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The Continental Director on "Reverse Engineering" Ian McShane and Lance Reddick’s Characters for John Wick Spinoff
The hotel for professional hitmen is at the center of Peacock’s The Continental: From the World of John Wick, but it’s not the only origin story fans get to dive into with the show.
Director of two installments of Peacock’s The Continental: From the World of John Wick always found Winston Scott and Charon to be interesting characters from the film franchise, who both still had an air of mystery left to explore on the small screen.
Touching on his own evolution since his 20s, Albert Hughes (Director of Night 1 and Night 3 of The Continental) told NBC Insider exploring what Winston and Charon would be like at a younger age was part of the fun.
“You don’t get much of them in the film series,” Hughes said, noting the exception of John Wick 4 for Winston. “It’s just like a natural thing I guess to then select those characters to have a backstory.”
Albert Hughes on Capturing 1970s Winston and Charon
In the Wick films, Winston is an established manager of the Continental and Charon is the Concierge. The action-packed show follows how a young Winston (Colin Woodell) eventually gains control of the hotel: “You’re like oh they’re not fully formed men yet,” Hughes said. “They’re making dumb decisions along the way. They’re naive and Charon’s case as a young man, he’s too trusting.”
The three Nights, or episodes, at the Continental travel back to the hotel’s 1970s era in New York City when it was managed by Cormac O’Connor (Mel Gibson) with Charon (Ayomide Adegun) at his side.
[Winston's] a baby rattlesnake. He pumps all the venom in and leaves himself defenseless, you know where the older rattlesnake knows put a little bit in there they'll slowly die.”
"Our characters are so intertwined, and we became very close,” McShane previously said after Lance’s sudden death. Adding, “It's bittersweet — we're missing our brother. I'm still not over the shock. It's difficult watching the film.”
The show was finalized before Hughes (The Book of Eli, Dead Presidents) was able to see John Wick 4 and Charon’s storyline, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
"And then the tragic real-life stuff is pretty heavy," Hughes told The Hollywood Reporter. "The kid that’s playing young Charon, Ayo, we had to pull him out of a drama school in Wales. He’d never been on camera before. So his first moment on camera was during a scene with Mel Gibson, and he had all of this responsibility already. And then finding out about Wick 4, I’m just happy that we saw Wick 4 after we shot.”
“Reverse engineering” McShane and Reddick’s iconic characters from the films without doing an “imitation” were part of conversations he had with the show’s actors, Hughes told NBC Insider. “Using the word impression, meaning impression of the swag, the attitude,” Hughes said.
A theme Hughes sees viewers watching unfold over the course of the show is Winston and Charon “haven’t figured out how to make master moves yet.”
“Winston is clever and smart about being ambitious in life, but I always make the comparison he’s a baby rattlesnake,” Hughes said. “He pumps all the venom in and leaves himself defenseless, you know where the older rattlesnake knows put a little bit in there they'll slowly die and we save the rest for these others or defense.”
Have John Wick Stars Seen The Continental?
When asked if members of the John Wick films have seen the show, Hughes noted John Wick director Chad Stahelski saw early cuts and was “very sweet about it." Stahelski even offered to show him a four-hour cut of John Wick 4 at the time. Hughes heard Keanu Reeves saw the show early in the edit phase and that Ian McShane may have watched but Hughes didn't ask about their reactions.
“I’m too shy,” Hughes said. “I don’t poke for responses. It almost seems too presumptuous and chest-bumpy to say well did they see it?”
He's more concerned for John Wick and action fans to see the show, Hughes added: "I want people who see it to have a good time with it and know that it was made with love and care," Hughes said.
The first two installments of Peacock’s The Continental: From the World of John Wick are streaming now on Peacock.