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The Continental: From the World of John Wick Director Breaks Down Finale's Most Creative Fight Scene
From scrape ups at the top of skyscrapers to intimate fatal fights in the confines of the New York Public Library’s bookshelves, the John Wick film franchise is known for its high-intensity fight sequences.
The first John Wick prequel series expands the saga’s bloody battles of assassins by taking viewers back to New York in the 1970s. Director of two installments for The Continental: From the World of John Wick, Albert Hughes, spoke with NBC Insider about how one iconic fight scene came together for the show.
The series focuses on characters like a young Winston Scott (Colin Woodell) and Cormac (Mel Gibson), who starts off the show overseeing the hotel, but they aren’t the only characters who get a taste of the action. This is a John Wick spinoff, after all.
Director of The Continental Shares Inspiration Behind Phone Booth Fight Sequence
After discussing the upcoming—and at the time still unwritten—scene in Night 3 with showrunner Kirk Ward, Director Albert Hughes told NBC Insider he brought the idea of a "fight in a phone booth" based off an expression.
“I heard this all my life,” Hughes said. “These guys or women are slugging it out and it’s close quarters and the expression is, it was like watching a fight in a phone booth or it comes from boxing and sometimes they go to the ropes and they’re not fighting or dancing around, they’re just brawling.”
The decision to “go small” for the scene was purely creative and didn’t have to do with budget, Hughes said.
“What I wanted to do was do a scene that a kid like me in film school would hear a teacher say, you don’t have to have a big location,” Hughes said. “Look at this, they did a fight in a phone booth, you know, and they made it interesting, and they still got the story across. You don’t need to have this vast car chase and all that stuff, you just fight in a phone booth.”
The stunts and fight scenes on the show enlist a team of collaborators who help make the final product look seamless for audiences, Hughes told NBC Insider. Among them is director of the John Wick films Chad Stahelski, who is an executive producer on the show.
“Larnell Stovall was our action unit director and coordinator that was blessed by Chad Stahelski, and he learned, and he was embedded in the 87eleven company that Chad Stahelski and David Leitch co-own,” Hughes said. “They basically designed these action fight sequences for all the John Wick Movies and other Hollywood movies.”
In addition to Stahelski and Stoval, many of the creative minds behind The Continental have also worked on the John Wick films.
“Some of the stunt players, day players that are with the team I used four times like this guy Mikey Lehr played four different fight scenes as four different characters,” Hughes said. “He also edits the stunts right away when they start shooting it to see if it works.”
Hughes further commended Lehr’s talents calling him “the jack of all trades and master of some, some, some.”