Keanu Reeves learned and memorized the nightclub fight sequence the day that the scene was filmed.
According to the directors' commentary, when they shot the top-level nightclub fight sequence, Keanu Reeves had the flu, and was running a 104° Fahrenheit fever.
Bacon grease was placed on Keanu Reeves' face to attract his dog to jump on him when he wakes up in bed.
Michael Nyqvist cut his entire head open during a shooting of a scene with a stuntman, leaving his ear resting on his right shoulder. This resulted in eighty stitches. Some of the last scenes had to be re-done to hide Nyqvist's scar.
In the original script, the character of John Wick was written with "a man in his mid-sixties" to play the role, given the title character's fabled reputation, ergo, the filmmakers had initially imagined an older actor. However, head of Thunder Road Pictures, Basil Iwanyk, decided against this, stating, "Instead, we decided to look for someone who is not literally older, but who has a seasoned history in the film world."
The security guard who waves Wick onto the airport runway is reading the 1970s thriller novel "Shibumi" by Rod Whitaker, under the pen name Trevanian, also about a retired master assassin dragged back into the game. The story Viggo tells about how Wick once killed three men "with a pencil" is describing a crucial scene from the same novel.
The tattoo shown on Wick's back during the shower scene is the Latin phrase "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat", which literally translates to Fortune Favors the Strong. This is used as the motto of several military units over the world.
The story is loosely inspired by an incident in Texas involving former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who wrote Lone Survivor, about his fireteam's ordeal during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in 2005. Luttrell was given a yellow labrador puppy, whom he named DASY, after the members of his fireteam. On April 1, 2009, at about 1:00 a.m., Luttrell was awakened by a gunshot, and saw four men drive away. DASY was dead in his yard from a gunshot wound. He armed himself with two 9mm Beretta pistols and chased the men through four counties in his truck until police apprehended them. They taunted Luttrell, threatened to kill him, and indicated no remorse for their actions. They were later sentenced for animal cruelty. Luttrell stated later, "I spared them, because I've killed enough people already."
John Wick is referred to as the one who you send to kill "Baba Yaga". In Slavic lore, Baba Yaga is usually portrayed as a witch that lives in a house standing on chicken legs. She is often portrayed in a scary way, but tends to act more like a trickster. Even so, she has been known to be helpful to those who are pure of heart.
The dog that John Wick owns in the movie was (played by) a beagle pup named Andy. The dog was eight weeks old when the movie was made.
Keanu Reeves' preparation for the role included weapons and martial arts training (eight hours per day for four months).
John Wick smoothly transitions between several shooting styles depending on the situation. During close-quarters battles and while moving through tight hallways, he employs a Center Axis Relock stance. When moving and shooting at longer ranges, he changes into more traditional Weaver and Isosceles stances.
During the safe house scene, the character's user name displayed in the top right is "Neo". This is a reference to Keanu Reeves' character in The Matrix trilogy.
Chad Stahelski is the credited Director, and David Leitch is credited as a Producer. This due to DGA regulations allowing for only one director to be credited, unless unusual exceptions are made. No exception was granted in this case, even though the two produced and directed this film together as a team. Stahelski voluntarily took no producer credit.
One of Michael Nyqvist's final acting roles before his death on June 27, 2017. (Age 56).
The building facade used for the Continental sanctuary is the same one used in The Dark Knight Rises(2012) , stock exchange scene.
The film reunites Keanu Reeves, Daniel Bernhardt, and Randall Duk Kim, along with producers-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, all of whom were involved in The Matrix Trilogy.
The Red Circle Bar is a clear allusion to one of the main influences for this film: Le Cercle Rouge (1970).
According to a directors' interview, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch re-used quite a few of the stunt men several times throughout the film. In order to make them look like different people, they would change their hair. So scenes of the guards and henchmen with long hair and beards were shot first, and the scenes with bald men were most likely shot last.
Derek Kolstad's grandfather, 88-year-old John Wick, served as an inspiration for the movie's title and character name.
When John Wick awakens to the Russians in his home, the scene mirrors a similar incident that happened to Keanu Reeves in 2014 (the same year the movie was released), where Reeves awoke to a stalker that had broken into his home. Reeves calmly talked to the stalker, then called the police at the first opportunity he had, and the stalker was then arrested soon after.
The character of John Wick is a playable character in the video-game Payday 2 (2013). He was added to the game two days before the movie's wide release.
Derek Kolstad had no actors in mind when "John Wick" was a speculative script. The writer only had non-living action stars in mind before it was produced.
Lance Reddick plays the Hotel Manager, whose name is Charon. In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of Hades. you have to pay Charon for safe passage. Hence why Lance Reddick puts the gold coin in his pocket at the hotel. John in a sense is paying for safe passage.
American muscle cars in movie are 1969 Mustang GT with a 390 ci engine (mistaken for a 429 Boss Mustang), a 1970 SS 454 LS6 Chevelle, a 2011 Dodge Charger LD, and the 1968 Dodge Charger in Aurelio's Garage.
The pistol John Wick primarily used in the beginning of the film is a Heckler & Koch P30L with a customized suppressor and compensator.
Paying homage to Keanu Reeves' history of saying "Whoa" in films, many of this film's characters say "Oh" in a similar way whenever John Wick's name is mentioned. However, the directors deliberately avoided having Keanu's character saying it.
The Russian Mob boss' house and pool scene (shown approximately twenty minutes into the movie) was shot on the top of the James Hotel in New York City.
The Red Circle is actually the New York County Surrogate Court building. The New York Citywide Administration building can be seen in the background as well. Both of these buildings are just past the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan.
The logo with the two arrows seen on the van from the cleaning team is the symbol for the German recycling system called "Green Dot" (Grüner Punkt).
The building to which John Wick pulls up in the SS Chevelle after Marcus is seen assembling his weapon is the Beaver Building, also known as the Cocoa Exchange. It's located at 1 Wall Street Court in New York City.
John Wick's watch, seen in the Red Circle changing room scene when he drowns his adversary, is a Carl F. Bucherer Manero Autodate, retailing for $3495.
The book on the coffee table is a monography of Álvaro Siza Vieira, a Portuguese architect, considered to be one of the best in the world.
Randall Duk Kim (the Continental doctor) also appeared with Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded (2003) as the Keymaker.
Daniel Bernhardt played an Agent in The Matrix Reloaded (2003). He fought Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) on top of the truck-trailer, during the highway chase.
The Continental's rules of not doing business are not unlike Constantine (2005)'s Papa Midnite's rule of neutrality in his club, making this the second Keanu Reeves movie to feature a neutral club.
Daniel Bernhardt, who was also in The Matrix Reloaded (2003), studied martial arts before becoming an actor, which is the opposite of most actors who had to learn some martial arts to depict fight scenes in movies. Daniel Bernhardt's Agent character fought Morpheus on top of the moving eighteen-wheeler in The Matrix Reloaded (2003).
During the Dust 514 (2013) scene, the mobster can be seen shooting an enemy with the name "Point Break".
When John Wick goes to see Aurelio (John Leguizamo's character) at the garage, John hasn't shown yet how dangerous he is. However, it is in a way foreshadowed when Aurelio offers him a drink of a liquor called "Peligroso", which is Spanish for "Dangerous".
The video game Gregori is playing at the safe house is Dust 514 (2013), a First Person Shooter (FPS) and strategy experience set within the EVE Online universe. Developed by CCP.
Lance Reddick plays a character named Charon in this movie. In American Horror Story (2011) he played Papa Legba. Legba and Charon are both considered 'Psychopomps', or deities that govern the borders between the living and the dead.
Not only Randall Duk Kim and Daniel Bernhardt are reunited with Keanu Reeves from The Matrix franchise, Marilyn Manson is in John Wick's Soundtrack.
Kevin Nash plays a large Russian henchman. He also played one in The Punisher (2004), though in that film his lines were cut in post-production.
Second movie in which Keanu Reeves drives a black Dodge Charger, the first being Street Kings (2008).
John Wick's Mustang is wrongly identified as a "'69 Boss 429". The error is common for those not knowing the history of the car, as the Boss 429 had three telltale differences from its Mach 1 and GT models. The Boss 429 was a "ram air" model with a huge hood scoop while the others would have the famous "shaker" hood scoop, which meant the motor could be a 351 (Cleveland or Windsor), 390, and lastly the monster 428ci. The Boss has a clear identifying "Boss 429" on the both fenders, and lastly it had the regular Mustang gas cap , not the flip GT/Mach 1. These are just the outside cosmetics, under the hood the 429 would have the spark plugs in the middle of the valve covers as it was the Ford "HEMI " motor to compete against Chrysler's HEMI in NASCAR. The other would be no AC unit as the Boss 429 took up the entire engine compartment and had to have a different front end, wheel wells and such to accommodate the extra size and power.
The church organ is playing Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." The use of this song may be an allusion to its context in A Clockwork Orange (1971), or perhaps Die Hard (1988).
John Woo's The Killer (1989) was cited as an influence on the film. Nearly two decades earlier, Keanu Reeves had received a $7 million offer to star in a proposed English-language remake.
This movie reunites two actors from the television series The Wire (2002). Although they do not share screentime, Lance Reddick and Clarke Peters appear in the Continental. Additionally, the two have also appeared together with Dean Winters (who plays Avi), in the HBO series, Oz (1997). Dean Winters and Lance Reddick shared scenes together, while Clarke Peters had a guest role in a couple of episodes, that were also shared with Winters.
Although this is the first time that Keanu Reeves and Willem Dafoe have acted together on film, both were in the Speed franchise: Reeves was in Speed (1994), and Dafoe was in Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997).
Chad Stahelski cited The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Point Blank (1967), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and The Killer (1989) as influences for the film.
Tony Leonard Moore said that his character was originally going to be drowned face down in a toilet. But given how complicated it would be to shoot around the toilet with a camera, they changed it to the sink. Moore said that he had lightly concussed his head off the marble sink. But given he had another scene to shoot that day, he followed through.
The surname Wick is also the surname to the character Steve Austin plays in The Package (2013) - Tommy Wick. Both movies were written by Derek Kolstad.
This is not the first time Keanu Reeves has driven a classic Mustang for a film. In Point Break (1991), Reeves gets behind the wheel of a 1970 Mustang Mach 1, a very similar model to his John Wick Mustang.
Bridget Regan, who played Addy the bartender at the Continental, played The Confessor in Legend of the Seeker (2008).
This movie reunites three actors from the HBO television series Oz (1997). Although they do not share screentime, Lance Reddick, Clarke Peters, and Dean Winters appear in the movie.
John Wick is a dog lover. Keanu Reeves played a deformed character called "Ortiz the Dog Boy" in Freaked (1993)). Ortiz was a mutant character crossed between a human and a dog.
Alfie Allen, Ian McShane, and Bridget Regan have starred in television series based on fantasy novels. Allen and McShane in Game of Thrones (2011), based on the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books by George R.R. Martin, and Regan in Legend of the Seeker (2008), based on the "Sword of Truth" books by Terry Goodkind.