News | “Dude that’s 4-5 Millions in free advertising”: Keanu Reeves’ Repeated Mistakes Forced John Wick Franchise Creator to Change His Movie’s Name
“Dude that’s 4-5 Millions in free advertising”: Keanu Reeves’ Repeated Mistakes Forced John Wick Franchise Creator to Change His Movie’s Name
Keanu Reeves is well known for his portrayal of his roles in Bill & Ted’s Adventure film Speed (as Jack Traven) and the science fiction-action trilogy The Matrix (as Neo).
But his portrayal of John Wick in the self-titled movie is mainly acknowledged and praised by all. It’s next to impossible to imagine someone else instead of Keanu Reeves as John Wick. The sheer thanks go to Reeves’ popularity because he’s the reason John Wick became one of the rare franchises that have gotten more successful with each installment.
Everything is just beyond perfect in the John Wick movies. But the movie we anticipate today would have almost been named “Scorn”. Yes right!
The franchise’s co-creator and screenwriter Derek Kolstad revealed that John Wick‘s movie names were initially given different titles. It was originally set to be called “Scorn,” but star Keanu Reeves kept getting the names wrongly, so the studio decided to go finally with – John Wick. Kolstad explained:
“The only reason it’s called John Wick is that Keanu kept referring to it as John Wick.”
The screenwriter went on to say:
“Marketing was like, ‘Dude, that’s four to five million dollars in free advertising so far, so it’s John Wick instead of Scorn’. I can’t imagine it being Scorn now.”
Scorn means open disrespect for someone. Now it’s unclear why the screenwriter Derek Kolstad chose such a name for the movie because John Wick suits more than was actually expected.
Kolstad, who moved from Madison to LA 15 years before selling his “Scorn” script, had been working towards his big break (since giving up a career in business administration). He always kept a sense of his past while writing screenplays, and that’s what he did while writing John Wick. As he mentioned:
“If you go back to any other specs [I’ve written], you’re gonna see all of the credited names on the posters for ‘Dirty Dozen,’ ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ ‘Ronin,’ because they were on my walls.”
Clearly, the “Scorn” was directly drawn from his own life. The writer shared that he named the main character after his own grandfather and the original John Wick was far from a skilled assassin. Wisconsin native John F. Wick, a businessman (and grandfather of Derek Kolstad) who established Wick Building Systems in Madison in 1955, expressed:
“I was tickled by Derek using my name for a movie, and the hitman character was frosting on the cake.”
Originally, John Wick was not expected to have his name everywhere. But thanks to Reeves, the businessman had his name featured in a movie and even became the title character.