No Keanu Reeves to put bullets in the head? No problem ! The new Prime Video series approaches the franchise from another end of the lens, less “action” but more atmospheric.
More than a billion dollars in global revenue, including 450 million for the Chapter 4 released at the beginning of the year: John Wick is clearly a movie franchise. Trying to make the move to the small screen was like a somersault, like thoughtless exploitation of a vein. Especially without Keanu Reeves ! How to successfully make John Wick without John Wick ?
“It was clearly a bit of anxiety: would the fans of John Wick want to see something from the world of John Wickbut without the character of John Wick ? Is the saga universe strong enough to hold up? These are the kinds of questions we asked ourselves, of course.” told us this week Basil Iwanyk And Erica Leeexecutive producers of the series The Continental which debuts this Friday on Prime Video. “That’s also why we decided to do a prequel, set in the 1970s. That way, people won’t spend their time wondering where John is in this story!”
Head to post-Vietnam War New York, a half-rotten Big Apple, which oozes crime from every pore. Within it is this untouchable hotel, which even the police cannot approach. At its summit struts the terrible Cormac (Mel Gibson), manager officiating for the High Table and who finds himself in a very bad situation when his protégé, Frankie, steals his most precious possession. Cormac will then send his men to kidnap the little brother, Winston Scott, who has been living in London for years and is forced to go into the depths of New York to try to save his brother from this hotel with its sinister rules and from this organization. all powerful, which operates in the shadows of the saga John Wick since the first part.
The Continental thus arrives with the idea of exploring the corners of the saga, to reveal its secrets. What is this hotel actually? And why is the Great Table so powerful? “It all ultimately comes down to this idea: are people excited enough about this world to go there, even without Keanu Reeves?” insist the producers. The series actually succeeds in bringing a new perspective on the franchise Wick, which will excite first and foremost fans of the films, but which can also be proud of having created a most striking 70’s New York. The reconstruction is spectacular down to the smallest details. It almost smells like urine and hot dogs through the screen. And Colin Woodell (crossed in I Love America opposite Sophie Marceau) is stunning in the young version of Ian McShane. With a formidable composure, he brings something different to the saga, much more talkative and, for once, a little parsimonious on the fighting side.
The producer Basil Iwanykpresent since the very start of the franchise in 2014, explains this narrative and artistic choice to us in a simple way :
“Keanu Reeves really has something unique. He doesn’t talk much. He has a great look. We just can’t reproduce that. We can’t reproduce the same rhythm as that of the films because it is largely linked to his presence and to the power of Keanu. So in a very conscious way, we didn’t try to make Keanu on the cheap. We made the choice to do things differently. I won’t hide from you that it was a huge creative challenge to overcome.”
Action sequences are therefore rarer than in films, but when they do break out, they still hurt a lot! Opening in the hotel corridors Continental is particularly enjoyable in this matter: “We hired the same stunt team as for the films and we tried to stay within the same aesthetic at this level. Because the movies John Wick are magnificent action films with characters steeped in ambiguity and that’s also what we tried to do in this series.”
The Continental, in 3 episodes, will be available from September 22 to October 6 on Prime Video in France.