Mark Dacascos on 'Wu Assassins' Season 2 and Keanu Reeves Being "Awesome"

"As far as I know, all the cast members would love a Season 2."

Mark Dacascos, a martial artist and actor for more than 20 years, just recently had his biggest mainstream exposure yet in a Hollywood movie. As the villain “Zero” in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, fighting (and being killed by) Keanu Reeves is thus far the biggest exposure yet for Dacascos, whose career began with a failed TV pilot for Power Rangers.

“Keanu was so welcoming,” Dacascos tells Inverse about his co-star. “All those great things you hear about Keanu, it’s true. He’s just awesome.”

But John Wick wasn’t the only thing Dacascos had going in 2019. In August, Dacascos appeared in the first season of Netflix’s cult martial arts drama Wu Assassins, where Dacascos played the Shaolin monk form of Iko Uwais’ lead protagonist. On the possibility for Season 2 renewal, Dacascos is just as hopeful as anyone who binge-watched the series.

“I felt like we had a really fun cast and a great crew,” he says. “I hope it moves forward. As far as I know, all the cast members would love a Season 2. I would love a Season 2. It was a joy with Katheryn Winnick and Iko Uwais and our actors. I would love to do it.”

Netflix Wu Assassins Mark Dacascos
Mark Dacascos, as he appears in Season 1 of 'Wu Assassins' on Netflix.

Until renewal, the 55-year-old Dacascos has other projects coming up in the pipeline. In between shooting John Wick: Chapter 3 and Wu Assassins, Dacascos has a role in Roger Avary’s Lucky Day, which after production wrapped in 2017 will finally release on September 18. He will also appear in The Drive and One Night in Bangkok, two new thrillers coming from Lionsgate.

“And no, I don’t come out with Mike Tyson face tattoos,” he jokes.

But one project Dacascos was attached to in 2018, Corto Maltese, a big screen adaptation of Hugo Pratt’s 1960s pulp adventure comics starring Milla Jovovich, is currently on hold after the death of producer Samuel Hadida. “I don’t know what’s happening with the future of that,” Dacascos explains, “But I am in touch with [director] Christophe Gans and we plan to work together again very soon. There are some really interesting projects circling around.”

John Wick Chapter 3 Mark Dacascos
Mark Dacascos (left), as "Zero," against Keanu Reeves' John Wick in 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.'

Whatever Dacascos does next, he says it’ll be hard to top John Wick. “I don’t know if I‘ll top something like that,” he says. I mean shoot, it’s John Wick.

Dacascos wasn’t even supposed to play the villain. Originally, Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada — best known to American audiences for his roles in The Last Samurai (2003) and Season 2 of HBO’s Westworld — was cast as the fearsome assassin sent to kill John Wick.

“The villain lead was already cast,” Dacascos says, “But [director] Chad Stahelski wanted me in a featured role. I’d do like one line of dialogue in a fight. I said, of course.”

And then, silence, for months. Suddenly, one Sunday evening, Stahelski texts Dacascos asking for “help.” On Monday morning, Dacascos returns his ping.

“I had met Chad six months before we started shooting. I’d do like, one line of dialogue in a fight. I didn’t hear from him for maybe four months, five months. I get this text on a Sunday. I called him Monday morning. He said, ‘I need help. Things have changed.’”

Sanada, who suffered an injury, was forced to back out of John Wick. Dacascos was told by Stahelski, “Keanu and I want to invite you.” Dacascos immediately accepted, even without having read the script. “I asked him, when do you need me? He said, tonight.”

Recalls Dacascos, “I left Los Angeles Monday night, arrived in New York on Tuesday, prepped Wednesday, started shooting Thursday. That was my prep. The process was so fast and surreal. Three months later we finished the movie, and then it’s out. I’m still riding that high.”

“I’m honored Chad gave me the chance, and Keanu was so welcoming,” Dacascos says. “All those great things you hear about Keanu, it’s true. He’s just awesome.”


John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is available now on Digital HD and Blu-ray.

Media via Netflix, Lionsgate