Keanu Reeves, ‘John Wick 4’ cast wear ribbons, add onscreen dedication to Lance Reddick at L.A. premiere
The spirit of late actor Lance Reddick was very much alive at the “John Wick: Chapter 4” premiere in Los Angeles on Monday, where a thundering standing ovation and a dedication in the onscreen credits paid tribute to the prolific performer.
Reddick, who died unexpectedly Friday at age 60, was honored by his co-stars and other attendees who affixed blue ribbons to their garments to commemorate him. Lead actor Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Shamier Anderson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama, Donnie Yen and director Chad Stahelski wore the ribbons on the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Opening the night with Reeves and Stahelski, Lionsgate chair Joe Drake called for a “loud, honoring, grateful applause” for Reddick, “an absolutely extraordinary human being, an extraordinary actor and a big part of this franchise.”
Cheers turned into a full-house standing ovation for the beloved character actor, who has portrayed hotel concierge Charon in the hit-man revenge franchise since 2014’s “John Wick.”
Lance Reddick, who died Friday, is remembered by ‘John Wick’ mates including Keanu Reeves for the ‘unparalleled depth’ he brought to his character, Charon.
Upon word of his death last Friday, Reeves and Stahelski dedicated the latest entry to their “beloved friend” and the “consummate professional,” acting swiftly to update the finished film with an “In memory of” credits tribute in time for the L.A. premiere. (The film opens in theaters this Friday.)
Pausing in the midst of a sprawling, neon-lit afterparty on Hollywood Boulevard., Stahelski said that he learned of Reddick’s passing Friday after arriving in Toronto for the film’s Canadian premiere. “You spend the whole day thinking about how much the guy meant to you and you realize that you were just grateful,” he told The Times.
Stahelski said Reddick was one of the first people that he and creative partner David Leitch cast in the original film and his wisdom guided the first-time directors, now two of Hollywood’s top action helmers.
“When someone’s both a mentor and they’re working for you, they’re teaching you as you learn,” he said. “I had him in my life for 10 years. That’s literally a gift. Lance was a great guy and a great human.”
Although “John Wick 4” had already screened in New York, Toronto and in Austin at SXSW, the decision was quickly made on Friday to update the finished film’s credits with a dedication card in time for the L.A. premiere.
“We were destroyed when it happened,” Stahelski said. “Then we went up to Keanu’s room and had a whole meeting and there was no talk, there was no decision — everybody just knew the right thing to do. When you have that many people who love someone, you just know.”
Monday night on the red carpet, Reeves described the memorable “Fringe” and “The Wire” actor as a “remarkable artist.”
“Lance was a beautiful person, a special artist [and] a man of grace and dignity [with] such a passion for his craft,” he told Deadline. “And to have had the chance to work with him over the 10 years and four films [in the franchise] is something that is very special to me.
“It f— sucks he’s not here.”
In a red-carpet interview with People, Reeves recalled his first meeting with the actor and an idea Reddick had for “the way that he wanted the character [Charon] to speak.”
“Just his enthusiasm and passion. And the way that he and I got to work and kind of speak the unspoken, that connection. It’s just really cool,” the 58-year-old star said. “The connection between John Wick and Charon was special. I always said to him that people liked John Wick because he liked John Wick.”
Lance Reddick, who graced TV screens as Cedric Daniels in ‘The Wire,’ has died of natural causes, a representative told The Times.
Reeves’ “Matrix” co-star Fishburne — who plays the crime lord known as the Bowery King in the “John Wick” universe — also fondly remembered Reddick.
“We love Lance. We miss Lance. I mean, he’s the heart of these movies in many ways. We lost our brother, but we made a beautiful movie and it’s the best of all of them. And I think people are going to love it and that’s what it’s about, right? At the end of the day, he wouldn’t want us to not do this,” Fishburne told the Hollywood Reporter.
“As a filmmaker you look for artists that are going to be great collaborators, and he was the epitome of that,” Leitch told THR. “Someone who came in to share ideas full-heartedly, and I just can’t say enough about him as a human being and as an artist.”
Lance Reddick was, at heart, the definition of a supporting actor, strengthening whatever show or movie he was in, including “John Wick,” “The Wire” and “Lost.”
Reddick reportedly skipped a New York screening for the movie last week, but in one of his final interviews he told E! News that the latest “John Wick” film surpasses its predecessors.
“I couldn’t believe that it was bigger than the last one,” he told the outlet on March 3. “I don’t know how you can have more action and better action, but we do. Also, the emotional stakes have been raised. I feel for the characters more than any other franchise.”
The “Bosch” actor also discussed his work on the film’s spinoff “Ballerina,” which also stars Reeves, Ian McShane and Ana de Armas, as well as his upcoming roles in the “White Men Can’t Jump” remake and Shirley Chisholm biopic “Shirley.” Reddick was set for several more projects before his death, including the Disney+ series adaptation of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and a handful of projects that featured his resonant voice.
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