Fans can’t imagine John Wicks movie franchise without Keanu Reeves. It has come to light that the titular hitman role wasn’t even conceived for Reeves or anyone in his age group. It was revealed that the character of John Wick was intended to be played by Harrison Ford or Clint Eastwood.
Keanu Reeves was not supposed to play the role
The role wasn’t created for Keanu Reeves. The character was originally intended to be 75 years old and the makers wanted either Harrison Ford or Clint Eastwood to play the role. Basil Iwanyk, a producer of the franchise said in the book, They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Ass-Kicking Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action:
“The lead was a seventy-five-year-old man, twenty-five years after being retired. It was the fun of watching Clint Eastwood kick ass. I thought, Okay, there’s probably one or two names you could do this with: Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford. Other than that, I’m not sure how I put this movie together. But the tone of the script for John Wick was subversive and really fun. It has a very clear emotional through line and a great premise for an action movie.”
No doubt Ford or Eastwood would have been phenomenal if they had played the character. However, it is quite interesting how Reeves bagged the role replacing them. As per Iwanyk:
“Jimmy Darmody is an agent at CAA, who at the time represented Keanu. And he said, ‘Do you have any action movies for Keanu Reeves?’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘Keanu is one of the great action stars of the last 25 years — what happened to him? What’s he been doing?’ We give him the script, we tell him, ‘Clearly, you’re not 75.’”