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Credit: Niko Tavernise

John Wick: Chapter 2

Common is no stranger to the action movie genre, having previously appeared in Smokin’ Aces and the Angelina Jolie-starring Wanted, among other less-than-peaceful projects. But the actor and rapper admits he had to physically raise his game for John Wick: Chapter 2, where he plays an assassin named Cassian who finds himself at odds with Keanu Reeves’ titular hitman.

“I’ve done some films that have dealt with action, and stunt work, and fighting scenes, but this is definitely the top level of work when it comes to that,” Common told EW last year during the film’s New York shoot. “I don’t care what type of good shape you think you are in, when it’s time to start training with these guys, you’ve got to get to a certain level. Keanu is definitely high-level when it comes to what he can do, when it comes to judo and martial arts. As soon as we started rehearsing, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is really good.’ It’s seeing somebody who’s truly dedicated and focused. I’m that same type of individual. I want to give 110 percent. I don’t like having a stunt guy do anything for me. There’s been a lot of preparation. It’s been like every day — we worked on Sunday! But it’s worth it. I really enjoy it, I’m learning a lot.”

Common also praised the film’s director Chad Stahelski, who began his career as a stuntman and later shot second unit on The Hunger Games and The Expendables 2 before co-directing 2014’s John Wick with David Leitch. “One of the things that I’ve been pleased with is, that it’s not just about the stunts,” he said. “Chad is looking for the story within the scenes, no matter what. He’s also very detailed [about] how my character would be in a fight. It’s not like, ‘Okay, we’re just fighting.’ It’s like, ‘This is Cassian, you have this style of fighting because your background is this,’ and we discussed these things. So, it [makes for] a really creative aspect that goes into stunt work you see.”

So who exactly is Cassian? Well, he is the chief of security for another new character named Gianna, played by Italian actress Claudia Gerini. According to Common, his character and John Wick are also two peas in a pod, albeit heavily armed ones. “I’m the equivalent of John Wick in many ways,” he says. “I have a job to do, protecting the right people. Cassian is definitely not some loose cannon.”

Common didn’t need too much persuading to join the John Wick franchise. “I really liked the first film,” he said. “It’s just a fun good movie. And I noticed so many people like the film. When my friends found out that I was a part of John Wick 2, I had calls coming from different people in different areas of my life. I was like, Wow, this is a really great audience that the first John Wick created.”

Watch the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 below.

John Wick: Chapter 2 arrives in theaters Feb. 10.

John Wick: Chapter 2
  • Movie