How 'John Wick' star Keanu Reeves took script originally written for a ’75-year-old man’ and ‘made it his own’

One of the “John Wick” producers, Basil Iwanyk, revealed in the new book, “They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action,” by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, that the legendary assassin was supposed to be played by a 75-year-old man. 

Iwanyk said in the book that one of his best friends sent him a script from Derek Kolstad — the creator of the “John Wick” franchise — according to Entertainment Weekly. 

“The lead was a 75-year-old man, 25 years after being retired. It was the fun of watching Clint Eastwood kick a–. I thought, ‘Okay, there’s probably one or two names you could do this with: Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford,'” Iwanyk remarked. 

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Kolstad noted that it was Reeves “who got his talons into [the script] and made it his own.” Since “The Matrix” actor showed great interest in the script, he revamped the character in order to play him. 

Keanu Reeves has played the iconic action hero John Wick for nearly a decade, but the role was originally intended for a "75-year-old man."

Keanu Reeves has played the iconic action hero John Wick for nearly a decade, but the role was originally intended for a “75-year-old man.” (AP Images)

“I spent two months at Keanu’s house on the weekends working on the script,” Kolstad said in the book, which was published on Tuesday. 

Derek Kolstad, the creator of the "John Wick" franchise, said Keanu Reeves took the script and "made it his own," in new book "They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog."

Derek Kolstad, the creator of the “John Wick” franchise, said Keanu Reeves took the script and “made it his own,” in new book “They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog.” (DAVID ODISHO/AFP via Getty Images)

“He read [the script] on a Friday, in 90 minutes, and was like, ‘I want to do it,’” the screenwriter remembered. 

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“The first thing that Keanu said to me was, ‘Okay, Derek, I’m going to play him 35.’”

 

Reeves will return as the famous John Wick in “John Wick: Chapter 4,” slated to premiere on March 23, 2023, from Lionsgate. 

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