How Joһn Wiсk Spinoff Bаllerinа Wаs Improved By Promisinɡ Younɡ Womаn Writer Hyped By Produсer: “A F——nɡ Greаt Drаft”

How John Wick Spinoff Ballerina Was Improved By Promising Young Woman  Writer Hyped By Producer: "A F——ng Great Draft"


  • Producer Basil Iwanyk praises Emerald Fennell’s contribution to the Ballerina script, emphasizing the need for a real and grounded female character in the John Wick spinoff.
  • Fennell’s work on Promising Young Woman and Killing Eve demonstrates her talent for storytelling and earned her multiple award nominations and wins.
  • With Fennell’s authentic female-driven script and director Len Wiseman’s genre expertise, Ballerina is poised to be an exciting expansion of the John Wick franchise, potentially reaching the critical heights of its predecessors.

As it gears up to introduce a new world of the John Wick franchise to audiences, producer Basil Iwanyk hypes how Promising Young Woman writer/director Emerald Fennell helped improve Ballerina. The upcoming movie acts as a spinoff of the Keanu Reeves-led action franchise, set between its third and fourth movies and centering on an assassin of the Ruska Roma syndicate who sets out to get revenge for the murders of her parents. Ana de Armas is leading the Ballerina ensemble cast alongside franchise vets Reeves, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane and newcomers Gabriel Byrne, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Norman Reedus.

While speaking exclusively with Screen Rant for John Wick: Chapter 4‘s Oscars campaign, Basil Iwanyk opened up about the forthcoming Ballerina. When asked about Fennell’s hiring to rewrite the script, the producer confirmed said reports and praised what the Promising Young Woman writer/director brought to the spinoff, acknowledging that while writer Shay Hatten’s original drafts were “terrific“, it was important to capture a “real and grounded” take for the female-led actioner. See what Iwanyk shared below:

Yeah, listen, we hired Emerald. I think Shay Hatten wrote a really cool script, right? Really, really cool script. He’s a terrific writer. This was the first script he ever wrote. He wrote it when he was like 22. I don’t know if you’ve ever met him, he looks like he’s 14. And we got his script to a certain point, we bring in Ana, and our promise to Ana was always at a certain point when we get the structure right and the action, we want to bring in a female writer in, because it’s not… What we don’t want, and this is important. We don’t want an action movie where we just took a male character, put in a female, and then just call it a day. We wanted this character to feel real, to feel feminine, to feel she wasn’t sexless, but she wasn’t objectified sexually. She wasn’t someone who doesn’t smile.

All the tropes that you see on a lot of female assassin movies, we wanted someone that felt legit and real and grounded female character. And Emerald is a gigantic John Wick fan. It’s just shocking how many fancy people love the John Wick movies. It’s like they apologize too, “Oh, I know.” I’m like, “It’s okay. You could admit it.” Emerald loves the John Wick movies. Loved it. And she was like, “I don’t see these kinds of movies. This is awesome.” And she wrote a f——ng great draft. And we used a vast majority of it. And she gave that character, honest character, some — I’m not saying real, because remember we’re talking about the John Wick world, but it felt grounded, emotionally grounded as a female character. That, mixed in with her lethality, is really, really f—-ng cool.

Why Ballerina Is The John Wick Franchise’s & Fennel’s Most Exciting Project Yet

All 5 Upcoming John Wick Movies & Spinoffs Explained - IMDb

With John Wick: Chapter 4 having raised the franchise’s bar to its peak in terms of action and sending Reeves’ iconic assassin off in style, every follow-up project has a lot to live up to, and Ballerina looks to be one of the most exciting yet. The first spinoff, The Continental miniseries, garnered mixed-to-positive reviews from critics as it explored the origins of the eponymous underworld hotel and both McShane and Reddick’s ties to it. Though its action was praised, its runtime was largely criticized for not being long enough to maintain its show length and too long to be a movie, thus failing to capitalize fully on its lore development.

Recent years have seen a surge of female-led action movies, though to a wide range of reactions, with the likes of Atomic Blonde and The Villainess garnering strong reviews, while Netflix’s Kate and Gunpowder Milkshake saw mixed receptions. In bringing Fennell on board to rewrite the script, however, the John Wick spinoff could prove to be one of the best of this trend. Her work on the dark comedic thriller Promising Young Woman netted Fennell three Oscar nominees and one win for Best Original Screenplay, while her time on Killing Eve garnered two Emmy nominations.

Fennell is also an accomplished actor, landing an Emmy nomination for her turn as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown and recently making a small appearance as Midge in Margot Robbie’s Barbie.

Pairing an authentic female-driven script from Fennell alongside the experienced genre direction of Len Wiseman, best known for co-creating the Underworld franchise, Ballerina is looking to be a very promising expansion of the John Wick franchise. The movie will also be a good test of Fennell’s abilities to write for the action genre as much as psychological thrillers, one some audiences are keen to see after her initial attachment to write a Zatanna movie for HBO Max before it was scrapped. Given James Gunn’s new DC Universe plans include characters with ties to the iconic musician, one can hope he and Fennell find a way to revive the project under his franchise, especially should Ballerina live up to the critical heights of its John Wick predecessors.

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