Ana de Armas has been officially confirmed to star in the upcoming John Wick spinoff film, titled Ballerina. CinemaCon 2022 has been particularly fruitful this year, as all the major studios have been unveiling first looks, castings, and teasers for all kinds of new projects. While Warner Bros were talking about potential new Supermen and Michael Shannon in one corner and Marvel Studios was deigning to grace audiences with a sliver of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Lionsgate revealed that the star of No Time to Die was going to lead the first official spin-off film of the popular, acclaimed, increasingly complex John Wick series. This is just one more example of Ana de Armas’ rapidly rising star in Hollywood.
Ballerina was first announced to be in development all the way back in 2017, reportedly from a spec script written by Shay Hatten (who wrote the screenplay for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Zack Snyder’s Netflix smash hit Army of the Dead). Ana de Armas will be playing the title character, a young woman trained to be an assassin by the same ballet school that raised Keanu Reeves’ character. It will reportedly be something of a revenge thriller, with de Armas’ character using her skills to hunt down the people who killed her family. Director Len Wiseman was attached to the project in 2019; he is most famous for the longrunning Underworld series of films with Kate Beckinsale. Given that he is most known for a flashy, CGI-heavy visual style, it will be interesting to see what he does with the much more practical-effects driven, stripped-down world of John Wick.
Cuban-Spanish actor Ana de Armas first came to prominence in Hollywood in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 in 2017, in the role of Ryan Gosling’s holographic AI companion Joi. Her starring breakthrough came in 2019 with Rian Johnson’s ensemble murder mystery film Knives Out; she was perhaps the least known actor in a cast that included Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Jamie Lee Curtis, but made a huge impression with audiences. She would team back up with Daniel Craig in his James Bond swan song No Time to Die, launching her to even greater fame. In 2022 alone, she will star in the spy thriller The Gray Man (back with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans), the Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, and the erotic thriller Deep Water with Ben Affleck. In short, Ana de Armas is a busy woman.
The John Wick franchise was an unexpected hit in 2014, when a small-budget action film with Keanu Reeves gained a cult following and then hit the mainstream. It is not surprising that a rising star like Ana de Armas would join the franchise, which now includes two sequels with Reeves, another to be released in 2023 and a fifth in development. A spin-off prequel series titled The Continental is also in production to be released on Starz. All in all, pretty good for a series about a man and his dog. Ballerina with Ana de Armas is set to begin principal photography this summer.