKI: [laughs] Yeah John Wick is pretty demanding. Every film is two years a project so you better like the project, you better like the people, and you better like the set. There’s a lot of love in there, so let’s see what happens.
I know you said you weren’t thinking of a sequel but when the opportunity came up, and I know you’re working on other projects. How did you decide to kinda lock in on this one?
STAHELSKI: When we finished the first John Wick it was successful by its own standards. The studio asked us to do another one, and we didn’t really know what to do. We hadn’t give it a thought. We thought this was like a one off. There were other offers for other jobs, but sometimes there’s agents and managers and everyone’s saying you gotta do this, go do an action, go do a serious drama. I sat with my wife and we just had a long talk…. To spend every day with those guys, it was a lot of fun and I just realized it was the best choice.
It’s way too early to be asking about a third one, but I’m going to ask about a third one.
STAHELSKI: Yeah, the studio has asked us to put our heads together and see if we can come up with something. Winston’s [McShane] is a big part of the next one, so is Lance Reddick. We’ve got some ideas. Love Lance, Lance is great, fantastic actor super great guy and we have a good cast. I keep saying that, we have a really great cast [laughs].
Oh, I do want to ask about Ruby Rose as well. She showed up on Orange is the New Black and now she’s like an action star. What dynamic is she bringing to this?
STAHELSKI: I saw her, and at first I really liked her. We wanted to write this character called Ares, and we wanted somebody that wasn’t necessarily predictable. She’s not mainstream, but talking to her she got it. She was interested and to come into a film like Wick that is not cookie cutter.I don’t know if she was expecting Wick to be as kooky as it really is, but she’s mute in the movie, she does the whole thing in sign language. She was nervous for the first couple days, and then she just went for it. She’s good, and she took a risk most actresses wouldn’t have taken, so kudos to her.