The ever-expanding world of John Wick adds Asia Kate Dillon to the cast in Chapter 3 – Parabellum. We got up rather early to have a chat with the no-nonsense agent of the High Table, The Adjudicator.
Landing a role in an established movie franchise would be super-exciting for any actor, but when you’re also a fan of the movies in question beforehand, it takes on a whole larger level of excitement.
“I was super into them, yeah,” Asia tells us. “Back in 2015 I got an email from my mom, telling me that she was excited about this new movie, John Wick, with one of our favourites, Keanu Reeves. So my mom turned me onto the John Wick franchise, actually.”
As a fan, Asia was super-keen to be involved in the third John Wick flick – and, as it turned out, the director had the perfect role in mind.
“When I was finishing filming Billions last March in New York, we were all talking about what projects we had in the works, and I said, ‘Well I know that John Wick 3 is filming in New York this summer, and I should be in that movie,’ recalls Asia. “Fast forward two months to the beginning of May of last year and my manager calls me saying, ‘Chad Stahelski, the director of JW3, wants to see me because they have this role, The Adjudicator,’ and basically it was presented it to me as if it was my role to turn down.”
Obviously, it wasn’t hard for Asia to decide whether to take the part.
“I met Chad, and he was able to so clearly communicate his and Keanu’s vision for the third film and the role of the Adjudicator that I said ‘Yes’ right there in that meeting before even reading the script.”
There was then the small matter of actually studying that script, which elicited the appropriate reaction.
“I was sitting in my living room and I was yelling and screaming and clapping and laughing!” enthuses Asia. “On the page, you’re reading, ‘…and then John Wick gets on a horse and rides down the streets of Manhattan,’ and it just – I mean, I was truly like ‘Holy sh-t!’ and clapping and cheering.
I mean, what was on the page was stunning, and I knew that even if they could remotely bring some of that to the screen then it would just elevate the action genre to the next level… and it has.”
It’s quite a big step from television work – like Orange is the New Black and the aforementioned Billions – to an established movie franchise, yet Asia had no problems, in part due to the vibe on the set.
“Honestly, it wasn’t daunting,” Asia says. “I think it could certainly have been if Chad and/or Keanu and/or the producers had any type of ego, or any type of, ‘Listen, you get to be in this movie, but you’ve really got to live up to our expectations’ or whatever they could have said to me to be intimidating. But everyone was like, ‘Thank you so much for being in this movie, we’re so excited to have you.’ So it really just felt like Chad and Keanu and Lionsgate really helped level the playing field so that what could have been a really intimidating experience to me was so fun.”
So, it’s true – Keanu really is a cool guy?
“He’s truly the best,” Asia confirms. “He’s so kind and gracious and humble and grounded and funny and intelligent – I mean he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s also a consummate professional and an incredibly talented actor. So getting to act with him, and also watch him do some of the action sequences live when I was on set, was just so inspiring and humbling.”
While we may often see the criminal underworld portrayed onscreen as quite anarchic, in the universe of John Wick and the High Table there are distinct rules, and every action has a consequence. Asia revelled in being the one to enforce these rules.
“Oh gosh, it’s cool! I mean it’s super cool to play a character whose job is to come in and intimidate everyone, but in a very sort of no-nonsense way.
Everyone knows the rules, and they know that if they break them there are going to be consequences.”
It sounds like Asia’s entire time on John Wick 3 was a highlight, but one part of the experience really stood out.
“The theatre that we shot in with Angelica Huston and the American Ballet Company, that’s in Washington Heights, and the inside is very similar to the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. That’s to say that it’s stunningly beautiful inside, and being there and watching the American Ballet Company do their takes over and over again – getting to watch them dance – was just stunning. I felt really privileged to be there and witness them doing that.”