Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

J.J. Perry Recalls How His John Wick Director Chad Stahelski Influenced His Work On Day Shift - Exclusive

Given the text in the "Day Shift" trailer that teases, "From the guys who taught John Wick how to kick ass," it's a pretty sure indication that the new Netflix action-horror-comedy starring Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco is going to have its share of breakneck action. After all, "Day Shift" is produced by Chad Stahelski — who directed the first three "John Wick" films and is working on No. 4 — and better yet, it's directed by J.J. Perry, Stahelski's longtime friend and "John Wick" collaborator who attended the same school of hard knocks.

"We started as stuntmen together back in 1990 and [we] go way back ... He's one of the first people I met when I got out of the Army. He's a dear friend. He's like a brother," Perry recalled for Looper in an exclusive interview. "I learned a lot of things about when you believe in something, you got to hold your ground. Listen — the thing about action is you have to whip action. You have to push action. You got to put your foot in it. You got to go [say], 'Let's go.'"

There's a lot of action that accompanies the horror and comedy of "Day Shift," considering the film follows Bud Jablonski (Foxx), a vampire hunter masquerading as a pool cleaner who has fallen out of favor with the international vampire hunters' union. The only way Bud can earn enough money to satisfy his family obligations is to find a way back into the union, and that requires a meek desk clerk, Seth (Franco), to follow him around and report any rules that he breaks. It becomes a tall order for Seth to log any of Bud's violations, though, when he discovers that Bud must resort to any means necessary to kill Audrey (Karla Souza), a seemingly invincible vampire — invincible, at least, to someone who doesn't have John Wick-like skills.

Perry says you need to 'pay attention' to learn your craft

J.J. Perry has largely worked in the stunt realm, where he's been a stuntman, stunt coordinator, first assistant director, and second unit director. While his collaborations with Chad Stahelski include the first two "John Wick" movies, Perry said it's hard to pinpoint any specific sensibilities he brought from the films to "Day Shift," simply because the filmmakers he's worked with number in the hundreds.

"Chad and I cut our teeth on the same movies coming up as stuntmen," Perry recalled. "He's amazing. I learned a lot. I can't put it exactly into words. From watching what he did, I sat through read-throughs with him on 'John Wick 2,' interviewed department heads, listened to all of that, was a part of all that. When you've done 150 films and 300 episodes of TV, I have a lot of people that have influenced me in things that they've done right and things that they've done wrong. I just paid attention."

Paying attention really became helpful when Perry worked with a certain esteemed comedy director, considering "Day Shift" is every bit as much about the comedy as it is its horror and action. "With comedy, [it's about learning] how to downshift and not have your foot in the throttle all the time, but maybe lift a little bit," Perry described. "You might not have to touch the brake, but you can't just [push it down] ... It's a different animal, and that's something I didn't learn from Chad. I learned that from Paul Feig when I was doing a movie called 'Spy.' I really paid attention."

"Day Shift" is streaming exclusively on Netflix.