Director Chad Stahelski is currently in production on John Wick: Chapter 4 in Germany, but the action director isn’t slowing down as he’s attached to yet another project. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. and Stahhelski are teaming to develop a feature film adaptation of Trevanian’s 1979 novel Shibumi.
“Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.”
“Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his exquisite mistress, Hel is unwillingly drawn back into the life he’d tried to leave behind when a beautiful young stranger arrives at his door, seeking help and refuge. It soon becomes clear that Hel is being tracked by his most sinister enemy—a supermonolith of international espionage known only as the Mother Company. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side, and on the other . . . shibumi.”
The book made a brief cameo in the original John Wick as the airport security guard is spotted reading it, the story likely had a direct influence on the world of high-end assassins inhabited by John Wick and could be an excellent follow-up once Stahelski completes John Wick: Chapter 5, said to be the final installment.
A previous incarnation of Shibumi had Keanu Reeves attached, but no actors are currently involved with it. Its period setting could help separate it from the more modern John Wick films.
Interestingly enough, American author Don Winslow penned another Nicholai Hel book called Satori and could give Warner Bros. source material for another film leading to a new franchise.
“It is the fall of 1951, and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six-year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu, or “naked kill,” is fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary “proximity sense”-an extra-awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world’s most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him.”
“The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: to go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union’s commissioner to China. It’s almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori-the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.”
It might be a long time before we ultimately see Shibumi hit the big screen.
John Wick 5 isn’t the only project Stahelski is also involved with as Lionsgate’s Highlander reboot is one of them with Henry Cavill in talks for a lead role, Sony Pictures has assigned him to helm a feature adaptation of their popular samurai video game Ghost of Tsushima, and the New Line Cinema hybrid action movie Classified (called Die Hard meets Indiana Jones).