Filmmaker Len Wiseman is set to direct the female-led John Wick spinoff, Ballerina. In less than five years, John Wick has gone from being a Keanu Reeves assassin thriller with little buzz to one of the most widely-acclaimed and popular action movie franchises in Hollywood at the moment. This year's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum alone grossed $323 million at the box office on a $75 million budget, and John Wick 4 was green-lit less than a week after the movie opened. Now, Lionsgate is taking steps to expand the property even further.
In addition to The Continental TV show spinoff (which still appears to be moving forward at Starz), the studio is planning a female-led spinoff film titled Ballerina. Said movie will revolve around one of the young female assassins who was shown being trained as a ballerina by The Director (Angelica Huston) in a key sequence early on during Parabellum. The project is reported to be on the fast-track for development, and already has both a screenplay and director in place.
According to Deadline, Wiseman is set to call the shots on Ballerina from a script by Parabellum cowriter Shay Hatten. The story will follow the aforementioned assassin as she sets out to take revenge against the people responsible for killing her family. Beyond that, however, details are being kept under-wraps for the time being (including, whether Reeves will cameo as John Wick or not).
Wiseman is no stranger to making films about deadly heroines, having previously directed his former wife Kate Beckinsale in the first two Underworld movies. He also called the shots on Live Free or Die Hard, the Total Recall reboot, and the pilots for series like Sleepy Hollow, Lucifer, and DC's Swamp Thing, among other popular genre TV shows. And though his previous films were far from critical darlings (save for, funnily enough, Live Free or Die Hard), they prove he has a knack for hard-hitting, action-packed genre fare. As such, Wiseman should be firmly in his wheelhouse overseeing an action-fueled, B-movie style spinoff like Ballerina, especially with a screenplay by Hatten (who also wrote Zack Snyder's upcoming zombie heist movie, Army of the Dead) in hand.
By this point, the John Wick movies have arguably built up enough mythology to sustain a shared universe that includes spinoffs like Ballerina. The project doesn't exactly have an inventive premise and it sounds more than a little like an R-rated version of Marvel's upcoming Black Widow solo film on paper, but could make for an exhilarating ride with the right execution. John Wick is easily one of the hottest non-comic book movie properties right now, so it shouldn't have any trouble attracting a decent cast either (including, the titular role). And as mentioned, it's coming together quickly, so expect more Ballerina-related updates in the foreseeable future.
- John Wick: Chapter 4 (2021) release date: May 21, 2021