Keanu Reeves On How He Got Laurence Fishburne To Join ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

Keanu Reeves apparently didn’t need to do much to persuade his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne to join him in John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to the cult hit John Wick. In an interview with TODAY, Reeves explained that it was primarily the director’s idea to have a mini-Matrix reunion in John Wick: Chapter 2. But even before Reeves popped the question to Fishburne, the latter was already expressing his enthusiasm towards John Wick.

According to Keanu Reeves, he asked Laurence Fishburne whether or not he would be interested in joining the sequel when Laurence expressed to him how much he enjoyed John Wick. Fishburne later got on board once he had read the script sent over by the director Chad Stahelski. For Reeves, Fishburne, and Stahelski, this really is a Matrix reunion, as prior to directing the John Wick franchise, Stahelski was a stunt double for Reeves on the Matrix trilogy. Stahelski’s resume is impressive, and his work in stunt coordination includes films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Wolverine, and The Expendables. His collaboration with Keanu Reeves extends beyond the Matrix and John Wick franchises, however, as he also served as the martial arts choreographer for Reeves’s Man of Tai Chi and was the actor’s stunt double in Constantine.

When asked by Collider about how much fun he had filming John Wick: Chapter 2, Fishburne was effusive about his experience and how much fun the first movie was to watch. The actor described the movie as “a graphic novel and a video game come to life.”

“It was so cool, man. I mean I saw the first movie and I thought, that’s really hip. I want to be a part of that…So he [Keanu] called Chad and they put it together, and I wound up playing this Bowery King character.”

While Fishburne doesn’t get to engage in physical combat with Keanu Reeves as he did in The Matrix, the actor has said that he’s happy to “just be part of the [John Wick] world” and that “he doesn’t have to be fighting.”

“If they got something for me to do fight-wise, I would have been happy to do that too, but just to be part of that world and to also be a character that reveals yet another layer of the world, that’s like gold.”

Fishburne is evidently a fan of the franchise. In a separate interview with Fox 5’s entertainment reporter Kevin McCarthy, the actor says that both John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 have parts that he really likes. The actor singled out the opening sequence of the sequel as a favorite, saying the action-heavy opening of John Wick: Chapter 2 was especially “crazy.”

But Laurence Fishburne is not the only Matrix alumnus geeking out about John Wick: Chapter 2. The director himself had his own geek-out moments during the first day Laurence started shooting for the movie. According to Entertainment Weekly, Stahelski was overrun by emotions when he saw Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne on set together. For the director, it was a personal moment as he had met both actors when he was 26 and just a “stunt guy,” and yet, years later, he’s now in the director’s chair yelling “Action!” and directing the two stars. Stahelski says the excitement and emotional poignancy of the moment was overwhelming, and apparently the director even forgot to say “cut” until Fishburne turned around and reminded him.

John Wick: Chapter 2, the movie about a super-assassin who keeps on getting forced out of his retirement, will be released in theaters on February 10.

[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]