Keanu Reeves Says Only 380 Words In John Wick: Chapter 4: He Is “Dedicated To Not Speaking”
One word rules them all.
Caution: This story contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4.
John Wick is a man of action, not words.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the eponymous hitman, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, utters only 380 words across 103 lines during the 169-minute runtime of John Wick: Chapter 4.
Per WSJ, “In the first installment, clocking in at 101 minutes, Mr Reeves said a total of 484 words. With a run time of 169 minutes, the fourth movie pushes three hours but features just 380 words by Wick. About 10% of them are featured in the movie’s trailer, which makes the hero seem almost chatty; Wick says more in that 2.5-minute clip than he does in the first 25 minutes of the movie itself.”
It also points out that nearly a third of Reeves’ dialogue in the sequel consists of just one single word — ‘yeah’.
Wick’s lack of chatter is all by design that adds to the Baba Yaga’s — Wick’s nickname, a kind of ‘bogeyman’ in Russian folklore — badassery.
Michael Finch, who co-wrote the John Wick: Chapter 4 script with Shay Hatten, told WSJ that director Chad Stahelski and Reeves “stripped out roughly half the dialogue written for his character in the initial script.”
For instance, the scene in which Wick and baddie Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) lay out the rules of their final duel was originally scripted with Wick having 50% of the dialogue. In the end, Reeves had Wick’s lines reduced to a few spartan replies (“pistols”, “no quarter”) — simple, straight to the point.
Finch said, “It’s a shock when you work with him how dedicated he is to not speaking.”
Wick’s longest run of uninterrupted dialogue is where he tells Shimazu Koji, the manager of the Osaka Continental, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, “You and I left a good life behind a long time ago, my friend.”
Everything Wick needs to convey is echoed in ‘Yeah’, Reeves told 8days.sg recently in a video interview. “I think when he does say that I feel like it communicates a lot of ideas at the same time,” he explained. “I feel like his ‘yeah’s are like taking a lot of information and feeling and it kind of encapsulates a lot with one word.”
Meanwhile, John Wick: Chapter 4, which reportedly cost US$100 million (S$132 mil) to make, slain the global box-office in its opening weekend. It made US$73.8 million in the US and US$67.6 million from 71 markets (including Singapore) — the biggest haul in the series.
Thanks to its seismic box-office returns, there is talk of another John Wick sequel (never mind what happens to Wick in the current movie, they’ll figure a way to resurrect him). Meanwhile, Wick is expected to turn up in Ballerina, the series’ first spin-off with Ana de Armas as another vengeance-seeking assassin. Directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld) and also starring Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston, and the late Lance Reddick, Ballerina is set between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4.
Another spin-off, The Continental, looks at how Winston, McShane’s character, landed the job of running the assassin sanctuary/hotel, in the 1970s. Starring Colin Woodell as a young Winston and Ayomide Adegun as Charon (the concierge character Reddick played in the movies), the limited series will drop on the US streaming service Peacock soon. Mel Gibson is said to be playing a character named Cormac, one of the guests/killers checking into The Continental.
Watch our interview with Reeves here:
John Wick: Chapter 4 (M18) is now in cinemas.
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos
Watch exclusive 8 DAYS interviews on meWATCH and Mediacorp Entertainment on YouTube.