John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski is staying busier than the cleaning crew scrubbing blood out of the carpet at the Continental. He’s about to start production on John Wick 4, has a number of other projects in the works, and now, he’s going to be producing an adaptation of the classic assassin novel Shibumi.
All About Assassins
According to Deadline, Stahelski is attached to produce an adaptation of Trevanian’s Shibumi at Warner Brothers. He will produce the project through his 87Eleven banner, developing it as something for him to potentially direct in the future. People close to the director say the novel was a favorite of his growing up and he was intrigued by adapting it after being approached by the studio. The project has had several iterations over the years, but no talent has been attached and a new writer will be brought on to draft a script from scratch.
Shibumi was published in 1979 by Trevanian (the pen name of film scholar Rodney William Whitaker). It details the story of Nicholai Hel, an assassin born in Shanghai in 1925. Raised in part by a Japanese general, Hel is introduced to the concept of shibumi which is described as “understanding, rather than knowledge”. He also learns about the game Go, which helps him develop strategies for his work as an assassin. He is highly trained in the art of the “Naked/Kill”, a martial arts discipline that focuses on the use of common items as weapons. The novel begins with Hel retired and happy, living in a small castle in the Northern Basque Country. His peace is interrupted when someone from his past shows up on his doorstep, enlisting him in a mission of revenge on the highly powerful “Mother Company”.
If Shibumi looks familiar, that might be because a copy of the novel was used as a prop in the first John Wick. The security guard at the airport who lets John through is reading the paperback, shown in the screencap above. Maybe that’s why he’s so willing to let Wick slide by.
On top of the John Wick franchise and Shibumi, Stahelski has his upcoming slate full. He’s developing a reboot of Highlander for Lionsgate with Henry Cavill attached to star, the action flick Classified for New Line, and an adaptation of Ghosts of Tsushima for Sony. He’s also attached to direct the pilot for The Continental, the Starz spinoff series set in the John Wick universe, which he will also executive produce.
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