The John Wick universe is expanding faster than you can say “revenge thriller” and yesterday news dropped that one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars may be leading the upcoming John Wick spinoff Ballerina. While the character who briefly appears in 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is played by Unity Phelan, reports are emerging that Ana de Armas is in talks to step into the role. The Cuban actress has been gathering buzz for her performances in films like Knives Out and Blade Runner 2049 since the mid-2010s and now with Ballerina she’ll potentially be joining the John Wick franchise.
The news about the Ballerina casting comes from Deadline, who says the John Wick spinoff will, fittingly, be both an action-thriller and a revenge story. Unlike Keanu Reeves’ character who starts off his cinematic journey seeking vengeance for his puppy, De Armas’ character will reportedly be going after the murderers who killed her human family. De Armas is, so far, the only actor mentioned as being attached to Ballerina though that’s likely to change in the months to come.
Some moviegoers and critics argue that Ana de Armas’ breakout role was as the holographic A.I. Joi in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, however the film in which she truly got her chance to shine was one targeted towards a less genre-specific audience — the 2019 murder mystery Knives Out. Playing the immigrant nurse Marta who fears she’s responsible for the death of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), De Armas performed in a stunning ensemble cast that included Plummer, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, and more. Standing out as a relative unknown in the midst of such top-tier talent forced critics and audiences to take notice, and helped to pave the way for her lead part in the upcoming John Wick spinoff among other prominent roles.
Among the other notable roles you may have already seen De Armas in, or may be about to see her in: she joins the long and distinguished list of “Bond girls” this year as CIA Agent Paloma in No Time to Die, next year she’ll be rejoining her Blade Runner 2049 costar Ryan Gosling and her Knives Out costar Chris Evans in the Netflix action thriller The Gray Man, she’ll play the adulterous wife of her real life ex-boyfriend Ben Affleck in next year’s erotic thriller Deep Water, and she’ll be taking on the role of American icon Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix biopic Blonde. Clearly the producers of the upcoming John Wick spinoff have picked the right time to welcome De Armas aboard the franchise.
There’s no word yet on when we can expect Ballerina to hit theaters. Details about the plot are scarce at best. Len Wiseman (Underworld) will direct the John Wick spinoff from a script written by Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead). While there’s no firm word either way, Deadline reports that Ballerina producers Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee and Chad Stahelski are hoping to convince Keanu Reeves and/or Anjelica Huston to make cameos as their respective franchise characters.