Keanu Reeves back for more action in John Wick: Chapter 2
Keanu Reeves says preparation for John Wick: Chapter 2 was far more intense than the first film
The surprise 2014 hit John Wick brought Keanu Reeves, 52, back to the movies in uber action gongfu mode.
With John Wick: Chapter 2 opening tomorrow, it amps up the action and body count.
Reeves' titular hitman is the kind of hero who dispatches scores of bad guys in a flurry, then limps into the next scene without a scratch, blood artfully smeared on his forehead.
I cannot wait for the next one, which is nicely set up in this sequel, which sees Wick pulled out of retirement to honour a blood debt from a gangster (played by Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio).
US rapper-actor Common plays the bodyguard of a woman Wick kills and is the second-best thing in the film next to Reeves.
Chapter 2 is directed again by Chad Stahelski, who was Reeves' stunt double in the 1999 sci-fi megahit The Matrix.
Reeves thawed from his initial chilliness when he seemed to recall the purpose of our interview at the London West Hollywood hotel in Beverly Hills.
We talked about a scene shot in a hall of mirrors.
Said Reeves: "They built a mirror room. There were different kinds of environments, tunnels, wide rooms, revolving doors. The director was interested in reflections and the colour palette, which he thought would have a direct connection to the content of the story."
Wick does not have much of a back story. A deliberate move, said Reeves.
"We were really interested in moving forward and keeping the mystery about him."
Training was similar to that of the first film, but more intense.
"I still did judo and jujitsu and still trained in the car, and I did different kinds of training with the weapons. But because I had gone through the process the first time, in the second film I was better at it. So I could go to another level," said Reeves.
Chapter 3 is dependent on the box-office performance, said Reeves.
He said: "From my point of view, everyone involved would love to be able to continue the story. I love the character and the world, and I want to live in that world and play that character. I want to know what happens to John Wick, and I am rooting for the guy.
"It is up to the audience."
What about a love interest the next time around?
"That has been spoken about. It is fun to think about the possibilities... As the director says, there are no rules with rules."
The night shoots in Rome, Italy, were particularly enjoyable.
Said Reeves: "Roma, bella Roma (Italian for Rome, beautiful Rome)! It is a beautiful city. We filmed in a modern art museum and in the Baths of Caracalla. It was extraordinary.
"It was cool to go home in the morning with the pigeons and the streets empty. It was January, so Rome wasn't overrun by strangers. I got to really experience the city a little more quiet, a little more tranquillo (Italian for tranquil)."
How does the US-Canadian actor stay in such good shape?
"I get out of the shower, I moisturise - a little face cream, a little body cream - call it a day," he said with a laugh.
"I like to eat, I like to drink, but you can't do it all the time. I have a wonderful trainer whom I have worked with for decades and so I jump into that. But that is pretty much it."
Reeves is not much of a cook though.
"I am confident in the kitchen - eating. If I am a guest, I would be happy to help you with the dishes, and I am a good guest in terms of enjoying a meal. I can make coffee," he said.
Another of Reeves' passions is motorcycles, so much so that he started a company called Arch Motorcycle.
"We make custom production performance cruisers," he said.
"It is a motorcycle experience that you can't get anywhere else. We make one model, but each motorcycle is customised to the customer. The length of your arms, your riding style, height and foot position, and controls.
"We fit a motorcycle to you and no one will have your motorcycle. I find motorcycles beautiful. But it ain't cheap."
Reeves has never married and has no children, but "it is always on the list".
"There is a to-do list and a hope-for list," he said with a laugh. "Hopefully, I will get lucky."