To state the obvious: one essential ingredient for a good action movie is … good action. And in an age when any old slob can be made to look like a superhero with a bit of green screen and CGI, unadulterated old-school stunts such as fist fights and car chases are in high demand. So who are you gonna call? Increasingly, the answer seems to be Leitch and Stahelski.
Far from household names, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski are very well known in Hollywood. Both from martial arts backgrounds, they went into movie stunts, establishing their own company, 87eleven, in 1997. They are the people who design the stunt sequences, provide the personnel and train the actors – from Scarlett Johansson to Keanu Reeves – the latter of whom Stahelski stunt-doubled for in the Matrix movies.
Movies - Captain - America - Civil - War
After doing second-unit directing on movies such as Captain America: Civil War and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, they realised they had everything they needed to make movies by themselves. So did Reeves, who asked them to direct the first John Wick in 2014. Detractors might sneer that the movie was basically one giant action sequence with a few dialogue breaks, but Stahelski and Leitch knew how to make that work, tempering the machismo with Reeves’s inherent soulfulness, and providing the slick, inventive, mordantly violent thrills that audiences crave. Stahelski went on to direct the Wick sequels while Leitch has directed Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and now the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
Stunt performers often take pride in their unsung heroism but certain insiders have always recognised their value. No surprises that Quentin Tarantino is a stunt aficionado. His forthcoming Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood hinges on the co-dependent dynamic between a washed-up TV...
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