“The Continental” has opened its doors to the public. Albert Hughes, a filmmaker who will take the reins of two of the limited event series’ three episodes, has been cast as the director of Lionsgate’s John Wick television spin-off. The Starz project was originally envisioned as a limited series, but the premium cable network has adjusted its focus and remade it as a three-part event series, with each episode handled as a movie.
Hughes’ most well-known film is The Book of Eli, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Denzel Washington that he co-directed with his brother Allen. Hughes’ most recent film, The Good Lord Bird, starred Ethan Hawke.
Wick director Chad Stahelski was set to direct the show’s debut episode before the format change, but that plan has since changed, according to THR’s first report. Though he won’t be directing, Stahelski will serve as an executive producer alongside Wick creator Derek Kolstad and Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk.
“The Continental” will take place in the 1970s and will follow Winston’s rise to power as he builds the titular hotel for hitmen. Winston is, of course, the character played by Ian McShane in the current films. McShane has signed a deal to play John Wick: Chapter 4 in the upcoming film.
“We took a lot of pitches, and then the creative team from this obscure little show called Wayne that was on YouTube came to us with their take,” Lionsgate TV boss Kevin Beggs previously said of the series.
He added, “We were really blown away because it solved a bunch of problems and was super exciting, about a crumbling New York in the 1970s with a garbage strike that has piled up bags of garbage to the third floor of most brownstones, the mafia muscling in on that business which is why in The Sopranos he’s in the sanitation business, and other things that are really real as an interesting backdrop to explore the origins of The Continental which is famously within the movie franchise the assassin’s hotel in which you cannot kill anyone on the hotel grounds, but of course if you step one foot off you’re fair game, and that’s employed to great effect in many of the plots in the movies. Running all of that is Winston, who is played by Ian McShane.”