Keanu Reeves lovingly wanted all of the “John Wick: Chapter 4” stuntmen to remember just how many times they died during the making of the blockbuster action movie.
A new report from The New York Times about the making of the sequel’s unforgettable action scenes includes a detail about Reeves gifting the film’s stunt crew with t-shirts that had the number of deaths each stunt person faced in the movie. For some of the stunt crew, that number was above 20.
Why so many death scenes per one stunt person? It’s because “John Wick: Chapter 4” re-used stunt workers in multiple scenes. For the instant classic staircase fight, in which Reeves’ John Wick fights bad guys as he races up the 222 steps leading to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica (only to be pushed back down to the bottom and have to do it all over again), the production used 35 stunt workers, many of whom had repeated deaths in the scene.
“It’s like, of course that’s what you want,” fight coordinator Jeremy Marinas told The Times about the moment director Chad Stahelski told him about the staircase scene. “You want 100 guys falling down the stairs and you want me to make every reaction and fall different. Of course you do. It was like we were just another day at work.”
“We all know how hard it is just to walk up stairs when we don’t want to,” Marinas added, “Just to think about how well Keanu — not John Wick — Keanu was able to do shooting upwards while stepping. It’s hard enough to be a marksman on flat ground.”
Per The New York Times, filming the staircase fight took seven night shoots. Each stunt man was probably “killed” four or five times each, and “at the end of the shoot Reeves made T-shirts for the stunt performers emblazoned with the number of times they were slain over the course of the entire movie.”
Stahelski added that Reeves performed every stunt as it pertained to John Wick ascending the staircase. As for the 44-second fall down the stairs, that was where stunt double Vincent Bouillon came in handy.
“That look John Wick gives when he looks at his watch and actually looks up the staircase, I think that’s maybe 50 percent John Wick and 50 percent Keanu Reeves going, ‘Ugh, Stahelski did it to me again,’” Stahelski said of filming the scene. “You got to suffer. That’s what’s fun about John Wick. He suffers and he keeps going.”
The T-shirts are not the only gift Reeves bestowed to his “John Wick: Chapter 4” stunt team. People magazine reported in 2021 that Reeves marked the end of production on the film by gifting the his four-man stunt team personalized Rolex Submariner watches as a thank you for their hard work on the upcoming action tentpole. Reeves’ stunt team on the film was made up of Bruce Concepcion, Jeremy Marinas, Dave Camarillo and Li Qiang.
Per People magazine: “The inside of each watch was engraved with personal messages to each individual from the actor. Marinas shared a look at the watches in his Instagram Stories, calling it the ‘best wrap gift ever’ and revealing his watch read ‘The John Wick Five’ along with the message, ‘Jeremy Thank you Keanu JW4 2021.’”
“John Wick: Chapter 4” is now playing in theaters nationwide.