Dogs have always been an important part of the "John Wick" franchise. The murder of John's (Keanu Reeves) beloved Beagle puppy kicked off the events of the first film, which in turn led to everything that happened in the sequels, and each sequel has had at least one cool onscreen canine companion. In "John Wick 2," the titular hitman adopted a pit bull that he eventually named Bubba, but he left dear Bubba at The Continental with Charon (Lance Reddick) at the end of the third film, "John Wick: Parabellum." "Parabellum" also introduced Halle Berry's Sofia and her two Belgian Malinois, who are veritable warriors in their own right. In the upcoming "John Wick: Chapter 4," there's going to be a new fabulous four-legged furry buddy who continues the franchises' long love affair with man's best friend.

In an interview with Collider, franchise director Chad Stahelski shared a bit more background information on the newest doggo in the "John Wick" family and revealed the work that goes into performing with non-human actors, though it really doesn't sound like work to me.

Required Playtime Sounds Great Actually

The dog character is apparently a girl, and is a different pup than we've seen before. The only dog in the "John Wick: Chapter 4" trailers so far looks a whole lot like one of Sofia's Malinois (pictured above), but it's possibly a new dog that just looks similar. After all, I cannot imagine Sofia giving up one of her babies, no matter what. Just like when stunt performers practice with one another, they also have to practice with their canine co-stars, and the way Stahelski describes it sounds amazing:

"Well, the character of the dog is a her, but we had, let's see, three females and two male dogs to comp all one dog together, depending on what the stunt, or the gag, or the acting bit was. This time we learned a lot from last time, but we wanted a little bit more out of this one in specialty stuff. We had the dog, I think it was just over five months, to work with cast and on stunts. It's just when you're bringing in the stunt teams, and we have different stunt teams on this one because it's so much bigger, the dog is just like friends. You have to get to know your friends. So in order for the dog to be very playful, and safe, and have the confidence just like a human would, they have to spend time with each individual stunt guy."

This meant that the stunt team had to work on rotation with the dogs, with a different stuntman playing for an hour at a time. They had five months together to train, get tackled, and play Frisbee with the dogs, bonding with them so that they were able to communicate properly in front of the camera.

A Franchise Full Of Perfect Puppers

One can imagine that sometimes people get a little attached to the animals they work with, but Stahelski explained that the dogs go home with their trainers once filming is over. (Occasionally this is not the case, like with Sophie Turner and her "dire wolf" on "Game of Thrones," but more often than not stunt dogs already have loving homes with their trainers). The end of filming on a "John Wick" film has got to be pretty bittersweet then since people have to say goodbye to not only their human co-stars, but their canine ones as well. Honestly, it's probably even harder to say goodbye to your pup pals after five months of working together.

Given the nature of the stunt work in the "John Wick" movies, it's a darn good thing that the teams practice together as much and for as long as they do. There's an old Hollywood adage about never working with dogs or children, but the truth is that both are pretty reasonable as long as you know how to approach them on their level. In the case of "John Wick," that means learning how to wrestle, puppy style. I don't know if I could ever cut it as a stuntperson, but if playing with dogs is part of the gig, it might be worth the pain.

Check out John Wick and the newest doggo in the dynasty when "John Wick: Chapter 4" releases in theaters March 24, 2023.

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The post John Wick: Chapter 4 Had Its Stunt Team On A Dog Rotation appeared first on /Film.