john wick chapter 3 dogs

One of the most entertaining moments of the kick-ass John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum trailer involves the dogs owned by Halle Berry‘s character getting in on the action. Dogs have always been a big part of this franchise, but this looks like the first entry in the series that allows the dogs to participate in some fighting. These aren’t your typical movie stunt-dogs, though. As director Chad Stahelski explains, the production created their own special breed of puppers by training them to have fun…attacking people.

Want to know how they trained Halle Berry’s John Wick Chapter 3 dogs? Chad Stahelski has the info. Speaking with Collider, the director broke down the surprisingly elaborate process everyone went through to get things just right, while also making the scenario fun for the very good dogs. “When you see a dog attack on screen or in a film, the dog doesn’t know it’s a movie,” Stahelski said. “It’s an animal attacking a human in the mentality of ‘I’m gonna bite and chew this person up.’ So we wanted to find a trainer who was willing to take younger or adolescent animals or puppies and train them so that…the interaction with the stunt people was fun.”

Stahelski was able to get his wish and find a trainer willing to undertake this task, using “five Belgian Malinois dogs, five Belgian shepherds, that all had above average intelligence and physical abilities.” The dogs were trained for five months – but Stahelski didn’t want to use trainers hiding on set giving the dogs orders. Instead, he wanted Halle Berry to train the dogs herself, and be the film’s “on-screen dog trainer.” As the director explains:

“When we cast Halle we had the big talk. Halle actually came, after all her fight rehearsals and gun rehearsals, she would go sit, and work, and play with the dogs for months on end so the dogs on-screen actually obey Halle. They’re not looking at a trainer. That was really fun.”

The filmmaker further added that part of the reason they approached the dog stunts this way was to ensure better action scenes:

“Once you realized what was best for the animals, the dog and the process of how to get the most takes and the most precise takes out of him, we just reverse engineered back how to put it into choreography. We wanted to show that in the movie. So just like our John Wick version where we don’t cut a lot, we tried to do longer take that track with Halle and see the dogs actually doing it, so you know we didn’t just cheat and do an insert of a dog chewing on something.”

The dogs apparently play a big part in the movie, too. “The puppy in the first movie, was symbolic of [John Wick’s] wife and his loss,” Stahelski said. “The dogs in Parabellum are symbolic of someone that Halle has lost.”

As a fan of dogs, I’m very glad to know Stahelski and company took the time to make the shooting process fun (and safe) for the canines. Also, if any dogs die in this movie, I’m going to be pissed. Just a heads-up.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum opens May 17, 2019.

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