Shamier Anderson plays Tracker in “John Wick: Chapter 4.” Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) — After defeating three movies’ worth of villains, John Wick: Chapter 4, in theaters Friday, hired new ones to threaten the title hero. Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror said his character, Chidi, believes he has the skills to take out John Wick (Keanu Reeves).
“Chidi didn’t even see him as a challenge,” Zaror told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. “‘I’m better’ is how he feels.”
Zaror, 44, has starred in Chilean action films like Mirageman, Mandrill and Redeemer. In Hollywood, Zaror has appeared in Machete Kills, Alita: Battle Angel and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, as well as performing stunts in Gemini Man.
He said that adding his Chilean style broke some of the patterns of Reeves’ typical John Wick movie fights.
“I wanted to break some rhythms in the choreography and add that flavor that I have in the way that I like to fight,” Zaror said.
Chidi works for the Marquis (Bill Skarsgard), an authority of the High Table of assassins, who arrives in the sequel to punish Wick and his home base of the New York Continental Hotel.
Wick survived a gunshot and fall from the top of the Continental at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum. So the Marquis hires more High Table assassins like Chidi and Caine (Donnie Yen) to finish the job.
Another new fighter in John Wick: Chapter 4 is Tracker (Shamier Anderson), who pledges his loyalty to the Marquis. Still, Tracker can’t help admiring Wick every time he sees him in action.
“He’s a spectator and an assassin,” Anderson said during an interview in Los Angeles.
Anderson, 31, suggested that Tracker has been following Wick since the first film. Though this is Tracker’s first appearance, Anderson said Tracker always was hiding just off camera.
“He was watching along the journey,” Anderson said. “You just don’t see him.”
Tracker’s secret weapon is a dog that attacks opponents at Tracker’s command. Six dogs played Tracker’s companion to avoid overworking one animal, and to take advantage of unique training for each.
“One dog can do jumping really well,” Anderson said. “One dog can do biting really well.”
With the High Table after him, Wick has few allies left in the world of assassins. One agrees to help him if he will take out the competition, Killa (Scott Adkins).
Adkins, 46, plays Killa and wears a prosthetic body suit. The makeup artists built the body suit based on a 3D body scan Adkins made while he was filming the movie, Day Shift. The Killa suit was waiting for him when he got to the set of John Wick.
“All the weight was on the shoulders,” Adkins told UPI in a Zoom. “You’re wearing it like braces.”
Killa fights Wick in his club under faucets raining water for atmosphere. Adkins said the prosthetic suit absorbed water, adding to the challenges of performing the fight scene with Reeves.
“My back was hurting, but you’ve just got to get on with it,” Adkins said. “‘Wick is pain’ is what Keanu Reeves would say a lot and he’s right.”
Another ally for Wick is Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada), the manager of the Osaka Continental. Chidi finds Wick hiding there and a fight breaks out.
Sanada, 62, began working in Japanese films as a child. His movie career took him to Hong Kong for the 1986 film Royal Warriors, and Hollywood for The Last Samurai, Mortal Kombat, The Wolverine, Avengers: Endgame and the Reeves movie, 47 Ronin.
Sanada said John Wick director Chad Stahelski allowed the actors to contribute to their fight scenes.
“[Stahelski] believes in stunt guys and actors very much,” Sanada said in Los Angeles. “He gave us the freedom so we could put ideas together.”
Sanada said that working with Hong Kong martial artist Yen reminded him of the style of Royal Warriors. However, Sanada said, facing off against Zaror was his first experience with the “very tall and powerful” Chilean.
Zaror also called the Osaka sequence of John Wick 4 challenging. Shimazu and his staff use traditional Japanese weapons to defend their territory, and Zaror said he worried he would get cut if he missed a mark.
Another John Wick: Chapter 4 sequence added vehicular elements that worried Zaror, he said. Chidi chases Wick through the streets of Paris, fighting in the midst of oncoming traffic.
“You know that if you mess up, you’re going to be run over by a car basically,” Zaror said. “You’ve got to be very focused and make sure you deliver.”
While Wick is fighting off new assassins, New York Continental Manager Winston (Ian McShane) also is in hot water with the Marquis. On-again, off-again support of Wick has threatened Winston’s standing with the High Table.
Even though Winston turned on Wick at the end of Chapter 3, Winston now picks Wick’s side over the Marquis. If Wick wins, Winston will get his hotel back.
Though Winston does not fight, McShane, 80, did travel to the film’s international locations. He filmed a scene with Skarsgard in The Louvre, walking down a long hallway to meet the Marquis at Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa.
McShane said during his Los Angeles interview that he only filmed the walk once or twice, but considered himself and the John Wick crew “very privileged” to film at The Louvre, “right around the corner from the Mona Lisa.“
McShane said he also appreciates how his supporting role in the first film resulted in larger roles in three sequels. He recalled that for the 2014 original, he simply “went to New York, filmed for a week, had a good time. Here we are 10 years later.”
Keanu Reeves (L) and Laurence Fishburne attend the premiere of “John Wick: Chapter 4” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on March 20, 2023. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo