How To Make Your Directorial Debut With Big Stars

So, how do you make your directorial debut with big stars, especially if you just fell off the turnip truck?

Well, you don't do it when you just fall off the turnip truck!
Bridget Moynahan Joins Keanu Reeves Thriller 'John Wick'
Chad Stahelski and David Leitch are making their directorial debut on the film, which has begun shooting in the New York City area.

Love him or hate him, we all for sure know who Keanu Reeves is, and if you watched 'I, Robot' or 'Lord of War' you probably know who Bridget Moynahan is.
No small potatoes.

Surely these two alone are pulling in a paycheck for this one film that'll be more than most of us here will earn in a half a life-time.

So, whothehell are Chad Stahelski and David Leitch? And why would someone entrust tens of millions of dollars to these two director nubes to co-direct (a double clusterf*ck waiting to happen!) a film?

Well... they didn't just fall off the turnip truck.

Chad Stahelski
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director (9 credits)
2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (second unit director) (completed)
2013 Escape Plan (second unit director) worked together
2013 After Earth (second unit director)
2012 The Expendables 2 (second unit director)
2012/I Safe (second unit director)
2012 The Hunger Games (second unit director)
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (second unit director)
2011 The Cape (TV Series) (second unit director - 1 episode)
- Pilot (2011) ... (second unit director - uncredited)
2009 Ninja Assassin (second unit director) worked together

David Leitch
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director (14 credits)
2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (second unit director) (post-production)
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (second unit director) (post-production)
2013 Escape Plan (second unit director) worked together
2013 The Wolverine (second unit director)
2013 The Host (second unit director)
2013 Parker (second unit director)
2013 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (second unit director)
2011 In Time (second unit director - as David M. Leitch)
2011 Conan the Barbarian (second unit director)
2011 The Mechanic (second unit director)
2010 The King of Fighters (action director)
2009 Ninja Assassin (second unit director) worked together
2008 The Midnight Meat Train (second unit director)
2003 In Hell (second unit director)​

Not to mention the sh!tloads of on-set experience and know how they scammed while being actors and stuntmen on big budget films.
And then there's just good old industry connections and friendships which go a VERRRRY long way.
It's not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know.
Produced by
Kevin Scott Frakes ... executive producer
Basil Iwanyk ... producer
Raj Brinder Singh ... executive producer

Iwanyk was EP for 'The Expendables 2' where Stahelski was second unit director.
Frakes and Singh were EPs for 'Celeste & Jesse Forever', 'Seven Below', and 'The Frozen Ground' plus several others in the pipe.

Although I can't make an IMDB connection between Frakes/Singh and Iwanyk it's not difficult to imagine a sensible get-together made that happen.

It appears the alternate strategy for getting some bengies outta someone as director is to first try your hand at second unit director before trying to bite off the big enchilada first. That'd be the wrong plan.

Great post Ray!
Thank you, sir! :)
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This is reminiscent of the "overnight" success of many stars that suddenly get into the mainstream. Too often it's easy to forget that many, many hours and years were paid working in the shadows finding and earning that big break.

Thanks Ray.