Keanu Reeves

John Wick Movies Have Lots Of Wide Shots To Show Keanu Reeves In Action

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen reveals the reason there are so many wide shots in the John Wick films is so audiences can see Keanu Reeves in action.

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen has recently revealed that the reason there are so many wide shots in the John Wick films is so audiences can see Keanu Reeves in action. Laustsen, who was the Oscar-nominated cinematographer for The Shape of Water, is no stranger to the John Wick series, having served as the cinematographer on both the second and third films. Currently, Laustsen is working on the fourth installment in the series, simply titled, John Wick: Chapter 4.

The John Wick films are, of course, famous for their massive action sequences. The series follows John Wick (Reeves), an ex-hitman, as he takes down various villains in the criminal underworld throughout the films. The films’ action sequences are certainly heightened by the fact that the series thus far has been helmed by director Chad Stahelski, who had an extensive background in stunt work before taking the director’s chair.

In a recent article with Collider, Laustsen revealed that the decision was made in collaboration with director Stahelski to shoot many of the John Wick action sequences in wide shots. According to Laustsen, this was because Stahelski wanted to give Reeves “the space to do what Keanu had to do.” Laustsen went on to state that he would only cut in for close-ups “super fast” as Reeves is “running out of speed,” because he “isn’t a stunt guy.” See his full quote below:

“But he wants to do that. He wants to shoot wide so Keanu could do what Keanu has to do. And then getting into the closeups for whatever reason, super fast, because Keanu is running out of speed of course because, you know, he’s not a stunt guy.”

Laustsen also revealed that color is very important to Stahelski. Reportedly, Stahelski was impressed by the color palette used by Laustsen in Guillermo del Toro’s film, Crimson Peak, and used it to help inspire the look of the John Wick series. These two distinct characteristics are evident throughout the action series. The “Pencil Kill” scene in John Wick: Chapter 2 is a perfect example of this.

There is no doubt that the work of Laustsen has been a massive factor in the success of the John Wick sequels. Today, many action sequences are heightened by editing that is so fast that audiences struggle to follow the events of the scene. It is refreshing to see a series that manages to bring the same intensity to its action scenes without losing its audience along the way. The impressive visuals are definitely a significant reason why the series continues to draw audiences to theaters after three installments. It only seems unfortunate that fans will have to wait until 2023 to find out what happens next when the next film in the John Wick franchise is released.

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