Monday, February 4, 2019

Interview with Keanu Reeves’s stunt double in The Matrix, who became the director of the John Wick movies

How did you first get the job for The Matrix?

Way back in 1996, the Wachowskis and Yuen Woo-Ping, the fight choreographer, were doing a casting search in Australia, China, Canada, and the U.S. to find a martial-arts stunt double for Keanu. At the time, martial arts weren’t that big in big-budget features. It was considered more of a low-budget, chop-socky kind of thing. Most of the fights at the time were single-gun battle stuff, or Arnold Schwarzenegger pummeling you to death with his hands. It was a very different action-design fight era. I was working on a TV show called Pretender at the time. And I had to do a car hit in the morning. So I got hit by a car, cracked my head open, and managed to make an 11 a.m. audition in Burbank from Pasadena. I was still bleeding when I got there. First, they wanted to know if I was homeless — I still had blood on my T-shirt


I had to do a thing where I cartwheel over to an M16 rifle, pick it up with one hand, and then Keanu shoots and goes into the fight or whatever. I remember the setup was a day turnover, so you get one take, and it takes a day to reset, and then you do the second take. I had barely met anybody on set at this point. I’m in the getup, and I’m getting ready to go, and I remember producer Joel Silver walking over to me — I had never met the man before in my life — looking me right in the eye and saying, “Don’t fuck this up.” Basically, don’t miss. And he gave me that little stare. He’s a very intense person. And I was like, Okay. Don’t miss gun. They said there’d be a lot of debris, so I just practiced doing the flip with my eyes closed. And I swear to you, as soon as they yelled action, the first squib went off, and I couldn’t see shit. I just threw myself in there and magically found the gun and grabbed it. I was only 25 and I was like, Don’t miss gun. Don’t miss gun. Don’t miss gun.