John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski has signed on to adapt Ed Brubaker’s dark comic book series Kill or Be Killed. Stahelski worked for many years as a stuntman on a number of blockbusters before switching gear to directing, including Spider-Man 2, The Expendables, The Wolverine and The Matrix Trilogy. Stahelski also acted as Brandon Lee’s stand-in during reshoots on The Crow, where he doubled as Lee’s character following the actor’s tragic death; CGI was used to mask Stahelski’s face with Lee’s.
Stahelski and David Leitch co-directed the original John Wick, which soon became a major hit thanks to its blistering action scenes and cool characters. Stahelski became the sole director of John Wick: Chapter 2 while Leitch went off to make Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron. The duo are set to reunite for 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3, which is currently in pre-production.
While Stahelski is currently attached to direct a Highlander reboot, THR reveals he’s also signed up for an adaption of comic Kill or Be Killed. The Ed Brubaker written series follows a student who survives a suicide attempt, and is soon cursed by a demon - in order to stay alive, he must kill others for one month of life. Stahelski will reteam with his John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk for the project, with Erica Lee and Jeff Waxman also acting as producers. Dan Casey will handle the script.
Kill or Be Killed sounds like a natural fit for Stahelski’s high octane talents. The comic has received strong reviews since it debuted, and Brubaker is best known for writing acclaimed, pulpy comics like Criminal and Incognito, in addition to bringing Bucky Barnes back to life as The Winter Soldier in the Captain America comics. Brubaker also wrote the script for Nicolas Winding Refn’s planned Maniac Cop remake, but that project appears to have been scrapped.
Stahelski and Leitch both seem to have a full plate. Stahelski’s Highlander reboot is still being developed and has recently attached two writers to work on the script, while Leitch is busy working on Deadpool 2, where he replaced original director Tim Miller. While some fans were briefly worried that Disney buying Fox may have an impact on Deadpool 2’s rating, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that not only would the film remain R, but there also may be room for other R-rated Marvel movies in the future.
There’s currently no release date for Kill or Be Killed, but we’ll keep you updated as more information arrives.