Monday, April 15, 2019

On recycling victims in John Wick

“We had no choice,” Stahelski says happily. “We had no money. We couldn't afford all the fancy editing and fancy camerawork. The long takes, the close-quarters gun stuff—yes, those were ideas we had. But we couldn't afford not to do long takes. We had to do long takes because we only had one camera. The first guy who dies [in a fight scene] is also the last guy—he's gotta get up, run behind the camera, and come back into the shot and get hit by Keanu [again].”


You'd think he'd have his choice of projects. But you'd be surprised. “Movie jail” is real. He's been there. He was excommunicado at Fox for a decade after turning down Speed 2 to go play Hamlet onstage in fucking Winnipeg: “I didn't work with [Fox] again until The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

He is not in jail now, as far as he knows. But he hasn't done a studio movie since 47 Ronin, another pricey bomb. Sometimes the fan base that remains so grateful for his continued existence does not remember to vote with its dollars. Reeves's name can still help secure financing for action movies of a certain size, and sometimes those turn into a John Wick.