Retired assassins and highly-trained operatives returning to the fore for one final job is hardly anything new in cinematic circles, but David Leitch and Chad Stahelski’s über-stylish actioner John Wick carved out its status as a cult hit thanks to slick storytelling and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pacing. Placing Hollywood good guy Keanu Reeves front and center as the legendary killer, the low-budget actioner was a breath of fresh air in the genre of revenge thrillers, and its success has paved the way for Reeves and Stahelski to return for John Wick 2.
While doing the press rounds for Eli Roth’s home invasion thriller Knock Knock, Reeves took time to speak with Collider about the overall concept for the follow-up, and how the writing team is conscious of avoiding a simple, shallow rehash.
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Dividing the explosive, one-man army that is John Wick to the humble character of John, it’s interesting to note the ways in which Reeves dissects the complex nature of his title character, and it’s no secret that the actor has developed a fondness for the role. Could this mean that he would be keen for further sequels beyond John Wick 2? The jury’s still out on that one, but here’s what Reeves had to say in preparation for Wick’s return.
“I think we have a really good premise, and it’s an organic premise. It’s basically — to me there’s John Wick and then there’s John. You know, John is the married guy whose wife just died, and that five years of his life. Then there’s John Wick, who’s the mythical assassin. In this, John Wick’s past comes and infiltrates John’s life and John Wick, in a way, has to fight for John.”
“‘Why tell the story? Why do we need to do this again? How do we do that without doing another dog?’ So we speak about John Wick, the next chapter, and what is that emotional hook? What is that? So I think we have a good idea of that. Chad and the writer, Derek Kolstad, they’ve really listened to what people have enjoyed about the work and how they speak about it. So there’s definitely that influence of the other world, the Continental world, the look, the feel, what it is about the movie, what made people like it; is definitely being paid attention to and the world opens up in this chapter.”
Beyond that, we know that John Wick 2 is primed to step in front of the cameras later this month, with Reeves revealing that he’s wrapping up a training regime that spanned several months in order to ensure that the set-pieces in the follow-up can emulate those in the original.
Well, we did say he was committed, after all.