That time John Wick went to the library

I hope you’ve been enjoying befores & afters’ look behind the scenes at the VFX of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which is rounding out with this insight from production visual effects supervisor Rob Nederhorst on the library fight scene between Wick (Keanu Reeves) and assassin Ernest (played by NBA star Boban Marjanovic).

It doesn’t end well for Ernest, with Wick dispatching him via a library book to the head. Well, to the jaw, mostly, which ends up dislocating it. The digital effects for that moment were crafted by El Ranchito, overseen by Rafa Solorzano. Here, Nederhorst breaks the jaw dislocation shot down.


Rob Nederhorst: John Wick jams the book in Ernest’s mouth. We were like, it doesn’t have the impact that it needs. You don’t have the audience going, ‘Oh!’, or a physical response. So we decided to break the jaw.

We had a scan of Boban and we sent that to El Ranchito. They did a bunch of iterations on the jaw breaking, all the way from really loose all the way to fully broken and that was almost like a horror film. That was too much gore versus violence. And that’s not where this movie is. This is a movie about violence, not about gore.

They had some kind of animation tech issue, where it wiggled a little bit, which is what worked for the shot. And then he takes his head and he smashes it against the book on the table and it bounces like a basketball. Before we added that bounce it just didn’t have the impact where you’d go, ‘Oh my God, that’s insane.’

But the first time we saw that take where it was like the basketball bouncing around, we all went, ‘That’s the one.’

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