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“They were not seeing it as whole”: John Wick 4 Director Made Editing Team Watch Movie Multiple Times After Forced to Trim 3 Hours 45 Minutes Run-Time to Avoid Backlash

“They were not seeing it as whole”: John Wick 4 Director Made Editing Team Watch Movie Multiple Times After Forced to Trim 3 Hours 45 Minutes Run-Time to Avoid Backlash

John Wick: Chapter 4 is the latest installment in the high-octane action franchise and fans couldn’t be happier for the critical appreciation it is receiving from critics. However, that film probably would have failed to impress its viewers if editor Nathan Orloff and director Chad Stahelski had stuck to the original first cut of the movie which came down to an eyebrow-raising runtime of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Movies don’t even have a 3-hour runtime anymore. Anything longer is an almost guaranteed flop at the box office. However, Stahelski and Orloff prevented this disaster by doing something odd- forcing the editing team to watch the film over and over again.

How John Wick: Chapter 4 Director Saved The Film 

Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves
Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves

In an interview with Indiewire, John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski said that it was an uphill climb to get the runtime of the movie to its current 169 minutes from the first cut of 3 hours and 45 minutes. He said:

“To be really honest with you, zero was planned out. Our first cut was three hours and 45 minutes, and it felt like three hours and 45 minutes. We were like, ‘Oh, we’re so screwed.'”

But editor Nathan Orloff knew how to get things under control and make the movie worthy of being watched in theaters. The editor expressed that all he did was compress and cut out any repeated parts of the film. As per him:

“You just compress, compress, compress. I went through a pass where anytime someone repeated an idea they had already expressed, I cut it out. No repeated ideas. It’s a very linear story, so there wasn’t a ton of reconstruction or rearrangement.”

Read More: “He was such a special person”: An Emotional Keanu Reeves Pays a Heartfelt Tribute to Lance Reddick at John Wick: Chapter 4’s L.A. Premiere

Chad Stahelski
Chad Stahelski

Stahelski then chimed in to say that he made the post-production team watch and then re-watch the film even if it lost a mere 30 seconds of footage to ensure that the flow of the film was consistent. The director said:

“My editorial staff probably hates me because even if we just took 30 seconds out of something, I’d make everybody watch the movie again. That’s the only way you know you have the right pace. You feel that bump in movies all the time because they were doing it in pieces and not seeing it as a whole. The last thing you want to do is treat it as a bunch of parts.”

But why was the first cut of John Wick: Chapter 4 that long anyway? It was all due to the sheer number of characters who are getting introduced in the film.

Read More: Late Acting Legend Lance Reddick Will Appear in 1 More John Wick Movie After Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 Is Packed With New Characters 

Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise
Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise

John Wick: Chapter 4 does a great job of expanding the titular character’s world by introducing new supporting cast members like Shamier Anderson’s Mr. Nobody, Rina Sawayama’s Akira, Donnie Yen’s Caine, and more. Thankfully, they all get their moments to shine without detracting from John Wick’s story. IndieWire explained the structure of the movie as:

“A tightening spiral in which all the components of the story gradually come together until they culminate in a climax that pays each character’s arc off…Once all the puzzle pieces lock into place, ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ achieves a level of mythic poetry that not only invites but earns comparison with ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.'” 

Read More: “The curse is kind of lifted”: John Wick 4 Director is Pumped for ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ After ‘The Last of Us’ Massive Success With Pedro Pascal

Editor Nathan Orloff explained that even amid everything going on, he always wanted to ensure that the titular character remained the center of the John Wick franchise.

“I wanted to make sure that [John] was still the center of the universe that everything always led back to him even though we were cutting away from him.”

It looks like the hard work and care put into the film paid off because Variety claims that John Wick: Chapter 4 is estimated to collect $65 million to $70 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend. The outlet also guesses that by the end of the weekend, the movie will gross $100 million to $115 million globally, setting a franchise-best record. It remains to be seen if this prediction comes true or not.

John Wick: Chapter 4 releases on 24 March 2023.

Source: IndieWire and Variety

Written by Ishita Chatterjee

A literature graduate who loves sharing her views on everything pop-culture and entertainment. Ishita especially loves dreaming about superheroes and comic books when she isn't day dreaming about them everyday either way.