The series that revolutionized the world of action movies in the mid-2010s, “John Wick” has become almost indistinguishable from its interpreter Keanu Reeves. The proof is in this revelation from a new book dedicated to the behind-the-scenes of the franchise.
What happens next, we know: John Wick is a huge success. Several sequels will be released, not to mention the spin-offs in preparation. As for Keanu Reeves, he makes an impressive comeback to the forefront.
Reading the new book about the furious hitman, They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action, writers Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman reveal that Derek Kolstad originally envisioned a much older man when he wrote the script. The producer of the saga, Basil Iwanyk, confirms this via this book:
A friend sent me this script by Derek Kolstad called Scorn. The lead was a 75-year-old man who had retired 25 years ago. It was fun to see a kind of Clint Eastwood kicking ass. So I thought, “Okay, there are probably one or two names that can play this role: Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford.
However, the two legendary stars are not chosen. Why not? Because Iwanyk is advised to bet on Keanu Reeves instead. And this, even though the actor had not done anything notable for a while, and that his last two action films, Man of Tai’Chi and 47 Ronin, had been commercial flops. The producer nevertheless offered the role of John Wick to the actor, who quickly accepted, given the potential of the project and the character whose past has touched him personally.
According to Kolstad, as he says in the book, it was the actor himself who liked the script so much that he reworked the character so that he could play him and make a younger version:
“The first thing Keanu said to me was, ‘Okay, Derek, I’ll play him at 35.’ And I said, “Fine.”