‘The Continental: From the World of John Wick’ debuts Friday on Peacock

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On Friday, Peacock launches The Continental: From the World of John Wick, the prequel series spun off of the movies starring Keanu Reeves‘ titular assassin. 

Albert Hughes, who along with his twin brother Allen directed genre classics like Menace II Society and The Book of Eli, went solo in directing two of the series’ three chapters, the first of which is now streaming. 

He tells ABC Audio, “There was two projects I was considering. One was very similar to the stuff you’ve seen me and my brother doing the past, you know, social issues, inner city, race, generational trauma.”

He adds, “And then I read this [project] and I go…My gut’s saying, ‘Let’s just go have fun."”

Colin Woodell plays a younger version of Ian McShane’s Winston, the manager of the infamous hitman hotel. Newcomer Ayomide Adegun plays the younger concierge Charon, who was played in the four Wick movies by the late Lance Reddick.

 The roles were “both very difficult to find,” Hughes admits.

“Colin Woodell…this guy has throwback movie star looks, and if you look at a younger Ian McShane, they’re very similar.” Albert adds his skills are “well beyond his years.”

Hughes says another actor nearly was “almost” cast as Charon, “And then I get this call from the casting agent and says, ‘We found this kid in drama school in Wales, and you should see this tape.’ We [watched] like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s him’…And his first scene on set was against Mel Gibson, which I would crumble under that kind of pressure. But he was amazing.”

Of Gibson, who plays the vicious New York Continental manager Cormac, Hughes gushes, “he was just the perfect fit for that role.”

The filmmaker adds, “And sometimes with those type of actors [who] have been around, when they play villains, there’s just something extra that comes out in them.”

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