Latest installment of the Keanu Reeves action franchise opens Friday

Martial artist and actor Mark Dacascos co-stars in John Wick 3 as Zero, a lethal assassin on the hunt for the titular hero in the third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise. In the new film, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. Directed by Chad Stahelski, the film’s ensemble cast also includes Halle, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane. The film opens nationwide on Friday.

To play the character of Zero, the filmmakers went in search of a martial artist with real acting chops. That quest led to Mark Dacascos, a karate and kung-fu champion, seen in such films as Brotherhood of The Wolf and Drive and also played The Chairman on Iron Chef America and Iron Chef Australia.

“Mark is not only a tremendous martial artist who was able to step right into the choreography, he also has a great comic sense that makes him an unnervingly strange bad guy,” says producer Basil Iwanyk.

Reeves, too, was impressed. “Mark brought Zero to life with both a hard-boiled noir quality and a tongue-in-cheek humor. It was an especially good experience for me to train with Mark because he’s such an expert that he pushed me that much more.”

Dacascos had developed a love for the series well before he was cast. “As a martial artist, I totally appreciated the beautiful choreography and I loved that you actually got to see actors doing real moves with real finishes,” he says. “Since Chad is himself such a talented, disciplined martial artist, he knows what goes into real combat. He also knows how to capture that spirit with the camera.”

Zero might be dead-set on taking John Wick’s life for the huge bounty, but he can’t help but idolize the invincible assassin. “Zero loves everything about John Wick—his style, his grace, his class, his efficiency and how brutal he is while still being a gentleman,” says Dacascos. “He’s the biggest fanboy of John Wick there is, and he wants to be on a par with him. He is also a shinobi, a Ninja warrior, so he has students he cares for like his own children. I would say he doesn’t have any illusions that he’s going to live for a very long time in this business, but I think he enjoys every moment to the fullest.”

The darkly exotic, multi-lingual, multi-skilled Dacascos is a mix of Japanese, Filipino, Spanish, Irish, and Chinese heritages. He was born in Hawaii and attended school in Germany. He is married and the proud father of 3 children.

Later this summer Dacascos can be seen in Roger Avary’s film Lucky Day in the scene stealing role of Louis opposite Nina Dobrev and Crispin Glover and the new Netflix series Wu Assassins opposite Iko Uwais.