HomeEntertainment‘John Wick’ Was Originally a 75 Year Old Bad Ass, and Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford Were Considered

‘John Wick’ Was Originally a 75 Year Old Bad Ass, and Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford Were Considered

by Craig Garrett
Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford

Picture Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford as John Wick, because that was the vision Basil Iwanyk had for this epochal action movie franchise. As uncovered by Entertainment Weekly, the story behind John Wick is revealed in They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman.

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After Derek Kolstad wrote the script for John Wick, he envisioned an elderly lead character. The story followed a retired hitman who was forced back into action at 75 years old. When producer Basil Iwanyk read the script, he immediately imagined Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford playing the role of this iconic assassin.

“One of my best friends is Charlie Ferraro. [He] sent me this script from Derek Kolstad called Scorn,” Iwanyk recalls in the book. “The lead was a 75-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, 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.”

John Wick’s proposed age changed once Keanu Reeves came on board

Once Keanu Reeves joined the cast, the narrative shifted in an entirely new direction. When Iwanyk was looking for a possible lead actor to cast in John Wick, he got lucky that Reeves’s name popped up. Of course, he was younger than originally desired for the role. However, Iwanyk decided to give him a go and allowed him access to read through the script. Needless to say, Reeves took interest in it.

“My other best friend in the world, this guy Jimmy Darmody, is an agent at CAA. At the time represented Keanu, ” Iwanyk explained. “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?’ And he was directing his movie, Man of Tai Chi, and doing 47 Ronin. We give him the script, we tell him, ‘Clearly, you’re not 75.'”

In the book, Keanu Reeves delves into the reasons why he chose to accept the role of John Wick. The actor was captivated by the narrative of a man who embarks on an expedition to reclaim his life after losing the one he loved most. He wanted to join in with what he saw as remarkable potential for this project. Basil Iwanyk soon observed Reeves’ commitment toward it. He became sold upon seeing him take such responsibility for embodying a younger version of the lead character.