John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

With a 14-million target on his head, hitman John Wick runs for his life, fighting every assassin in New York to clear his name.        

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry
  • Director(s): Chad Stahelski
  • Producer(s): Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee
  • Screenwriter(s): Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams
  • Distributor: Summit Entertainment
  • Animal Coordinator: Animal Actors, International, Inc., A Tad West, Instinct - Animals for Film
  • Release Date: Friday, May 17, 2019

Featured Animal Action

Throughout the film, the main character has a dog, who is seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running on or off leash. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action, which the trained dog was accustomed to performing. The barking/growling was also a trained behavior.

In the scene where the actor walks with his dog through the rainy streets of Times Square, police barricades were set up at the perimeter of set to keep the public from interfering. The dog had been trained and prepped for the action and accustomed to running on a fishing line tether. Prior to filming the scene the trainers placed a tether clipped to the actor’s right wrist. The actor and dog were already acquainted.

When we see the actor in the back of the cab with the dog, the dog’s trainer was lying down on the floor of the car, overseeing the action.

When John Wick runs through a horse stable and fights with other men, six horses in their stables, the horses were prepped for specific behaviors that fit the film script. As John Wick is persued through a horse stable, the trainers cued the horses to kick out or rear up to take out his pursuers. Trainers made sure the fight scenes took place at a safe distance from the background horses. When we see the horse kick one of the bad guys, the trainers placed their trained kicking horse at his mark at the end of a row of stalls. The trainer worked the horse with riding crop and cuing him with his voice. On action, the trainer made a noise with the crop, the horse kicked. There were no actors in this shot. The kick to the actor was added in post-production. They cut and showed the actor on the ground as if he was already kicked. Also, the main actor pantomimed slapping the horse on the backside to get him to kick.

When we see the actor wrap a rope around another man, jump on a horse and ride the horse out of the building, dragging him, the trainers rehearsed this scene many times. A stuntman mounted the horse, with a bad guy or two hanging off the horse.

Keanu actor took the stuntman’s place, straightened up as though he had just jumped into the horse, then rode to the end of the aisle and turned right. Another stuntman dressed in black was also on the horse, controlling the horse so the actor can look behind him several times. The bad guy was rigged behind the horse. He was never dragged on the ground itself.

In the scene when the actor rides the horse down the street with motorcycles chasing him, the motorcycles kept their distance about 20-30 from the horse. Mats were placed on the street. On the next few takes, the actor started with the gun in his left hand for the entire transition to hold his firearm under the horse’s neck. The firing was added in post production. The two motorcycles were a safe distance of 30-40’ behind the actor. For the next chapter of this scene, a stuntman dressed as the main actor rides horse on the mats, with the motorcycles on the side. The motorcycles were never very close to the horse.

Whenever we see the pigeons in the coop on the roof of the building, the wranglers Kim placed the pigeons inside the coop before filming. They were recorded in the background inside the coop acting normally. On cut, at the end of the day, the pigeons were feed and left there overnight as the scenes would continue the following day.

In the scene where the woman walks out of the dark corner flanked by two growling dogs, trainers stood off-camera cuing the dogs to growl, sit, react.

In the scene where the actor shoots the dog, the minute the actor shoots the blank, the trainer off-camera gives the cue to get the dog to lie down. When the other dog attacks the shooter, the trainer/stuntman clicked a small buzzer and the dog jumped on him.

In the scene where the two dogs attack gunmen, the location was locked off. There was no gunfire with dogs present. The gunfire was added in post. The trainers were always in sight of the dogs. The protective dog vests were made to measure for each of the dogs. Dogs worked on a long line when doing the bite work. They rehearsed for this sequence for seven months. On action a green tug was pulled and the dogs ran at the stuntmen, jumping on them. When the dog runs up a ladder, and attacks a man on the roof, the dog was trained for this action. On action, the trainer on the roof cued the dog, the dog ran up the ladder and jumped on the stuntman. There was also a safety wire attached to the dog in case he didn’t make it all the way up.

In the scene where the man drives the camel with the actor slung across it, the camel was used to this action and wearing a harness.