John Wick was one of the biggest cinematic surprises I’ve ever experienced. What I thought would be a totally awful B-movie starring Keanu Reeves turned out to be one of the most kickass action movies I’d seen in some time. It also took place in my home state of New Jersey, which carries some serious brownie points.
Then the sequel came out earlier this year, and while it didn’t have the shock value of the original, it was as good as any recent action movie, continuing the strong trajectory of the John Wick movies.
Well, it looks as though the undoubted success of the first two films has caused the studio that makes them, Lionsgate, to consider turning John Wick into a full blown movie universe.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate won a bidding war to pick up a female-centric script titled Ballerina which they see as a platform for a possible John Wick spin-off.
via The Hollywood Reporter:
Basil Iwanyk, whose Thunder Road banner is behind the hit Wick action franchise starring Keanu Reeves, will produce Ballerina. While Lionsgate is relishing the idea of a franchise expansion, the screenwriter behind Ballerina is living out a Hollywood dream.
The deal marks the first sale for Shay Hatten, a 23-year-old scribe who idolizes Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) and is currently working as a writer’s assistant for Robert Downey Jr.’s production company, Team Downey. Hatten has been on an upward Hollywood trajectory since graduating from Loyola Marymount’s School of Film and Television in 2016. He snagged an internship at Team Downey while writing a black comedy script, Maximum King!, in his spare time, and that script led to representation at CAA and ended up on last year’s Black List and Blood List. Hatten was then upped by Downey to writer’s assistant, providing script notes and coverage on the company’s many projects while tackling what would become Ballerina on nights and weekends.
According to the report, Ballerina has been described as being in ‘the vein of La Femme Nikita, the 1990 female-centric assassin movie’ but with a more ‘pulpy, hyper-stylized bent a la Quentin Tarantino or Matthew Vaughn.’