‘It was my most difficult film’: Keanu Reeves on John Wick 4

Keanu Reeves speaks to Adam Stone about reprising his role as John Wick, doing intense action scenes, and his comic books series, BRZRKR
Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves

How is John Wick 4 different from the previous films in the series?

This one is bigger, and has more action. The stunts and fight scenes are more intense. There are also a lot of new characters. Think about everything we did before, and then take it up a level. That’s John Wick 4. I’m grateful that I got to play this extraordinary character for a fourth time.

What is it about this character that keeps you and the audiences coming back for more?

I think it’s the fact that he’s an underdog. We want him to win despite the odds and love how he keeps on fighting, no matter what. 

Is there any stunt you were particularly excited for audiences to see?

There are so many. But one that I really enjoyed shooting is a fight scene in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. That’s a crazy scene.

Any injuries?

Oh, lots! It’s pretty much impossible not to get battered and bruised making a movie as intense as this.

Do you consistently stay in shape for action movies?

No way. I train and get in shape, but then once we’re done, I go back to being a total shipwreck (laughs).

Did you have to do any extra training for this one?

Yes, there is a lot of stuff with cars, so I had to do some specific driving training. I also had to learn to fight with nunchucks, and then take my judo and jiu-jitsu training to another level. There was also sword training and some horse riding. This is the most difficult and challenging movie I have ever done, in terms of the physical elements of the role.

How was it working with Laurence Fishburne (who plays the Bowery King) again?

What can I say? The man is a legend, great friend, an incredible artist and mentor to me. I love the relationship between his character and mine, and any chance I get to hang out and work with him.

How do you go about getting back into character for each John Wick movie?

I know him pretty well by now, but for John Wick, it really starts with conversations with Chad (Stahelski, the director) about what his vision is, and where the character is going. Chad is really the centre of it all. It’s his incredible skill in shooting action and telling a story. Over four movies, we have developed this kind of shorthand way of working together. I just try not to limit what he wants to do in 
a physical sense because none of this is getting any easier.

You have experience as a director yourself. Is that something you plan to return to at some point?

I hope to. It’s just finding the right script and opportunity. It’s a lot of work. I learnt that when I directed Man of Tai Chi.

You have also been busy writing your comic books series, BRZRKR. What can you tell us about that?

BRZRKR is something I have really enjoyed. It’s actually a very similar collaborative experience as John Wick, in the way that I get to work with incredible artists such as Matt Kindt and Ron Garney. Comics were a huge part of my life growing up, so it’s a dream come true to be involved in 
that world. It’s something I had never done before and definitely hope to do more of.

Will you be playing BRZRKR on screen at any point?

It looks like that might happen. We’ll see. It’s an exciting possibility.

Is it true that we will also see you back as John Wick in a spin-off movie?

Maybe. The spin-off is something I am excited about. It’s called Ballerina, and it stars Ana de Armas, who reprises her very cool character, Rooney, from John Wick 3. It is set between that movie and John Wick 4, so it expands the whole world even more.

Finally, of all the roles you have played, which do fans quote the most when they see you in public?

Right now it’s John Wick, but I also get some Neo from The Matrix, and Johnny Utah from Point

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