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Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre hosted the Los Angeles premiere of Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 on Monday night and while the festivities had the requisite red carpet, cast, filmmakers and media in place, the focus fell on the missing member of the John Wick family: Lance Reddick.
The beloved actor, who reprises his role as hotel concierge Charon in the Chad Stahelski-directed film, died suddenly on Friday at age 60, and Reddick was on the hearts and minds of the creative talent as they made their way down the press line wearing blue ribbons in his honor.
The screening began with a standing ovation for Reddick, led by Lionsgate film boss, Joe Drake, who said, “There have been a lot of tears. There have been a lot of moments of quiet reflection. Tonight what I would like you to do, however, is make a loud, honoring, grateful applause for a man who was an absolutely extraordinary human being, extraordinary actor and a big part of this franchise.”
Speaking with THR moments earlier on the carpet, star Keanu Reeves choked back emotion while recalling his co-star: “Every time you were in his presence, he was such a special person, special artist, and he had a grace and dignity, and a passion for life and his craft. Just to be in his light and to be in his presence and get a chance to work with him, every day was special.”
The film is dedicated in Reddick’s honor. Stahelski recalled that the actor was among the first people they cast in the original 2014 film, back when he and creative partner David Leitch were first-time helmers after a career in stunts.
“Lance walked in the first day in the suit, and we stood up and we were like, ‘OK, take one,’ and it was good; take two and he was like, ‘What can I do better?’ And we were like, ‘Lance, we really don’t know what we’re doing, but please help us,” said Stahelski. “He just mentored us through the first day of shooting with him. He was so kind, so generous, and we still joke about it today. He’s always been the most collaborative, most positive guy I’ve ever met.”
Leitch recalled that Reddick had plenty of ideas and insights for character, dating back to that first film. “As a filmmaker you look for artists that are going to be great collaborators, and he was the epitome of that,” said Leitch. “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.”
An emotional Laurence Fishburne called Reddick “the heart of these movies in many ways.” Added the actor, “We lost our brother. But we made a beautiful movie, 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? He wouldn’t want us to not do this.”
Ian McShane, who worked closely with Reddick on the films as hotelier Winston, called him a “great colleague, great actor and most of all, a great human being.” Among his prized memories was working on a backstory for the two characters about their decades-long friendship, some of which made it into the latest movie.
Reddick was a prolific actor known for work across film and television with credits on such projects as The Wire, Bosch, Fringe, Lost, Oz, Castlevania, One Night in Miami, Godzilla vs. Kong and more. Reddick had several other projects on the horizon, including the John Wick spinoff Ballerina, the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the 20th Century remake of White Men Can’t Jump and Shirley, the John Ridley-directed biopic about U.S. congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
John Wick: Chapter 4 hits theaters on Friday. On the heels of his passing, Stahelski and Reeves said Friday they were “deeply saddened and heartbroken” by Reddick’s death. “He was the consummate professional and a joy to work with,” they said, offering love and prayers to his wife Stephanie, his children, family and friends. They dedicated the film to “his loving memory.”
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