The "John Wick" films have become bigger and better with each installment, says veteran actor Ian McShane, who plays the role of hotel owner and close friend to Keanu Reeves' eponymous assassin in the movie franchise. Working on the movie series, which has a dedicated fan base for its well-choreographed stunt sequences as well as the aura surrounding its lead star, has been "a pleasure for over the last 10 years" for McShane.
"They're terrific films to do. We've become great friends. Keanu is great to work with. It's been a pleasure over the last 10 years, though it doesn't seem like 10 years. The films have gotten bigger, better and there's more action. I'm just glad that I'm observing it from the outside," the 80-year-old actor told PTI in a virtual interview ahead of the release of "John Wick: Chapter 4" on Friday.
In the fourth part, McShane returns as Winston, the owner of the fictional upscale New York hotel called The Continental, a safe haven for international assassins. The action franchise started with 2014's "John Wick", about a retired assassin who returns to the world he had left behind to avenge the murder of a pup, a gift from his late wife.
It was followed by two sequels -- "John Wick: Chapter 2" (2017) and "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" (2019). The films are known for their intense combat sequences and violence so much so that McShane said whenever the new script comes to him, he goes to the last page to check whether his character has survived or not.
"I always look at the last page and see if I'm still around. And then this one, I thought, 'oh well, I'm still around'," the British veteran said.
McShane, also known for starring in American show "Deadwood" as well as films such as "Death Race", "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", "Scoop" and "Snow White and the Huntsman", said the fourth part was shot over the course of 104 days.
"...104 shooting days, 101 of which were nights. So on the final night when they said wrap, that was the most memorable because we were all freezing our a***s off in some parking lot outside Paris and driving in with the rush hour traffic at four in the morning.
What a hell of a way to finish a movie," he said.
For McShane, there is another adventure waiting in the "John Wick" universe with a spin-off movie, titled "Ballerina" and headlined by Ana de Armas.
"We've got 'Ballerina' coming out and Keanu is in that too because 'Ballerina' fits into sort of like chapter three and four. It's like 'John Wick' one, two, three and then 'Ballerina', and then 'John Wick' 4," the veteran star teased.
Directed by Len Wiseman, "Ballerina" centres around a young female assassin (Armas) who seeks revenge against those who killed her family. The character, who is trained in ballet, had a brief appearance in "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum". Filming is not always glamorous, but Armas made the production glamorous, said McShane, who will guest star as Winston in the spin-off along with Reeves.
"She's lovely, great and well prepared. She was in the middle of her action stuff and we had a couple of days where we did our stuff, Winston and Charon. They just wrapped production a couple of weeks ago," he added.
"John Wick: Chapter 4" will be released in Indian theatres on March 24 through Lionsgate. Shot in New York, Osaka, Berlin and Paris, the film also stars Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson and Rina Sawayama. The movie will also feature Lance Reddick, who passed away last week at the age of 60.
(With PTI inputs)