Killa’s Voice In John Wick 4 Was Inspired By One Raiders Of The Lost Ark Character

This post contains spoilers for "John Wick: Chapter 4."

John Wick finds himself on a journey to freedom and salvation in "John Wick: Chapter 4," and the path to his destination is a tricky one. Danger lurks in almost every city he sets foot in, and death follows him wherever he goes. Among the many obstacles in his path, apart from the ruthless Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), is Scott Adkins' Killa, an eccentric member of the High Table who loves toying with his adversaries before taking them out. In the attempt to be re-inducted into the Ruska Roma, John sets out to meet Killa and ends up in a stalemate when other players, who want him dead for personal reasons, convene at Killa's nightclub.

Adkins underwent an intense transformation to play the formidable German High Table member, taking inspiration from many sources to create an ex-assassin whose menace now has an edge. This is reflected in the cat-and-mouse game he plays with John and the others at the poker table, deliberately cheating to ensure his victory and tighten the proverbial noose around John, who is already being hunted across the world. When all hell breaks loose, a ruthless fight ensues in the waterfall-flanked nightclub, which brims with enthusiastic folks who won't stop dancing even when dudes are drop-kicked from heights or beaten to a pulp in front of them.

The stakes progressively get higher for John, who finds himself cornered between Killa's powerful physical attacks and his men who won't stop until they shoot him dead. The shadow of Killa's villainy looms large until he is killed brutally after an intense fight. How exactly did Adkins approach this demanding role and what inspirations did he take to mold Killa into the man he is?

Now, What Shall We Talk About?

It is impossible to forget the Gestapo dude in Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" — Arnold Ernst Toht (Ronald Lacey) walks around torturing folks with a flaming poker and jumps out of tavern windows to soothe his scorched hands in ice. However, the way Toht speaks also stands out, as there is something quietly menacing about his demeanor while he talks in a sadistic, whispery tone, threatening everyone around him. Scott Adkins told Screen Rant that Killa's voice was based on Toht, and once he was able to nail that aspect, the rest of his character was fairly easy to construct and work with:

"I based the voice on, I need to look up his name 'cause in the other interview I forgot, but the guy that plays the Gestapo dude in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' 'What should we talk about?' Yeah, that's where the voice came from. And that was a way in, and everything sort of just grew from there. And then you get the costume on and the suit and start to see how the guy moves."

Adkins also explained he created some of Killa's backstory in order to better understand how his character fits into the world of "John Wick," and how Killa would feel about John in general. Adkins wanted to "just wanted to disappear into the role as much as [he] could" and this process started with finding the right choice for Killa, which clearly takes inspiration from a straight-cut villain in a film about fighting and defeating Nazis. Also, in order to flesh out Killa's personality, Adkins went on to develop his laugh and play him as a "jolly, bigger chap who's obviously pretty mean-spirited."

A Leap Of Faith

A lot of things could have gone wrong with Scott Adkins' portrayal of Killa, as this is an instance of an exaggerated performance in an inherently problematic costume. Killa also wears golden grills in his teeth, and his cadence during the poker game points at a barely-masked attempt to deceive and corner his prey. Hamming it up for a role is not enough to make a solid impression as an antagonist after all, but Adkins succeeded in striking a necessary balance between being grounded and eccentric, making his character memorable in a film marked with a string of antagonistic figures. Adkins went into further detail about the process:

"We wanted to sell that this guy is heavy and it is hard for him to move around. Yet in his past life, he used to be this deadly assassin himself and he knows how to throw down. So we came up with a kind of Mike Tyson style to the way he fights, but he can still bring it out when it counts."

There's a flicker of Killa's past in the strength of his movements, as it is clear that anyone other than John might have died on the spot due to the brute force Killa employed while fighting. Although Adkins took "a leap of faith" with Killa, everything worked out well in the end and the scene in question massively paid off. After Killa dies, John quickly moves on to the next assassin(s) waiting for him, until his journey reaches an inevitable end. But hey, the man who lost everything dear to him finally found himself, and one cannot ask for a more fitting end in such a hyper-violent, perennially dangerous world.

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