Keanu Reeves Made An Absurd Amount of Money Per Word for ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’
In my (extremely positive) review of John Wick: Chapter 4, I noted that “even though Chapter 4 is the longest John Wick by far, [Keanu] Reeves might actually have fewer lines in it than in any of the previous films.” Indeed, John Wick: Chapter 4 runs some 169 minutes; about 40 minutes longer than John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, and over a full hour longer than the original John Wick.
Now I did not sit there and count how many times John Wick spoke in the film; I was too distracted by the orgy of deranged action for something as tedious as that. But according to one viewer, Reeves says just 380 words in the movie. (That’s 380 words, not 380 individual lines of dialogue.) And if that number is accurate, and Reeves’ reported salary of $15 million for the film is also accurate, then that means he was paid $39,473 per word.
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Now, that seems like a ridiculous amount of money to pay someone per word. But, as I also noted in my review, John Wick is “a man of few words and many bullets.” He’s too busy driving muscle cars through Paris, jumping out of third-story windows, smacking guys with nunchucks, and blasting baddies with a fire-breathing shotgun to engage in lengthy discourses about the nature of life or the search for meaning in the universe. If you counted the number of bullets John Wick fired, and then calculated Reeves’ salary on a per-bullet basis, it would probably look like a much more reasonable rate.
Either way, Keanu was worth every penny. No one in Hollywood commits harder to action roles than he does. John Wick: Chapter 4 is now playing in theaters everywhere. And if they make John Wick: Chapter 5, and Reeves makes $15 million for that one and says 200 words in total, it will still be a bargain.