With the incredible success of the John Wick trilogy, it was inevitable that we would see a spin off to the franchise. Lionsgate recently announced that there would indeed be a spin off and tapped Len Wiseman to direct the movie titled Ballerina.
The premise of the film is built around a young female assassin who is out for revenge against the people who killed her family. It’s an old plot that’s been around since before the cinema, but original plotting isn’t exactly what fans of the John Wick universe are looking for. That should make it easier on writer Shay Hatten, whose resume includes Army of the Dead, Live Free or Die Hard, and John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum. While no word has been given about whether Keanu Reeves will make an appearance in the movie, his name will still appear in the credits as the executive producer. Kaley Smalley, the head of development for Wiseman’s Sketch Films, will join Reeves as an executive producer.
Wiseman is no stranger to action films driven by female stars. He helmed the Underworld series with Kate Beckinsale. The character that Ballerina centers on has already appeared in the John Wick franchise, being listed in the credits of Parabellum with Unity Phelan named as the actress. Whether Phelan will take up the role for the new film is unknown. As a rising star in the New York City Ballet, she definitely has the chops for the dancing portion—if there is any dancing in the film. But Hollywood has a history of using dancers to stand in for established actors for any choreographed sequences. Parabellum did set the stage for an appearance from Anjelica Huston as The Director, who presumably ran a program that turns young ballerinas into assassins.
Regardless of who is in it, Ballerina will no doubt live up to the John Wick legacy. The Hollywood Reporter got a peek at the script, and described it as “in the vein of La Femme Nikita, the 1990 female-centric assassin movie that helped launch the career of filmmaker Luc Besson, but with a more pulpy, hyper-stylized bent a la Quentin Tarantino or Matthew Vaughn.”