‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ Director Says Keanu Reeves Wants Character to Suffer

“If you choose that kind of lifestyle, you’re going to be pretty beat up.”

Keanu Reeves in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3’

With the release of a mysterious new image from John Wick: Chapter 3, director Chad Stahelski also revealed a deeper level to Wick’s entire story arc across the trilogy.

The tale of the most badass doggo dad in history is based in part on classical myth. No, seriously.


Quoted in USA Today, Stahelski made it clear one reason audiences feel so much empathy for a man who has killed hundreds before their eyes is pretty fundamental, and completely intentional on his part.

“I’m a big fan of Joseph Campbell’s mythologies of the hero and what he would have defined as the theater of pain,” Stahelski reportedly said, “or sometimes we call it ‘The Die Hard Conundrum’: We just to like to beat the (stuffing) out of our heroes.” 

Reeves and Halle Berry

It’s a good bet he didn’t say “stuffing,” but USA Today is a family paper. 

Anyway, Stahelski concluded, “If you choose that kind of lifestyle, you’re going to be pretty beat up. So we like John Wick to suffer and think Keanu loves for John Wick to suffer, too.”

Wick certainly does suffer, as he’s more beaten and hobbled in each movie, so far. That said, as numerous kill counters have proven, and as Stahelski admitted about the upcoming third film, the assassin brings a hell of a lot more pain to others than he experiences himself—though they don’t experience that pain for long. 

We’ll find out just how much more suffering Wick has to endure when John Wick: Chapter 3 (a.k.a. John Wick: Parabellum) is released on May 17.