The story of John "Baba Yaga" Wick (Keanu Reeves) will continue in 2017 with the aptly-titled John Wick: Chapter Two. Many a character featured in the first John Wick installment was no longer alive by the end of the film (as John went home with his new puppy), but those who did survive will be appearing in the sequel too; among them being fan-favorite Deadwood alum Ian McShane as The Continental Hotel's proprietor, Winston.
McShane, fresh off playing a new character introduced in Game of Thrones season 6, has now offered some additional details about the next installment in the John Wick franchise. For those who missed it, the official John Wick: Chapter Two synopsis previously revealed that the sequel will see John called upon by "a former associate" - one whom John made a blood oath to years ago - who plans to take control of a "shadowy international assassins’ guild" that's based in Rome.
It would appear that Riccardo Scamarcio (Burnt) is playing the current head of said "shadowy international assassins' guild," as McShane revealed to EW that Scamarcio has been cast as the central antagonist in the John Wick sequel. McShane also joked about the high-body count of the first John Wick installment; at the same time, praising Scamarcio and his returning collaborators, including Reeves and director Chad Stahelski, on Chapter Two. Here is the quote from McShane:
"I’m kind of the only one left from the first ['John Wick']. This is same kind of premise. It’s not like two years later, but pretty soon after the first one. Keanu [Reeves] is a great guy. They got this terrific Italian kid, Riccardo Scamarcio, who plays the chief villain, who’s excellent, and we have a lot of stuff together. And the guy who directs it, Chad Stahelski, is really smart. He’s been Keanu’s stunt guy for [nearly] 20 years and he’s studied muay-thai. He’s got every stunt man who’s available for [this film]. The action looks like it was done by somebody out of Hong Kong instead of Hollywood which I always think is a great sight."
Stahelski has more than two decades' worth of stunt work under his belt and recently served as a second unit director on Captain America: Civil War. The stunts and close-quarter action sequences that he helped to craft on the first John Wick were among the film's most widely-praised elements. Similar to many a Hong Kong action/martial arts film before it, John Wick's fight scenes and shoot-outs are stylized (in terms of the cinematography), yet also make heavy use of practical stunt work by talented stunt performers (including Reeves himself) and avoid the kind of excessive editing often found in similar Hollywood action fare. McShane's latest comments suggest this should also hold true for the second installment.
Similarly, John Wick: Chapter Two (as its title suggests) will play out as a continuation of events from the first movie, according to McShane:
"Keanu gets a new dog. But yes, it’s about what comes on him after that. It’s all about the assassin’s code, if you like. He’s killed a Russian gangster and now there’s a contract out on him, so it’s a continuation. I loved the first one. This could be even better than the first."
Among the new characters that Reeves as John Wick will cross paths with in Chapter Two are a member of the international assassin underworld known as "The Bowery King" - played by Reeves' former Matrix costar Laurence Fisburne - as well as as-yet unidentified individuals played by such actors as Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black), Common (Run All Night), and Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street). McShane won't be the only familiar supporting player in the John Wick sequel either, as Lance Reddick (as The Continental's Charon) and John Leguizamo (as Aurelio) are slated to make (mostly likely brief) appearances in the film too.
John Wick: Chapter Two opens in U.S. theaters on February 10th, 2017.