Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of John Wick has given rise to an iconic hitman who has redefined the action narrative. In the era of the prevailing craze for team-based superheroes, the flair of this one-man army has captivated hearts in a truly distinctive manner. However, did this iconic character attain its popularity right from its inception?

In a recent dialogue with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, director Chad Stahelski delved into the initial test screening of John Wick, a screening that proved to be challenging and somewhat concerning. Nevertheless, the team never lost their optimism and persevered.

Also read: “He’d say ‘f**k yea’”: Keanu Reeves is Super Stoked to Return in John Wick 5

John Wick director shows concern on first screen testing


Starring Keanu Reeve for the fourth time, John Wick continues to surge forward with unwavering audience support. The 2014 release of this iconic movie introduced Keanu Reeves as the titular hitman, who emerges from retirement to take revenge against the man responsible for killing his puppy and stealing his car.

John Wick season 4
John Wick season 4

In a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Chad Stahelski fondly recounted the movie’s initial screen test experience. The reaction received during this test wasn’t as anticipated, but it failed to discourage them, Instead, it ignited their determination to strive for excellence.

He said:

“We did the midnight show. Right after the first action sequence, which is late in the movie. It’s an odd movie. There’s no action for 40 minutes and then the crowd went mental, and we’re like, “Is everybody stoned? We didn’t know what was going on. We had never had that kind of reaction and that was the first time we knew that we had something cool that I’d want to go see. There’s nothing like seeing it with a real audience, not just the Hollywood crowd.”

He added:

“We had a come to God moment with Keanu and we’re like, “We’re not changing this. We’re gonna own it. We’re gonna do our headshots. We’re gonna do our wacky choreography. We’re gonna do what we wanted and what we saw. We’re not gonna get nervous,” so we finished it as best we could.

This resolute commitment to creating an exceptionally captivating first film ultimately paved the way for the creation of prequels.

Also read: Does John Wick Die in John Wick: Chapter 4? Director Chad Stahelski Says He ‘Can’t Control’ Everything, Teases Bittersweet Ending

John Wicks gaining popularity: What was the master plan?

John Wck featuring Keanu Reeve
John Wck featuring Keanu Reeve

John Wick, the brainchild of co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, emerged as an unexpected phenomenon, gaining an immense and dedicated fanbase, and leading to the creation of prequels. The initial screen test of the movie was not satisfactory and did not hint at its future popularity. But the duo remained determined and executed a clever marketing campaign that transformed this seemingly run-of-the-mill action film into a massive box office success.

Also read: John Wick At His Very Best in First Chapter 4 Teaser

Amid discussions about the plans for John Wick, Director Chad Stahelski emphasized their unwavering dedication to the franchise. He expressed their commitment to continuously working in alignment with audience preferences.

Source: Youtube

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