It’s a running joke in Hollywood that Keanu Reeves may really be a vampire. At 52, he is still the picture of youthful health, which might make you wonder if he has a secret, aging painting of himself hidden in the attic a la Dorian Gray.
Despite fighting in several films, Reeves hasn’t been trained in martial arts. You can check out his amazing moves in the sequel to the 2014 action thriller, John Wick. The original so outstripped expectations, grossing $86 million dollars at the worldwide box office, there’s even a Wick comic book launching this year.
What follows are a few of his thoughts about John Wick: Chapter 2, which, if the trailer is any indication, may be even more violent and action packed than its predecessor.
“Fight scenes are a partnership. You really can’t do it without the other person. You have to cooperate.”
In John Wick: Chapter 2 you are back to playing a retired super assassin. How good are you at MMA in real life?
I don’t know any real jiu-jitsu or judo or anything. I do movie kung fu. You can fake a punch, but you can’t really fake a judo throw. You can get help from the person who you’re throwing, because they can kind of launch themselves. At the same time, Common [who plays fellow hit man Cassian] got really good at throwing people at me. It’s really a cooperation. In the real world, I don’t do any of that.
What is it about this character and story that appealed to you? How does it feel to see it executed so beautifully?
You hope to do good work in good works and that they have a chance to be seen and hopefully responded to. For me… it’s really cool since the opening of the first one through the times to be here now and today, to be a part of a film that has so much affection for it. For me, it’s very rare… It’s pretty cool.
This was a really cool action ballet dance. What was your favorite scene? Was there an action choreography scene that was really difficult to do?
There are some times when those intersect. The most difficult can become the most fun. All of the action is difficult and all of it is a lot of fun…. They all have a certain kind of charm to them.
I think the Cassian/John fight, before we crash into The Continental, was the most difficult fight technically, because we didn’t have all of the jiu-jitsu experience. We had the guns, and had to go through that process of just learning how to walk. Then, we were training, after we were fighting other fights. I would say that one had the longest tail. But also, when you look at it, it’s got a real combustion and intensity to it.
Also, you have to understand, these are cooperations, like you said, with a dance. It’s a partnership. You really can’t do it without the other person. You have to cooperate. I think that fight demanded the most cooperation and it was the most technical, but also it has a ferocity and a kind of rawness to it and a skill level.
In the film, your character is reunited with Laurence Fishburne, whom you worked with on the Matrix movies. What was that like?
Laurence and I have remained friends since we worked together on the Matrix [films], so getting a chance to act with him again was really special… he brings strength, nobility, command, vulnerability and humor to the role, plus he’s charismatic. He’s just a beautiful actor.