John Wick hasn’t fought zombies on screen — yet — but Keanu Reeves did on the set of John Wick: Chapter 4.
The franchise’s director, Chad Stahelski, is a former stuntman — Keanu’s own Matrix stunt double, in fact — and in staffing the film’s fight scenes, he pulled an old trick out of his hat that has served him well in the franchise: He kept resurrecting dudes Wick had already “killed.”
This apparently led to a cheeky wrap gift from Reeves.
An article in the New York Times details the climactic staircase fight near the end of the latest installment and reports Keanu had T-shirts made up for the stunt team, including a personalized body count for how many times each performer had been “killed” during the film.
“Some had more than 20 deaths,” the article notes.
In the supplemental material for a previous installment in the franchise, Stahelski reveals Wick stuntmen sometimes grow out their hair and beards before a shoot, so that after they’ve been killed on camera, they can get a trim between scenes and be recycled as different dudes for Baba Yaga to dispatch.
The Times article dives deep into Wick’s arduous climb up the 222 steps outside France’s Sacré-Coeur Basilica, with fight coordinator Jeremy Marinas saying sarcastically of Stahelski, “You want 100 guys falling down the stairs and you want me to make every reaction and fall different. Of course you do.”
The director says the team was more than game: “You never saw three stunt guys smile faster when we saw those stairs.”
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