For Keanu Reeves, shooting “John Wick” in Paris was a dream

“I like good action movies,” explains Keanu Reeves, who carries on his shoulders the success of the “John Wick” saga, whose scenarios have more stiffs than lines of dialogue.

At 58, the star, long hair and slender figure, impeccable black suit, considers John Wick to be one of the two most significant roles of his career. With Neo, “the chosen one” of the “Matrix” saga, whose first opus marked science fiction at the turn of the 21st century.

Keanu Reeves was then 35 years old and had stood out younger in “My Own Private Idaho” with his accomplice River Phoenix, who died shortly after, or in the action film “Speed” with Sandra Bullock.

“In my youth, the role in + Matrix + was a wonderful experience, one that changes a life. John Wick is also at a more advanced age, in my fifties +”, summarizes Keanu Reeves, who shot this fourth opus with Chad Stahelski, his stuntman and former understudy, who became a director.

Old school action movies on the big screen

After years of triumphing over Marvel and superhero movies, Keanu Reeves still wants to believe in “old school” action movies on the big screen. John Wick, which tells the story of a widowed killer who comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his dog, is imbued with “a darker influence. We use digital technologies but I think we prefer things in the flesh, the visceral celebration of body movement and violence, almost like a ballet,” he says.

Sacré-Coeur, on the steps of Montmartre…

“What we are doing is not easy. I need to practice months before shooting. You need whole teams for the stunts and a director who has the necessary vision to create the image, the design, the music, the costumes…”, says this Hong Kong cinema and martial arts fan (he directed “Man of Tai-Chi” ten years ago).

For this fourth opus, Keanu Reeves returned to shoot in Paris, a city where he had already visited the sets, 35 years ago, for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” by Stephen Frears.

From the City of Light, the man in the dark suit travels without saving the cartridges of postcard landscapes, from the Trocadéro to the roundabout of the Star, for a long scene of fight against the flow of traffic furiously reminiscent of the performance of Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible 6”. Not to mention a scene on the Porte des Lilas metro platform.

“Coming back to play in Paris has always been a dream for me. To be back is amazing,” says Keanu Reeves. “To be able to go, for ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’, to film in front of the Sacré-Coeur, on the steps of Montmartre, in the canals under the city, in the streets, shooting at night, all of that was very special”.

Defenestration, nunchaku fight, falls down countless stairs… Keanu Reeves, known for playing a large part of the action scenes himself, imagines he will soon reach the age where he will no longer be able to shoot this kind of movies?

“I’m getting closer! “, he jokes before adding:” are we reaching a limit? I do not know “.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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