Birthdate: September 20, 1968
Birthplace: Palmer, Massachusetts
Chad Stahelski (birthname: Charles E. Stahelski) is a stunt performer/stunt coordinator/second unit director-turned-director, having co-directed or directed all entries in the John Wick franchise. Stahelski began his career in 1993 as an in-demand stuntman on such features as The Crow (1994), Escape from L.A. (1996), Bean (1997), and The Hunted (1998), and then had his big break as a stunt double for Keanu Reeves on The Matrix (1999).
This led to gigs as Reeves’ double on The Replacements (2000), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), and Constantine (2005), as well as a stunt performer and/or stunt coordinator on major movies like John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars (2001), Val Helsing (2004), xXx: State of the Union (2005), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), V for Vendetta (2005), 300 (2006), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), Rambo (2008), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Expendables (2010), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), The Hunger Games (2012), The Expendables 2 (2012), The Wolverine (2013), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), and Deadpool 2 (2018).
Chad Stahelski was elevated to the level of the second unit director under co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo on Captain America: Civil War (2016) and under director Cathy Yan on Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn) (2020), on which he was also stunt coordinator. Stahelski’s first credit as sole director was the hit action movie, John Wick (2014), starring Reeves, with Michael Nyqvist, Bridget Moynahan, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and Willem Dafoe, grossing $86 million worldwide; although Stahelski actually co-directed the movie with David Leitch, Leitch took producer credit after a Directors Guild of America crediting decision.
Stahelski proceeded to direct the next three editions of the saga: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), with new cast members Common, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, and Peter Stormare, and earning a strong $171.5 million; John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum (2019), with new cast members Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillon, and Anjelica Huston, and grossing a huge $327.3 million on a $75 million budget; and John Wick 4 (2023), with new cast members Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and Hiroyuki Sanada, and delayed from its originally slated opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stahelski took his first credit as a lead producer on the supernatural action comedy released on Netflix, Day Shift (2022), starring Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, and Snoop Dogg. Stahelski was also a producer on John Wick: Chapter 4 and the John Wick spinoff action thriller, Ballerina (date to be announced), starring Ana de Armas, McShane, Reeves, Reddick, and Huston.
Chad Stahelski was born and raised in Palmer, Massachusetts by parents Gary and Kathleen Stahelski. Stahelski trained in martial arts at the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts in the Los Angeles-area community of Marina del Rey. Stehelski was married to stuntwoman Heidi Moneymaker until their divorce in 2018; the couple had no children. Stahelski’s height is 6’ 1”.
Quote: Chad Stahelski has quipped in an interview, “If I’m the smartest guy in the room, I’m in the wrong room.”
The Double: Stahelski served as Keanu Reeves’ stunt double in the early phase of his career, only to begin to direct Reeves in feature films starting in 2014 with the first John Wick movie.
Tragedy and Innovation: Chad Stahelski was the stunt double for Brandon Lee in The Crow (1994) when Lee died from defective blank ammunition; Stahelski’s body was used in the final film with Lee’s face superimposed in an unprecedented CGI technique.
Lawsuit: Stahelski was sued by the family survivors of stuntman Kun Liu after Liu died in a set explosion during the filming of The Expendables 2 (2012), on which Stahelski was stunt coordinator.