Boban Marjanovic is many things. A best friend to Tobias Harris is certainly one of them. An action star is, as of today, another. The Sixers big man — the biggest in the league, actually — is a villain in the latest John Wick movie: John Wick 3: Parabellum.
We’ve known for some time that Marjanovic would be in the film, which continues the story of John Wick completely destroying any and every assassin that gets in his way. But what we didn’t know is how Boban got involved in the action movie franchise and what he will be doing in the film. Those answers came on Thursday in a piece in the Wall Street Journal that included interviews with Boban and Chad Stahelski, the film’s director. As it turns out, the role was not created for him, but rather Stahelski had a role in mind for a very tall killer that Marjanovic happened to fit perfectly.
“Someone with a heart and soul who was fun and interesting and yet gigantic,” said the director. “I couldn’t find anyone.”
But then he mentioned his seemingly impossible quest to one of his producers. Basil Iwanyk happened to be a Los Angeles Clippers fan, and his years of experience watching far too much basketball was finally about to come in handy. He knew there was exactly one man for the job.
“You need to get Boban,” Iwaynyk told Stahelski.
“What’s a Boban?”
There are a lot, of interesting details in the feature, which includes a small detail about Marjanovic’s work visa, which his agents feared would prevent him from working on the movie because it was given to him to play basketball, not act. Thankfully, all of that got sorted, because the stories about Boban filming the movie are a delight.
For example, Boban struggled to do mean things like kick a stunt double for Keanu Reeves, who said he flew about twice as far as he thought he would when the kick finally came. But perhaps the funniest thing in the Wall Street Journal piece is that while they filmed the scene, Marjanovic tried to get Keanu to join Instagram.
When he walked into the New York Public Library—“so, so big,” he said—Marjanovic was so psyched for the overnight shoot that he didn’t even need coffee. He took photos with the crew and towered over the rest of the cast. He had long discussions with his co-star. He even tried to pitch Keanu Reeves on joining Instagram.
“Keanu is like, ‘I barely even use my phone,’” Spidell said. “Boban is like, ‘No, it’s great, you can look at your friends’ pictures!’”
It doesn’t sound like Boban was very successful, but it’s a delightful pitch that illustrates how agreeable he seems to be.