It’s estimated, according to recognized algorithms and metrics, that John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum has made $120 million worldwide in just a week’s time. Indeed, the third film in the John Wick collection has more than doubled its predecessors’ box-office gross at this stage of the game. And with the holiday weekend upon us, the ultra-violent Keanu Reeves action drama stands to make a good bit more paper before its theatrical run is exhausted.

The John Wick phenomenon is fueled by a number of key factors. Keanu Reeves’ charisma and star power have got to be at the top of the list. Let’s face it, folks are more than ready to pay good, hard-earned cash to watch Keanu portray the world-weary, stoic assassin who beats bad guys up in highly stylized and meticulously choreographed fight scenes. Another factor would be the intrigue and mystique of the violent and esoteric world of paid assassins; John Wick hard cores really are fascinated with this stuff. But another factor altogether is the respect and awe the audience has for the hard work and dedication it takes to portray a stone-cold killer with the martial arts chops of a Bruce Lee or an Anderson “Spider” Silva. In the attached mini-documentary, Reeves and his costar Halle Berry speak candidly about the trials, tribulations, and the true grit it takes to survive “John Wick Training.”

“Keanu trains his a** off,” says Jackson Spidell, the John Wick stunt double. Spidell goes on to say, “When we train Keanu, we’ll go for hours and hours and hours and he just won’t stop. It’s amazing.” In fact, of the third film in the series, Keanu himself says, “It really was one of the hardest trainings I’ve done because there’s a lot more action in ‘Parabellum’ than the other two films.” And for anyone who’s seen John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, that’s saying something!

It’s clear the level of dedication, training, and focus it takes to really pull off an action film of this caliber is truly otherworldly. Indeed, Halle Berry states, “It’s one of the hardest six or seven months I think I’ve experienced in my professional life. And I kept going because I just will not quit.” And in point of fact, Reeves says, “Some people say they want to do John Wick training, and then it starts, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, this is John Wick training.’ And when Halle said she wanted to do that, Chad (‘Parabellum’ director Chad Stahelski) said, ‘Here you go,’ and Halle said, ‘Thank you, sir, can I please have some more?’”

Actors may or may not be charged to do this sort of training for a given role in the course of a career, but it’s important to understand that this level of commitment and determination is essential to achieve success in the acting game. One must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done—no matter how exhausting, no matter how time-consuming, and no matter how depleting. Because if the character doesn’t appear authentic on the big screen, be it an action film or an indie drama, there will be no quarter for the production.

In fact, Chad Stahelski, while speaking of the rigors of martial arts training and the intensity of the workouts, says, “The best way to fake being good is just to be good, and that takes sweat, blood, and tears.” But he might well have been talking about the craft of acting in saying, “It’s a level of commitment that is not normal.”

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is now playing at a theater near you!

 

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