September 20, 1968
Chad Stahelski was a prolific stunt double and stunt coordinator who made his directorial debut with the 2014 action film "John Wick." Although he spent the majority of his teens and early 20s competing as a kick boxer, by the early '90s Stahelski decided to try his hand at acting. With that in mind, he promptly relocated to Hollywood and quickly began landing roles in low-budget martial arts films like "Spitfire" (1995), "Heatseeker" (1995), and "Bloodsport 2" (1996). Before long, however, Stahelski realized that he could have more impact working behind the camera, as opposed to in front of it. So he started putting his martial arts skills to good use as a stunt double. And as luck would have it, his very first job was as Brandon Lee's double in 1994's "The Crow." The cult success of that film made Stahelski one of Hollywood's most in-demand stunt doubles, and over the next several years he worked on some of Hollywood's biggest action movies, including "Alien: Resurrection" (1997) and "Wild Wild West" (1999). Stahelski's big break came in 1999 when he was asked to be Keanu Reeves' stunt double on the science-fiction epic, "The Matrix." Reeves admired Stahelski's seemingly unending martial arts knowledge, and used Stahelski as his double on the two subsequent "Matrix" sequels as well. By the late 2000s, Stahelski expanded his skillset and started landing stunt coordinator jobs. Some of the crowd-pleasers he worked on included "Rambo" (2008), "The Expendables" (2010), and various films in "The Hunger Games" franchise. Then his old pal Keanu Reeves handpicked Stahelski to helm his action flick "John Wick" (2014). Despite Stahelski being a novice director, critics praised the film for its stylish action sequences and the overall strength of its story. "John Wick" went on to earn over double its budget at the domestic box office, signaling Hollywood had a new talented action director to watch out for.