One of the more exciting (in an already action-packed trailer) moments teased in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which opens in theaters on Friday, is when so-called “assassin dogs” take out some baddies on behalf of Keanu Reeves’ titular character — which were trained by none other than Halle Berry herself. One might think that working with dogs in an action movie — in this case, Belgian Malinois hounds — would be challenging enough, but director Chad Stahelski found another hurdle while filming in the Moroccan town of Essaouira.
Lots and lots of “f*cking cats.”
Stahelski explained to EW that when the crew went to scout the location in the winter, there was what seemed, at the time, a manageable amount of cats hanging around. But that all changed when they showed up to begin filming:
We were like, There’s a few cats here, we’ll get a cat department, and we’re going to move all the cats out. We show up to shoot and there were literally a thousand cats, okay? And the cats have b—s of steel. They’re not afraid of anything. We had to build massive walls of cages. They’re just stray cats, but we want to be good handlers. So, we built little cat houses, put them in, had to feed them. We had walls of cats. Walls of fucking cats. The amount of f—ing cat food — we were probably feeding more cats than people on set.”
Berry elaborated that filming was “kind of chaos,” which seems to be putting it mildly, because as it turns out, dogs like to chase cats! “It was often hard to keep the dogs focused, because they’d see a cat and off they’d go, and sometimes that could ruin a whole great take,” she explained.
“While Keanu Reeves is killing ten guys over there, Halle is killing ten guys over here,” Stahelski continued. “And [there is the] stunt guy the dog’s got to focus on.”
You want that dog focused on what he’s supposed to bite, and what he’s not supposed to bite. Hit the mark, right? And there’s ten cats walking around and you’re going, ‘Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.’ You’re sitting behind the monitor going, ‘What’s the dog looking at? What’s the dog looking at? Oh my god oh my god, he’s going to bite — Argh!’ It got a little crazy between cat-wrangling, and dog-wrangling, and people-wrangling.
And you’ve got the studio back [in America] going, ‘Why are you a little behind? Just get the dog to do [it].’ And you’re like, I don’t speak dog. If I did I’d be f—ing rich! Anyway, that was kind of fun.”