This weekend sees the release of John Wick 4 and longtime director Chad Stahelski has talked about taking a much deserved hiatus from the action-packed franchise. Another film is horizon set directly in the John Wick universe with Ballerina. A spinoff feature film that will see Oscar-nominee Ana de Armas (Blonde) star in the lead after standout supporting roles in high-profile projects like No Time To Time, Blade Runner 2049, and The Gray Man.
One of the landmark films cited as inspiration for Ballerina is Luc Besson’s breakout European thriller La Femme Nikita that starred Anne Parillaud. It centers on a troubled young woman, Nikita, sentenced to lethal injection after a robbery with her street gang cohorts goes wrong leading to multiple deaths including her killing a police officer point blank with a handgun. When she wakes in a secret facility, it’s revealed that Nikita has been selected to become a government assassin. An American remake, Point of No Return, starring Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne would be released in 1993.
Parillaud is now confirmed to appear in Ballerina joining a stellar group of veteran international actors playing various characters in the John Wick universe.
Last month, the French actress posted on her official Instagram account that her role would be simply a cameo and was shooting scenes in Prague. Parillaud has been listed on film’s IMDB page but this is now solid confirmation she is indeed in the spinoff as the actress hadn’t been mentioned in previous trade reports concerning the cast.
Ballerina will focus on Rooney, a young woman connected to the Ruska Roma (Wick’s homestead criminal syndicate) who uses her obtained deadly skills to get revenge when her family is killed by hitmen.
Len Wiseman (Die Hard 4, Underworld) directs from a script penned by Shay Hatten (John Wick 3, John Wick 4) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman). Other members of the supporting cast includes Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), Gabriel Byrne (Point of No Return, The Usual Suspects), and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Due to the film being set during the six month gap between the events of John Wick 3 and John Wick 4 we’ll see the return of Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Anjelica Houston, and the late Lance Reddick in one of his final performances.
We can also share this nifty set photo from Ballerina with Reedus and de Armas.
Speaking of Luc Besson, The Ronin can confirm the spinoff was shot by French cinematographer Romain Lacourbas (The Witcher). The director of photography’s film credits include two action movies that were co-written and produced by Besson with Liam Neeson’s Taken 2 and Colombiana (a spiritual sequel to The Professional) that starred Zoe Saldaña.
Lionsgate hasn’t officially given Ballerina a release date but we’re hopeful that the studio gives the action pic a spot later this year, so they can capitalize on the goodwill of John Wick 4’s success. We’ll just have to wait a little longer before the studio makes an official announcement.