You may not know Shamir Anderson’s name yet, but it’s safe to say that his career is worth following.
Anderson plays Tracker, aka Nobody, in the recently critically acclaimed franchise spin-off “John Wick: Chapter 4.” Tracker is at once an audience accessory and a welcome foil to the stylish designs of John Wick (Keanu Reeves) and High Table Chief Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), but it’s Anderson’s witty sense of humor, extensive martial arts background, and even collaboration with “John” Haley. Perry’s Wick: Parabellum” star makes him the perfect counterpart to Reeves’ emotionally distant lead.
Anderson starred in Perry’s 2020 debut “Bruised,” which was produced by “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski.
Chad was instrumental in being a part of this movie. We really crossed paths on that set, and I worked on that movie, not a very important part. “It was an important part but not enough for Chad, in my opinion, to stand out enough that he wants me to be in his next series of films,” Anderson told IndieWire during a recent interview.
“So that was a big surprise. One day, I was hanging out at the gym and I got a call from my agent. Normally, in Hollywood, this stuff can be like molasses and it takes a long time before you get a job, or something it can be like Quick fire, like, “Get on the phone now, get on a plane tomorrow, put the camera up on Saturday. And that was it. I got a call from my agent saying, ‘I have something really important, are you really available?'” Chad Stahelski from “John Wick” wants to meet. And I said, “Okay, cool but I’m in the gym now, hitting the pads in Toronto. Is he cool with that?” So I jumped on Zoom with him when I was at the gym, and he was like, “Did you plan this?!” Nah, this is my morning routine.”
Anderson continued, “And he said to me, ‘Hey, you’ve got this movie called ‘John Wick 4.'” If you are interested, take a peek at the text and it is for you. I was like, “That’s it?!” And it was it. I read the script and fell in love with the role of the tracker. And he was like, “Wow, if you like it, you have to get on a plane in 48 hours.”
Anderson admitted that he felt a “responsibility” in the role when he joined “Family Matters” in the “John Wick” franchise.
“Being invited to the party for the fourth movie, there’s a sense of responsibility, there’s heft, there’s anxiety because everyone’s in their groove and in their flow, especially with Trakker already being an annoyance on his own,” said Anderson. . “It was important to know that I had to bring up my A-game. Luckily for me and Chad – and I say this with pride and humility but also with confidence – I do. I really do this. I do martial arts. I’m a kung fu practitioner. .I love the gymnastics of martial artists and working out in the gym and throwing my body around. If anyone knows me personally, that’s what I do every day, all day. So giving you this opportunity to do that feels like a sharpened iron.”
While it appears Anderson was already part of The Continental’s family, he deepened the Tracker character with his connections to his own personal experiences.
“Like a college student worried about failing his exam, I worry about not telling these people or living them honestly in life. Hence this: anxiety. It’s not pretentious. It’s not anything in that kind of world,” he said.
Anderson added, “I felt like [Tracker] He was the person most associated with this audience. He didn’t wear crazy clothes and he didn’t do crazy things. He didn’t really believe in the themes of The Continental. And so what I wanted to do was root it in, “How do I make this guy likable even though he’s got an evil puppy?” How do I make this guy likable even though he wants to go after John Wick’s head? I said: What are his motives? And I don’t talk about this often. I hope it’s monetized from a derivative of this story, whether it’s the Tracker series or the Tracker series or something. But I thought of his mother. Why would someone want an enormous amount of money? Why would someone want $50 million for someone outside of this fantasy world? I felt like it was about his mother. Why his mother? I think this is a secret that I will definitely hold on to until we get to the next stage and hopefully I can get back into Tracker shoes. For me, it was about this human.”
Could Tracker’s story tie into former star Berry “John Wick”‘s role as Sophia, who, like Tracker, has a killer Belgian Malinois boyfriend?
“I think it’s definitely worth exploring [of their connection]Anderson said. “I mean, we’re two characters in this franchise who have dogs. We happen to be black. We could be related. She could be a sister, a grandmother in the far future. Who knows? Mom, who knows. And I think there’s room for exploration there. And I think the audience wants that.” “.
Perry said previously IGN In 2022 she could “likely” return for a spin-off. Since then, the “John Wick” franchise has spurred two premieres, the upcoming movie “Ballerina” starring Ana de Armas and the TV series “The Continental.”
However, Anderson is waiting for Stahelski to contact him again before he can reveal much of the “John Wick” lore.
“Obviously I’m in the midst of suffering the press and everything that’s going on. Everyone’s so excited about Tracker: what’s his real name? What’s his government called? Those are things I love [to know]Anderson joked. I said, “What if the tracker was a bounty killer? What if it was a bounty hunter who went after all the craziest people in the world? I’m talking like no one in history. What if this was someone who really was hunting down all the bad guys, bad girls, and bad guys in the world.” I said to Chad when we were building this character, “What if Tracker used all of the ‘John Wick’ movie as a documentary?” He was actually watching the movie, watching the John Wick franchise as a case study for the John Wick follow-up. And he used the fourth movie as his introduction to the John Wick hunt.” .
Teaming up with co-stars Keanu Reeves and fellow Anderson newcomer Donnie Yen proved to be a “master class” featuring some of the best action stars and fool-people of this generation.
“I want to give Donnie Yen his flowers because he’s an amazing talent, and he’s a sweet, gentle guy, and he really loves making movies and martial arts. I do Wing Chun kung fu, and if you know Donnie’s work, Donnie has played Hitman, and he’s a Wing Chun practitioner,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched all his movies and then I’m literally in the arena doing scenes with him,” he said. “I would never go toe-to-toe with Donny even in a sparring match because this guy, he sure stings like a bee and floats like a butterfly. It was amazing madness. I’m not sitting here trying to play shy but between acting and cutting, I’m a pro. But off screen and off camera, I definitely admire every moment that I get. Privately, of course, I call out to my kids like, “Holy shit, I’m on set with Ne-Yo right now.”
For reference, Ne-Yo penned the original song “I Would Die for You” for the fourth movie.
Getty Images for Lionsgate
Anderson’s musical background also fits well with the choreography of the stylized fight sequences of “John Wick: Chapter 4.” As a DJ and dancer, Anderson’s inherent rhythm combined with his martial arts background essentially made him the “John Wick” character IRL. And yes, Anderson’s roots trace back to the Disney Channel including roles in “Camp Rock 2” and “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.”
“Wow, that way, a reboot,” Anderson joked. So I did “Camp Rock 2” where I played a dancer in Camp Star, and also in “Sharpay’s Wonderful Adventure,” I played a dancer. I think that just goes to show that movement and body have been a part of my career since the beginning. So I’m happy and happy. To show another side of me outside of the dance troupe in those movies. At the time, those movies served my career well and I’m glad I’m at that point now.”
Anderson even has a surprising hookup with 2023 Best Actor nominee Austin Butler, who could be the next villain “John Wick” in the inevitable Tracker.
“Holy smoke, we worked together!” Anderson said. “I actually worked with Austin Butler [‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’]. I don’t know if he’ll remember that.”
Next, Anderson stars opposite Jamie Foxx and Robert De Niro in the action movie “Tin Soldier” and produces a limited series on artist Jean-Michel Basquiat through his production banner Bay Mills Studio. A possible collaboration with fellow Toronto native Drake is also a dream for Anderson since he starred in “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
Getty Images for Lionsgate
“I’m so lucky. I’m a kid from Toronto who loves acting,” Anderson said. “Most actors, they start in acting school, acting classes, drama school, and you look and read about these huge giants, like Jamie Foxxes, like Robert De Niroes, and Keanu Reeves. And I’m so lucky to be able to share this year with these people. Ultimately, I lay the foundation for work ethic: It’s never about you, it’s about the team. and live honestly under fantastical circumstances. It’s really simple. “
Anderson summarized, “A director once said to me, ‘Listen, budgets change, the size and scope of films change.’ You should still go beyond this mark and tell the truth. And I hope I can keep that in every aspect of the business as I continue on this journey. “John Wick” is another such moment. I’m still human, I still have my moments, I still have a good time, and I still feel insecure. But when all is said and done, I have to hit the mark and tell the truth.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 is now in theaters.
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