John Wick: Chapter 4 star Keanu Reeves feels a sense of grief for lost youth, Latest Movies News - The New Paper

John Wick: Chapter 4 star Keanu Reeves feels a sense of grief for lost youth

Keanu Reeves is aware that the clock is ticking on his body.

His John Wick action films need him to run and jump more with each new release, but age is catching up.

Facing his own mortality gives him pause, says the 58-year-old Hollywood star.

“Life is life, and life has death. And so I can’t run, jump and play as much as I used to,” says the Canadian actor at an online press event for John Wick: Chapter 4, which opens in cinemas here on Thursday.

“There is some grief to know that I can’t run, jump and play as much as I used to. It’s sad.”

The first John Wick film, which came out in 2014, took about 50 days to film. Shooting the fourth instalment took twice as long, with more than three-quarters of the time taken up by action scenes.

“It’s been the most difficult to shoot, but also the most fun,” says Reeves.

But it is not game over any time soon for him, as he adds that he recognises and embraces the fact of ageing and will adapt his movies to fit.

“I’ll still be able to drive a car,” he says.

For now, though, the fourth movie in the franchise will stick to the “more fights, less talk” formula that Reeves and American director Chad Stahelski, 54, first came up with.

Stahelski, who helmed all four films and was also at the conference, described the John Wick movies as sticking to a “myth, a campfire tale” of a hero shrouded in mystery.

“We don’t worry about the plot, we try to just follow a cool character,” he says.

One rule they decided on was that the titular widower would have no romantic associations.

Reeves says: “The film is based on his grief. It’s a grief based on profound loss. People ask about giving John a love interest, but he’s still in love and has no room for another person.”

That point is underlined in the first film, he adds, when Wick goes berserk because thugs kill the puppy his wife gave him before she died.

In Chapter 4, Wick is still being targeted by the High Table, political elites who send waves of assassins after the former assassin.

Fleeing High Table member The Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard), Wick travels to Osaka, Japan, to enlist the help of hotel manager Koji Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada).

Canadian actor Keanu Reeves returns as the titular character in John Wick: Chapter 4. PHOTO: LIONSGATE

Placing Wick in Japan and having him engage enemies with mediaeval weapons was something Reeves and Stahelski dreamt of doing.

Both love the visual style of Japanese anime and the warrior code embodied in Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa’s action movies, such as Seven Samurai (1954) and Ran (1985).

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in cinemas on Thursday. PHOTO: LIONSGATE

Reeves has long been a fan of the Japanese sword-fighting genre and played a samurai in the fantasy actioner 47 Ronin (2013).

In fact, Stahelski says, the core idea of the fourth movie was the phrase “John Wick and samurai”.

He adds: “We love anime and manga. We wanted the film to take on an anime look, to have those palettes, colours and composition. And, obviously, it’s drenched in Kurosawa.”

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in cinemas on Thursday.