The Hardest Scene To Shoot In The Four John Wick Movies [Comic-Con]

No award exists for "Toughest Film Shoot" (okay, on second thought, maybe it does), but nevertheless there remains a high degree of interest in the types of productions that challenge filmmakers and test them to their very limit. In the era of endless blockbuster spectacle and the all-too-common "We'll fix it in post!" mentality, it stands out all the more when a big-budget film is able to immerse viewers with a story that constantly forces them to wonder whether what they're seeing on screen could possibly be real. "Mad Max: Fury Road" will likely remain the movie to beat in that regard, though many would consider "Top Gun: Maverick" as its possible heir apparent.

The "John Wick" movies might have a thing or two to say about that, however. Throughout the course of three movies (and counting), the action franchise has more than established its commitment to putting John Wick through the wringer — a choice that almost turns our lead character into an Odyssean-like figure, cursed to navigate a course that's been made to be as arduous as humanly possible. But rather than let star Keanu Reeves bear the brunt of that, director Chad Stahelski apparently decided to shoulder his own load by refusing to taking the easy way out during filming. Deceptively complex long takes and the precise choreography of the gun-fu fights apparently weren't enough.

No, Stahelski's toughest challenge while filming any of the "Wick" movies involved — what else? — animals.

Dog days of filming

During Collider's Directors on Directing panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Joe and Anthony Russo joined the fray via video to pose a question to fellow filmmaker Chad Stahelski: What was the most difficult sequence of all the "John Wick" movies to bring to life? To the surprise of some, Stahelski didn't point to the logistics of on-location shooting or the comparatively less polished first film. No, instead the director gave one simple, straightforward answer after taking a beat to think about it. Spoiler: It involved a certain pack of canines.

One of the most entertaining additions to "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" (aside from the wonderfully wordy title, of course) would have to be the inclusion of Halle Berry's Sofia and her loyal attack dogs. Inevitably, however, such fun came at a cost. According to Stahelski, nothing quite managed to top the difficulty involved in training the dogs to do what the script called for them to do:

"I'm gonna go with dogs. I'm gonna go with the dog sequence in '3,' because the dogs don't know it's a movie. They're dogs. So it's not like the dog can bite Halle Berry's hand and you go, 'Hey man, that was a pretty good take. Would you mind trying it without biting her hand?' You just can't have those kinds of discussions. So it took about six months to figure out how to make the dogs to play-attack instead of actually attack."

After describing the process of using green, cylindrical pads attached to the crotch area and training the dogs to bite those instead of the actual actors and stunt people, director Tim Miller jumped in with one handy suggestion for next time: CG dogs. As he eloquently put it: "They don't bite your d*** off."