Keanu Reeves says a total of 380 words in the entirety of John Wick 4.
They tell screenwriters to write dialog as if they’re writing a silent movie because a film should show the story and not tell. Apparently, Keanu Reeves took that writing advice to heart. While the John Wick 4 actor doesn’t have a writer’s credit for the newest installment of the dog-loving assassin franchise, he certainly took it upon himself to change up the script by eliminating almost all of John Wick’s dialog. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Reeves nixed almost all of the dialog written for his character in the original script, leaving him with only 380 words spoken throughout the film.
Keanu Reeves reprised his role as the titular assassin in John Wick 4, but even though he’s the lead, it doesn’t mean he has the most lines. In fact, John Wick barely speaks at all throughout the entire film. The WSJ took it upon themselves to count up every word John Wick says in the movie, and it’s honestly way less than you’d expect.
The fourth installment of the John Wick franchise is almost three hours long, clocking in at a jarring 169 minutes, which is almost three hours long. In a movie that is just a half-hour shorter than the famously long Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Keanu Reeves only utters a total of 380 words throughout the film’s entire run time. That’s an average of just over two words per minute.
According to the report, most of Keanu Reeves’ dialog consists of one-word responses, like “Yeah.” While John Wick has never been much of a talker (the first movie was 101 minutes long, and John Wick spoke 484 words total, averaging almost five words per minute), this fourth installment pushes Wick’s quiet tendencies about as far as they can go.
The report calculated how much Keanu Reeves says during the movie versus in the trailer for the movie, and it turns out that about 10 percent of all of John Wick’s lines are in the trailer, making the hero chattier in the two-and-a-half minute trailer than he is in the first half hour of the film. The WSJ report points out that the most extended line of dialog that Reeves says is a 14-word phrase in a scene with co-star Hiroyuki Sanada (who plays Shimazu Koji) where Wick says, “You and I left a good life behind a long time ago, my friend.”
While the writing credits for John Wick 4 go to Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, it apparently wasn’t their idea to have John Wick be a man of few words. According to the film’s director, Chad Stahelski, Keanu Reeves was originally presented with a script with roughly double the amount of dialog that was eventually recorded, and it was the Matrix actor’s idea to cut the majority of it out.
While it’s unclear how the writers for the film feel that Keanu Reeves axed about half of their script, the move has clearly been effective. John Wick 4 hit theaters last Friday and has already smashed multiple records and crushed the film’s goal of bringing in $70 million on opening weekend (actually cashing in $73.5 mil).