The Continental: From The World Of John Wick Director Albert Hughes discusses how he kept this series separate from the John Wick films.
John Wick is such a well loved franchise that there must be intense pressure to get things right when working on a franchise. During the press day for The Continental: From The World Of John Wick, Director Albert Hughes talks about finding the happy medium between linking to the John Wick world, but also doing his own thing with this series.
In the John Wick films, there is one central character, played by the talented Keanu Reeves, that we follow. In The Continental, it is mainly a backstory for Winston, but also for the assassin hotel. There are certainly links between the films and this three-part event series, but it is still its own thing.
Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The Continental: From The World Of John Wick would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions.
The Continental Director Talks Differing Series From John Wick
Director Albert Hughes explains that this all starts with not competing with Chad Stahelski, who directed the John Wick films. “He’s the best that does it,” Albert says, before admitting that he did however us his company, fight coordinator, and his producers. “I’m also a big believer in not overstaying your welcome.”
He was worried about action fatigue, but that is something that John Wick movies really get away with. He feels this is because they have a singular character and Keanu Reeves. “We have the advantage and disadvantage of, we have to tell a longer story and introduce more characters. We can’t get away with what a two hour movie gets away with, which is just a nonstop 30 minute or 25 minute or 10 minute set.”
Albert admits that he is not an action director, and so this was a bit of new territory for him. He explains that there are many examples in Hollywood history where a director can be the tastemaker of the scene, but isn’t the one to actually shoot it.
“My wants were more about brevity, keeping the action fresh, and the audience wanting more.” He goes on to say that with John Wick, the humor is in the violence, where as with The Continental: From The World Of John Wick, the humor is more dialogue and characters. “I referenced Jackie Chan, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton. What I love about Jackie Chan films, he plays with the objects. We’ll throw chairs. The sin is to bore.”
Albert confesses that living in the John Wick world, but still making The Continental its own thing was an interesting balance. He says he felt liberated and didn’t expect to have the best experience he has had in this career directing this three-part event.
“I didn’t expect that yes, there are rules to the world of John Wick, but there are no rules to what you do with the filmmaking. You can set your dogmatic rules. It eats up wild and idiosyncratic ideas at a rapid rate. The thing I love about what they establish is it doesn’t need to make sense.” If it’s cool, and the audience feels good about it, that is all that matters. “If you look at the reviews of all four of those John Wick films, any other film that did what they did, and they have done it in the past, since the 80s and 70s, they would just get slammed for this kind of stuff.”
John Wick didn’t bore the audience and that kept it interesting. Here, it’s a mysterious new world that we haven’t seen before, with rules the audience doesn’t know about.
See how Albert Hughes made The Continental its own thing, that is still connected to the world of John Wick, when it debuts Night 1 on Peacock Friday, September 22.
About The Continental: From The World Of John Wick
The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott, as he’s dragged into the Hell-scape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the hotel’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will eventually take his future throne.
The Continental: From The World Of John Wick Night 1 premieres Friday, September 22 on Peacock, followed by Night 2 airing September 29 and Night 3 airing October 6.
You Might Also Enjoy...
Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.