John Wick action franchise is well-known for its moments of unflinching violence – after all, this is a film series about a retired assassin who comes back out of retirement on a quest for revenge.
But screenwriter Derek Kolstad has revealed that the directors of John Wick: Chapter 1, which introduces Keanu Reeves as John Wick, had to fight hard to keep one very uncomfortable, but necessary scene, in the film.
Everyone who's seen the movie will remember the horrific scene in which mobsters break into John's house, beat him and kill his beloved pet dog Daisy, who was a final gift from John's late wife. Although it's undeniably a hard watch, this moment is what sets the character off on his revenge journey, with his love for Daisy also showing that the ruthless character has a loving side.
Speaking to Comicbook.com Kolstad revealed that the film's directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch had to do battle with the studio over the scene, with some executives reportedly concerned about how audiences would react to the dog's death.
"I think that they wanted to do it right, and so there were elements where (the studio said), 'Let's cut the dog out. Let's just focus on it as an assassin coming out of retirement.' That kind of thing," he said.
"But without that dog connection and without that underlying soul and the heartbeat of that character, and also the levity it brings the character and the levity it brings the humor, it was key. At certain points, Chad and Dave, they fought for it, they got it and they were right. They continued to fight for the way they see certain stories playing out elsewhere."
According to Kolstad the studio remained resistant to the scene until the movie received its first test screenings, which proved to the directors and writers that they had made the right decision.
"There was this pushback and pushback from all different angles until that first screening," he said. "We were watching the audience. As soon as the dog died, and seeing their reaction and then seeing the siege in house, we were like, yep, we were right.
"But a lot of times, you go into these movies, after so much work behind the scenes, and people take it differently. You kind of have to roll with it. But this was one of those rare situations where we kind of fought with our gut and it turned out to be right."
So that scene may have been heartbreaking but it was the right thing for the franchise – and with a fourth instalment in the series due for release in 2022, the decision clearly paid off.
Digital Spy now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.
Looking for more TV recommendations and discussion? Head over to our Facebook Group to see new picks every day, and chat with other readers about what they're watching right now.
You Might Also Like