There's no reason for host Jimmy Fallon to bring up this bit of hilarious trivia unless he could produce the receipts, of course, and sure enough, Reeves's face upon hearing that a giddy Fallon indeed had a clip to roll was that of a man whose first date was just interrupted by his ex sitting down at the table directly behind him.
I'm not exactly sure what our intrepid future Neo is getting at here, but yes, it's safe to say that if his antics regularly featured him doing things like pantomiming being choked (possibly eaten?) by a teddy bear that he plucked out of a terrified child's hands, then perhaps his termination from that role was warranted. Lest you think this is the only evidence of Going Great available online for your viewing pleasure, here he is interviewing Susan Keers, who at age 16 ran her own equestrian school, a Reeves voiceover explains proudly, with "flair and a little dare."
‘John Wick: Chapter 2’: Keanu Reeves taps ‘Matrix’ pals for action sequel
LOS ANGELES – Keanu Reeves is only half joking when he notes in defence of the action movie John Wick: Chapter 2, “no animals were hurt in the production of this film.”
That’s comforting news to animal lovers. After all, the original John Wick – the anime and “gun-fu” influenced movie that re-asserted Reeves’ action reputation – was about a guy who takes on the Russian mob to avenge his dead dog and stolen car.
It speaks volumes about people’s priorities that John Wick, the super-assassin nicknamed The Boogeyman, killed 84 people in brutal fashion (a rate of slightly less than one a minute) and all anybody cared about was the dog.
John Wick: Chapter 2 ups the ante to 141 killings (more than one a minute), with kung-fu, gun-fu, car-fu (and yes, there will be pencils).
And there is a dog.
“People were really affected by what happened to the dog (in John Wick 1) and I get it,” Reeves said at a press conference with the cast and filmmakers. “With the second one, that’s one of the first things I heard, ‘I can’t wait to see the movie. You don’t kill another dog do you?’
“And we don’t. We have a new dog. He doesn’t even have a name. But he’s integral to the story because it’s part of what’s going on in John’s life – the relationship being symbolic of the life that his (late) wife gave him. He’s responsible for the beast. So they have a journey together.
Not that it’s a man-and-his-dog-movie,” he says with a laugh.
Also of significance, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a somewhat of a reunion of The Matrix alumni. Director Chad Stahelski – a former stuntman – was Reeves’ stunt double for the half decade the Wachowskis spent on the trilogy.
And for this movie, Reeves took it upon himself to land Laurence Fishburne – The Matrix’s Morpheus – for the role of The Bowery King, a hit-man with an army of panhandlers and the homeless.
At the press conference, the actors formerly known as Neo and Morpheus had this very-Keanu exchange.
REEVES: “When I saw you, I came up to the house and said, ‘How did you like John Wick? Did you SEE John Wick?’”
FISHBURNE: “And I said, ‘Dude, John Wick was sick! Killer! Put me down!’ And you said, ‘Yeah, I’ll talk to Chad and them.’”
REEVES: “Actually, it was more like, ‘Wow, you did? Cool. I’ll I’ll talk to Chad because I think there might be something there.’”
“And Chad jumped on it,” Stahelski chimed in.
John Wick: Chapter 2 sees the title character – a member of the secret society of assassins – finally rescuing his prized 1969 Mustang from the Russian mob and settling in yet again to a quiet life of retirement.
Unfortunately, he’s visited by an Italian mobster named Santino D’Antonio who proffers a gold “marker” that obliges Wick to kill someone as payment for a past favour. The target: the mobster’s own sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini).
And rest assured, before it’s done, John Wick will not kill just one.
His main antagonist: a fellow assassin named Cassian (Common) who had been working as Gianna’s bodyguard. Their to-the-death combat – involving smashed plate glass windows and cars-as-weapons – represents the movie’s most extended dust-up.
“I don’t know any real jujutsu or judo or anything. I do movie kung fu,” says Reeves, who made his directorial debut in 2013 with Man of Tai-Chi, and starred in the big-budget (and box office disappointment) 47 Ronin.
“Having said that, you can fake a punch, but you can’t really fake a judo throw. You can get help from the person you’re throwing because they can kind of push themselves – thank you, Common,” Reeves says as a wry aside.
“At the same time, Common got really good at throwing people like me. It’s really a co-operation, and in the real world I can’t do anything like that.”
“But the most difficult action scenes can become the most fun. I mean, all the action is difficult. But they all have a certain kind of charm.”
For his part, the hip-hop-artist/actor Common says, “As far as I’m concerned, in the real world he (Keanu) can kick ass. We’re doing it for a film, but you can feel the strength and some of that doesn’t feel like film work.
“I know Keanu’s saying he might not want to be in any type of MMA (mixed martial arts) competition, but I definitely know he’s the warrior that we see John Wick as.”
Director Stahelski first worked with Reeves on the set of The Matrix (and subsequently on other films including Constantine), and praises his action-star work ethic.
“At the time I was a fairly successful stunt performer, I had a devotion to the physical craft,” Stahelski said in an interview. “And when I met Keanu, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to have to double this guy. I’ll have to work overtime.
“We all evolve as we grow older. Keanu went on, he’s directed, he’s produced, he’s written. He’s at a much higher point in his career and as a person.
“He’s a true gentleman, he’s super easy to talk to and he’s very, very knowledgeable about a lot of s---. Talk to him about motorcycles, Japanese food, wine, jujutsu, kung fu, wirework, filmmaking, politics.
“He can carry on almost any conversation. He’s just got this thirst for knowledge and experiences.”