David Leitch’s passion for martial arts came at a young age, staying up late Saturday nights religiously watching KUNG FU THEATER. Having no martial arts schools in Kohler, Wisconsin, David fed his obsession with books and magazines on the subject. Training himself in the garage in-between sports seasons, and then finally finding classes at the prestigious Dan Inosanto academy while studying at the University of Minnesota.
David rose through the ranks of martial arts quickly, competing at a high level in several styles and disciplines. With a degree in International Relations and Education, David chose to take a teaching job and open a martial arts school right out of college.
On the martial arts circuit, he met Chad Stahelski, who was living in LA, starting his career as a stuntman. It wasn’t long before David found himself pursuing a stunt career as well.
As a stunt performer, he got a big break when he was given a chance to stunt double Brad Pitt on FIGHT CLUB. From there, stunts took him around the world, on countless films, including TROY, MR. AND MRS. SMITH (as Pitt’s double), THE MATRIX 2 and 3, 300 and BOURNE ULTIMATUM (as Damon’s double).
Simultaneously, David honed his directing skills by shooting and editing pre-viz of fight sequences for many other films and partnered with Chad to form an action design company called 87eleven. He began coordinating and choreographing and it lead to directing 2nd unit on some of the biggest shows around including CONAN, IN TIME, THE MECHANIC, PARKER, HANSEL AND GRETEL WITCH HUNTER, TMNT, ANCHORMAN 2 and Jim Mangold’s, THE WOLVERINE.
David and Chad’s 87eleven Action Design has since become one of the top stunt, action design, and 2nd Unit directing entities in Hollywood which quickly led to David and Chad co-directing their first feature, JOHN WICK. With the success of JOHN WICK, it wasn’t long before David found his current directing project, THE COLDEST CITY, starring Charlize Theron, already beginning prep in Budapest.