Yes, Keanu Reeves Really Did His Own Stunt Driving in the “John Wick” Films
There is a perfectly good reason why the John Wick franchise has been bulletproof (pun intended). In an age where movies are up to their eyeballs in CGI, audiences are not as impressed and blown away by the spectacle. Like when we know how a magician does his tricks, we can see through the illusion, killing the magic. But with John Wick, there is very little to no CGI involved.
All the action we are seeing on-screen was actually done in real-life, and Keanu Reeves immersed himself in the lethality of his character by training in Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tactical 3-gun, and standing Judo (nicknamed “Gun Fu”) for the film.
Keanu Reeves Trained To Be His Own Stunt Driver
It is this level of commitment, effort, and authenticity that audiences appreciate, and Reeves’ training didn’t end at martial arts and gunplay. He was instructed by legendary drifter and rallycross driver Tanner Foust, who was brought in to assist with the car scenes in the latest installment, John Wick: Chapter 4. As seen in the clip below, that really is Keanu Reeves behind the wheel of a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda while fighting off assassins through the busy streets of Paris.
According to director and stuntman Chad Stahelski, this scene was one of the most difficult to capture on film because it required Reeves to drive against four lanes of oncoming traffic at 40 mph while never checking his blind spots and merging like his life depended on it. Meanwhile, there were 30 other stunt drivers communicating in multiple languages to allow Reeves to make his heart-pounding maneuvers. Fair to say that both the audience and the film crew were very anxious during this scene.
It should be noted that Reeves has been doing nearly all of his own stunts (hand-to-hand, guns, and driving) since the first film hit theaters in 2014. According to Stahelski, Reeves grew to be such an exceedingly great stunt driver that it was impossible not to feature it throughout the films. “In all our stunt driver training, he never blew through his mark. He never gave me any concern or any reason to think he couldn’t do this stuff.”
“A lot of people just never get it, and I think he really loves it. He really enjoys the driving.”