A John Wick Spin-Off Centered on a Ballerina-Turned-Assassin Is Happening
When New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan appeared as a ballerina training to become an assassin in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum earlier this year, it could have easily been a one-off. This particular backstory has become prevalent at the movies over the last few years—take Jennifer Lawrence's character in Red Sparrow and Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though it's become its own trope, it's also been dealt with in a fairly cursory manner.
But we had an inkling that this might not be the last we heard of the idea in the John Wick franchise—and it seems our suspicions that Parabellum was testing the waters for a female-led, ballet-infused spin-off were correct.
Unity Phelan in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.Niko Tavernise, Courtesy Lionsgate
According to Deadline, a project set in the same universe, tentatively titled Ballerina, now has a director: Len Wiseman, who got his start with the Underworld series in the early 2000s. The script is being penned by Shay Hatten (who wrote Parabellum), based on a concept optioned by Lionsgate in 2017 that sees a young woman trained as both a ballerina and an assassin seek revenge against the people who killed her family. (For those unaware, that's a trope with which the John Wick franchise is quite familiar.)
While there's no word yet on a potential release window (the fourth installment in the Keanu Reeves–led franchise is due in 2021), the fact that there is already a director involved means that this movie is really happening.
Casting is unknown at this point, though Parabellum did lay the groundwork for Anjelica Huston to reprise her role as The Director—the woman behind the program that turns young ballerinas into femme fatales (à la the Red Room in Marvel lore, which we'll hopefully be seeing more of in next year's Black Widow solo film). Less clear is whether Phelan will be in the running to turn her cameo into a starring role. Hollywood has a history of leaning on dance doubles to stand in for established actresses, but we have to say we love the idea of seeing an actual dancer take the lead. True, it's likely that any dance sequences will be as perfunctory as they usually are in action flicks, but just imagine what that kind of facility could bring to the franchise's already over-the-top fight sequences.
It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?
Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?
Inside a bustling television studio in Los Angeles, Lindsay Arnold Cusick hears the words "Five minutes to showtime." While dancers and celebrities covered head to toe in sequins whirl around preparing for their live performances on "Dancing with the Stars," Cusick pauses to say a prayer to God and express her gratitude.
"I know that it's not a given, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for a living," says Cusick, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her, prayer is a ritualized expression of her faith that she has maintained since she was a girl in Provo, Utah. Even with her seven-plus years of industry experience, she always takes a moment to steady herself and close her prayer in Christ's name before rushing onto the stage.
The hotly-debated Michael Jackson biomusical is back on. Not that it was ever officially off, but after its pre-Broadway Chicago run was canceled in February, its future seemed shaky.
Now, the show has secured a Broadway theater, with previews starting July 6 at the Neil Simon Theater.
In the October 1969 issue of Dance Magazine, we spoke with Jacques d'Amboise, then 20 years into his career with New York City Ballet. Though he became a principal dancer in 1953, the star admitted that it hadn't all been smooth sailing.