One of the biggest action franchises in the film industry in recent times is the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick series which has become infamous for the sheer number of people the titular character kills on-screen.
However, in an interview with ComicBook.com, John Wick director Chad Stahelski revealed the original script for the first film only had three deaths prior to his involvement.
“I think he [Reeves] sent it to me on a Friday and I read it maybe that day and thought about it over the weekend,” Stahelski said. “It was much more contained. I think only three people died in the original script, two were in a car crash. It was very, very minimal, and it was slightly different. I read it, and I’d always had this idea about Greek mythology and how to tell more a fablestic kind of story, make a surreal action movie so it wasn’t so grounded and gray, just something different.”
“People joke about it [the kill count], but the way I choreograph with my guys and stuff, we just choreograph motion and set pieces and we try to get this balletic kind of dance, live performance feel to everything,” Stahelski adds. “It’s just when you shoot people in the head, they can’t get back up so you can reuse a stunt guy. Every time Keanu moves, he does two half circles. He’s killed five guys. So I got to keep using more and more stunt guys.”
It’s surprising to learn that the first draft of the script had a small number of deaths as the first film totalled 77 on-screen deaths at the hands of John Wick while that kill count then increased up to 128 in John Wick: Chapter 2 before decreasing back down to 94 in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.