When I was a kid, I know that I would occasionally play with nerf or water guns around the house with friends where the goal is, of course, to shoot everyone else before they shoot you. It involves a lot of looking around corners and pretending you are some kind of action star. In order to actually become a real life action hero, the prep work for Keanu Reeves is actually not all that dissimilar, except he is using realistic guns and not a big, purple piece of plastic that shoots orange foam pellets.
In an interview with /Film back in 2017, stunt coordinator J.J. Perry emphasized that Reeves didn’t just memorize specific moves; over three and a half months of training, he learned to improvise:
“Ninety-nine percent of stunt teams out there will train the cast to memorize moves or train them in a small skill set. We’ve done that so many times and we’ve done it the ‘F**k it, we’re just going to train this guy’ [way] … It’s an interactive range. He’ll run a course five times and we’ll change it, which lends itself to choreography. It’s constantly changing.”
With the fourth “John Wick” film arriving soon, Reeves has clearly had ample time to figure out exactly what methods of preparation work best for what he needs to achieve in these films. Because the budgets and schedules are not as large as your typical Hollywood action blockbuster, efficiently maximizing his time is of the utmost importance. If I trust any actor to know how to do that, it’s Keanu Reeves. The results certainly speak for themselves.