WARNING: This article contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
Whether or not you think modern day action movies are just too long, it’s difficult to ignore how good John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is. (Not to mention how good star Keanu Reeves is in it.) As much fun as it is to see the “retired” assassin blast, stab, kick and punch his way through a seemingly endless array of bad guys and girls, however, surprise franchise’s latest entry does something rather shocking to its hero in the second act. What’s more, Reeves and director Chad Stahelski had to fight the studio for it.
About midway through the film, Wick seeks the aide of The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui), a ranking member of the High Table. In order to prove how committed he will be to him, the hero slices off the ring finger on his left hand and gives his wedding ring to him. As Stahelski explained to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio balked at this — largely because of its potential financial costs on the production:
“No one creatively saw a problem with it, but it comes down to a simple matter of financials. Without giving away the spoiler, you saw it; you know what he does. That’s on his lead hand. You have a left-handed actor who’s just deformed his left hand and that left hand is in every shot of the third act of the movie. VFX wise, there’s a cost associated with that. There’s logistical problems and practical filming that are associated with that. The studio does their job of questioning my visions and my methods to see if I really like it.”
Despite the studio’s issues with the scene, Stahelski and Reeves “felt very strongly about [it] being an emotional trigger and incredibly symbolic of what he’s giving up at that moment in that scene.” They were also “willing to [make] sacrifices in other areas to preserve the funds to make that come to fruition.” As a result, the filmmaker and the actor were able to keep the shocking scene in the movie, though not without cutting back on other aspects of the production. As for what those cuts were, Stahelski didn’t say.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)