One of the biggest surprises of last year was the thriller John Wick, which came out of nowhere to become an instant action classic. The film, starring Keanu Reeves, only earned $78.7 million worldwide, but it only cost $20 million to make, leading Lionsgate to move forward with a sequel, John Wick 2. While discussing his new thriller Knock, Knock, in theaters this weekend, Keanu Reeves shed some light on the story of John Wick 2, hinting that the title character's past will be coming back to haunt, and help, him.
"I think we have a really good premise, and it's an organic premise. It's basically - to me there's John Wick and then there's John. You know, John is the married guy whose wife just died, and that five years of his life. Then there's John Wick, who's the mythical assassin. In this, John Wick's past comes and infiltrates John's life and John Wick, in a way, has to fight for John." Why tell the story? Why do we need to do this again? How do we do that without doing another dog? So we speak about John Wick, the next chapter, and what is that emotional hook? What is that? So I think we have a good idea of that."
One of the most intriguing elements of the original John Wick was the Hotel Continental, a mysterious place that is used by assassins from around the world. No other cast members have been confirmed for John Wick 2 yet, but it's possible that we may see the return of Lance Reddick's Charon, who served as the Hotel Continental's manager. Keanu Reeves revealed that director Chad Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad have discussed what fans have enjoyed about the first movie, including the Hotel Continental world.
"Chad and the writer, Derek Kolstad, they've really listened to what people have enjoyed about the work and how they speak about it. So there's definitely that influence of the other world, the Continental world, the look, the feel, what it is about the movie, what made people like it; is definitely being paid attention to and the world opens up in this chapter."
While the story will certainly be different in John Wick 2, Keanu Reeves added that the level of action will be the same. The actor revealed that he has already been training, and learning different styles and techniques to use in this sequel. He added that, while John Wick certainly won't have "superpowers" in this follow-up, his action skills will still feel organic.
"We're gonna do the same kind of thing in the sense of - what are the guiding principles? So it's longer takes, know where you are on the space, who's doing what, action with consequence. And then going to other levels of what the gun-Fu was, which was Jujitsu and Judo mixed with weapons and different styles of weapon training. So we've been opening up, I've been learning some other tools and different styles of that, and trying to develop some more techniques in terms of Judo and Jujitsu and bring those elements into the work. And then we have some other things that might be a little different...But it's all organic. It's not like all of a sudden John Wick has superpowers, it's got to be connected to the character."
It was confirmed last month that production on John Wick 2 will begin this fall, with principal photography set to begin soon, although an exact production start date has yet to be confirmed. Keanu Reeves is certainly no stranger to franchises, after his work on The Matrix trilogy, but when asked if he sees John Wick becoming a long-running franchise, the actor isn't sure if that will happen quite yet. Here's what he had to say below.
"I'm interested in what happens to the guy and in this world. So when we were speaking about it, obviously it did well enough for the investors to want to do another one, which is cool, and it's great to have the opportunity to further the story. But we had to come up with a reason why, and we came up with a reason that was good enough, that didn't suck, and we're just trying to make it better and better. In terms of a franchise, I don't know, until you do it and it's done, you don't know, because it's not source material, this is original goodness."
Chad Stahelski co-directed the original movie with David Leitch, but Chad Stahelski is directing the follow-up on his own, from a script by Derek Kolstad. David Leitch instead will direct The Coldest City, which has Charlize Theron attached to star. What do you think about these new details regarding John Wick 2? Do you think this sequel could do even better than the original at the box office?