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‘It Was Originally For a 75 Years Old Man’: John Wick Producer Reveals How Keanu Reeves Flipped The Script and Landed the Role Originally Meant For Clint Eastwood

One of the most-iconic characters played by Keanu Reeves is John Wick. Named after the character himself, the John Wick franchise, now, has four movies that tell the tale of a former hitman forced back into the underworld he had abandoned. The first film came out in 2014. The actor suited the role so well and became highly popular along with the franchise. Now we cannot even imagine any other version of John Wick, but as it turns out, originally there was a different John Wick.

John Wick was originally 75 years old
John Wick was originally 75 years old

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John Wick Producer reveals the character was originally 75

In the book, the John Wick producer revealed that the character of John Wick was originally written with actors like Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford in mind. But Keanu Reeves liked it so much that he flipped the script to fit the character instead. The book titled, They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Ass-Kicking Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action, reveals the real John Wick was 75 years old.

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Basil Iwanyk reveals he had Clint Eastwood in mind for the role
Basil Iwanyk reveals he had Clint Eastwood in mind for the role

In the book, the producer, Basil Iwanyk wrote,

“One of my best friends is Charlie Ferraro at UTA, who sent me this script from Derek Kolstad called ‘Scorn.’ The lead was a 75-year-old man, 25 years after being retired. It was the fun of watching Clint Eastwood kick ass. I thought, ‘Okay, there’s probably one or two names you could do this with Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford.’”

“My other best friend in the world, this guy Jimmy Darmody, is an agent at CAA, who at the time represented Keanu. And he said, ‘Do you have any action movies for Keanu Reeves?’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘Keanu is one of the great action stars of the last 25 years — what happened to him? What’s he been doing?’ And he was directing his movie, ‘Man of Tai Chi,’ and doing ’47 Ronin.’ We give him the script, we tell him, ‘Clearly, you’re not 75.’”

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Keanu Reeves changed the script to fit the role

The screenwriter of the film, Derek Kolstad shared how Keanu Reeves made the changes in the script to fit the role.

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Derek Kolstad wrote Keanu Reeves changed the script to fit the role
Derek Kolstad wrote Keanu Reeves changed the script to fit the role

He wrote in the book:

“I spent two months at Keanu’s house on the weekends working on the script. When I first went and met with him and walked into his house, and as he rounded the corner to say hello to me — it’s a nice house, it’s not ostentatious for a guy who’s worth, I dunno, billions — and I look in his office, I see he has 300 screenplays stacked on his desk because he reads everything that UTA, WME, William Morris sends out. He reads them all.”

“He read [the script] on a Friday, in 90 minutes, and was like, ‘I want to do it.’ At that moment, before I met and really clicked with him, I was like, ‘Yeah, I really want to do it, too.’ The first thing that Keanu said to me was, ‘Okay, Derek, I’m going to play him 35.’ And I’m like, ‘Fine.’”

The actor made John Wick younger to fit the role and now is set to play the character in the fourth film.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 comes out on 24 March 2023.

Source: Entertainment Weekly