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John Wick 4 Inspired by Greek Mythology

John Wick
John Wick logo. Credit: CMetalCore / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

In a recent interview, the director of the latest installment in the critically acclaimed John Wick action series revealed that he was inspired by Greek mythology.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to release this March and stars Keanu Reeves as the eponymous protagonist alongside Donnie Yen, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ian McShane, Bill Skarsgård, Rina Sawayama, Lance Reddick, Asia Kate Dillon, and Scott Adkins.

The first John Wick film, released in 2014 was an unexpected hit. Since then, the series has become a favorite with fans for its high-octane action choreography, stunning cinematography, and expansive world-building.

How Greek mythology influenced John Wick: Chapter 4

In a recent interview with /Film, director Chad Stahelski explained how Greek mythology influenced his approach to the film’s visuals and storytelling.

For Stahelski, who directed the previous three films in the series and has also worked extensively as a stuntman, the iconography of Greek mythology was an important influence.

In particular, he mentioned the stories of Odysseus and Heracles, as well as the myths of the Minotaur, the Golden Fleece, and the Hydra.

“If you can picture Odysseus in his journey tied to the mast, and the sirens are calling — that’s worldbuilding. That’s not just action, is it? They’re wrapping it and showing you something about him — about fortitude, about resilience, about all this stuff. We’ve taken a lot of cues from that,” said Stahelski.

The importance of environments in action sequences

The director also emphasized the importance of the backdrop to the action set pieces themselves. The series is famed for its attention to detail, particularly in regard to these action scenes, but the environments these take place in also contribute substantially to the overall aesthetic and stylistic appeal of the films.

“But if I put those same two people against the Eiffel Tower, now you’re looking at the two people, the skill, and the Eiffel Tower. And now for some reason, that same punch and kick looks amazing to you,” explained Stahelski.

“If you look at the Arc de Triomphe, you’ve seen guys spin cars before, you just haven’t seen it the way we did,” the director continued. “You’ve seen Keanu shoot at people, but you haven’t seen it in the middle of five lanes of traffic. You’ve seen a fight scene before, but you haven’t seen it in a club with 40 waterfalls. So we’re constantly trying to change that.”

Keanu Reeves’ training for John Wick 4

Keanu Reeves’ training to prepare for each of the John Wick movies has become almost as exciting for fans as the lauded action sequences themselves. The actor has been known to train extensively in Brazilian and Japanese Ju-Jitsu, standing Judo, and firearms handling.

“It’s been about 12 weeks of training. It’s new levels of action,” the actor said in a recent featurette for the film. “You know, nun-chucks, which was challenging… John Wick’s action asks just a little bit more. And you see the effort and the commitment from the team.”

John Wick: Chapter 4 has the most action of any of the films, which is saying a lot. And it’s more by a good margin. It’s a big show… John Wick: Chapter 4 was the hardest physical role I’ve ever had in my career so far. They really trained me up to be able to have what we call the toolbox,” Reeves added.

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