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“I’d worked as his teacher”: Hiroyuki Sanada Reveals He Trained John Wick 4 Co-Star Keanu Reeves in Real Life for $152M Movie Before Re-Uniting for $587M Franchise

“I’d worked as his teacher”: Hiroyuki Sanada Reveals He Trained John Wick 4 Co-Star Keanu Reeves in Real Life for $152M Movie Before Re-Uniting for $587M Franchise

Hiroyuki Sanada is a man and actor beyond measure. Not only is he a veteran of the film industry with over 100 roles in American and Japanese cinema to his name, but he is also a master sword wielder, having trained since he was a child. His latest role is in John Wick: Chapter 4, as Shimazu, Osaka Continental’s manager and friend to the titular hero. Behind the scenes of the film, the actor rejuvenated his friendship with Keanu Reeves, who he had worked with before in 47 Ronin (2013). But along with being Reeves’ friend, Sanada was also his mentor and teacher for a long time.

Hiroyuki Sanada Taught Keanu Reeves How To Hold A Sword

Hiroyuki Sanada
Hiroyuki Sanada

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Hiroyuki Sanada explained how he became Keanu Reeves’ teacher the very first time he met him. It was not for John Wick: Chapter 4, but for the $151 million grossing film, 47 RoninThe veteran actor expressed that he helped the lead star master samurai movements way back then. As per Sanada:

“It was at the studio where we were training samurai movements for 47 Ronin. I’d worked as his teacher and taught him how to sit, stand, wear the obi belt, and hold the sword like us. Keanu is a very hard worker, so humble and kind, and really hard on himself—but he loves training. I remember thinking of him as a samurai already, mentally.”

Read More: “I’m going to play him 35”: Keanu Reeves Had to Let Go of His Nice Guy Persona to Grab John Wick Role After Original Script Didn’t Want ‘The Matrix’ Star in Lead Role

Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin
Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin

Also, Sanada found that he had quite a lot of similarities with Reeves and most of it was due to a shared experience of being plagued with pain from old injuries. He said:

“There were a lot of old injuries that Keanu was dealing with even back then from his motorcycle riding, in his knees and everywhere else. I had a lot of sympathy for that because I’ve also sustained a lot of injuries fighting and doing stunts in my career. In that way, we were going through the same painful experience.”

The actor also said that it was Reeves who had first told him about the John Wick movie when they were filming 47 Ronin. This led to Sanada becoming curious about the project and ultimately joining the franchise for John Wick: Chapter 4 with a character that was made specifically for him by director Chad Stahelski.

Read More: “He couldn’t hide that”: Sandra Bullock Was Left in Tears Watching John Wick Star Keanu Reeves Mourn Best Friend River Phoenix’s Tragic Death

Hiroyuki Sanada Praises Keanu Reeves’ Humble Attitude  

Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise
Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise

Keanu Reeves is known as the kindest soul in Hollywood due to his multiple good deeds. Whether it is putting his career on hold to look after his sister who was diagnosed with cancer or buying his stuntmen personalized Rolex watches, the man has a big heart. Now, it seems even Hiroyuki Sanada can attest to this fact. He said:

“I hadn’t seen Keanu since the premiere of 47 Ronin, and I was shocked at the fact he hadn’t changed at all. Still humble. Still such a hard worker. Before we started filming, we trained together in the same room for three weeks, doing our fight scenes. Sometimes he would watch me train and sometimes I’d watch him, and we would just have these moments of support for each other.”

Read More: Keanu Reeves Added $156 Million to His Net Worth Despite Negative Reviews About His Movies

Sanada also mentioned that Reeves also takes care of his cast and crew as much as possible. Yet, among all the responsibilities, he gave it his all and trained and rehearsed to the best of his abilities. It looks like the hard work is paying off because John Wick: Chapter 4 is receiving rave reviews and Variety predicts it to cross $100 million globally in its first weekend.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is now in theaters.

Source: Men’s Journal and Variety

Written by Ishita Chatterjee

A literature graduate who loves sharing her views on everything pop-culture and entertainment. Ishita especially loves dreaming about superheroes and comic books when she isn't day dreaming about them everyday either way.