How Mark Dacascos’ Steely ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ Villain Created the Funniest Moment in the Franchise [Interview]
Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019 by Hoai-Tran Bui
“What does your name mean?”
Those are the first words to come out of Mark Dacascos‘ mouth when he greets me during the John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum junket ahead of the third film’s theatrical release. I tell him it means “Forever precious” in Vietnamese, and he launches into an excited monologue about the importance of retaining one’s cultural roots, something he’s trying to teach his kids. It’s a fitting start to our conversation about his villain, Zero, in the upcoming action film sequel starring Keanu Reeves as the titular assassin.
The John Wick series has grown to become a bonafide cultural phenomenon for its blending of Hong Kong-influenced martial arts with rapid gunfire, in a new style that director Chad Stahelski has cheekily coined “gun-fu.” Stahelski has described the style to be a combination of “Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tactical 3-gun, and standing Judo” — a blending of rich and varied cultures, much like Dacascos’ own cultural identity.
Born to a Hawaiian father of Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese ancestry and a mother of Irish and Japanese ancestry, and trained in martial arts by his parents from a young age, Dacascos is the embodiment of the John Wick franchise’s cross-cultural mix. He’s starred in a number of martial arts film in his 34-year career, often as the one token Asian fighter. But in John Wick: Chapter 3, he’s not alone. His villainous assassin Zero has a whole entourage of fighters of Asian ethnicity, while the film features cameos from the Indonesian martial arts hit The Raid as well as Tiger Hu Chen from Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi.
/Film sat down with Dacascos to talk about everything from representation, to Iron Chef America, and how he improvised one of the funniest scenes in the John Wick franchise.