Friday, October 24, 2014

Ask Me a Question: John Wick w/ Keanu Reeves

Hardcore action thriller John Wick hits theaters this week, critics are surprisingly loving it so we'll see how audiences respond to Keanu Reeves playing a badass hitman in a straight forward, violent as shit, moody action flick.  For my full review, head over to Action A Go Go where I contributed my thoughts on seeing the film a few months ago at a sneak preview but only now published in respects to the parameters of the early test screening.

A sold out Arclight Dome audience soaked up the film's relentless action and violence before welcoming star Keanu Reeves, directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, producer Basil Iwanyk and writer Derek Kolstad:

- Kolstad's original script was about a 70 year old man, also hates being in front of people
- Agent received 5 offers on script, suggested not taking highest offer as Iwanyk's Thunder Road Pictures would actually make the film quickly
- Written, sold and produced in 2 years
- Brought Keanu Reeves on, revised, adding many more deaths, original script only had 12, current version probably has 5 times that by my estimation
- Reeves thought his The Matrix stunt coordinators/2nd Unit Directors Leitch and Stahelski would be great to direct, Iwanyk had already talked to them and was about to suggest
- Leitch and Stahelski approach film as Character, Story and World
- Shot in 46 days, ran out of money
- Reeves trained for 3.5 months in martial arts and tactical gun handling with SWAT and Navy Seals
- Reeves was one insisted more people die to make it "MORE!"
- Reeves was quite funny and sweet, thinks the film should be a drinking game, a shot of whiskey for bullet to the head, beer for to the body and tequila for something else I can't recall...
- Leitch and Stahelski very influenced by Asian action cinema, love Tony Jaa and inspired by long shots in camera the Thai filmmakers were able to accomplish
- Working on big movies with David Fincher, Jim Mangold, Wachowski's (on 6 films) was the best film school they could ask for
- Give full props to a reluctant Reeves for being a martial artist and putting in more time training than most black belts

It was a good time and of course more was talked about.  I hope the movie does well this weekend and we see more from Leitch and Stahelski.  Not sure what it is but Q&A's at The Arclight are always a little stiff.  Maybe they try to get too prestigious with it but unless the guests are really into it, things just kind of plod along.  Happened with Larry Franco, David Michod & Robert Pattinson, luckily Tim Allen & Dean Parisot (rumored director for Bill & Ted 3) didn't need a moderator to show the audience a good time.  The moderator didn't even ask the directors any questions for a while and you could see them about to speak then stopping themselves.  Oh well, just another example of what I won't be doing when I'm up there.  Thanks to Neither Here Nor There for the pics.

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