The return of ‘John Wick’ men
by Janet Nepales
"Going to the Philippines and living there for two years as a boy changed my life." – Laurence Fishburne
Los Angeles – Three years since the original “John Wick” film was shown, we talked to the stars of the action thriller “John Wick: Chapter 2,” the sequel.
Directed by Chad Stahelski, the sequel is about Wick being forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of an international assassins’ guild.
Keanu Reeves, who stars as the ex-hitman Jonathan “John” Wick, looks boyish and younger than his 52 years. Laurence Fishburne, 55, who portrays the ruthless crime lord, The Bowery King, reminisces of his life-changing experience in the Philippines. And Common, the rapper who was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., 44, talks about how he got his stage name Common and what he would teach his 19-year-old daughter.
Animated and open during our interview, we asked Keanu to talk about love.
“I think to receive love and to give love is really the nourishment in our lives right? And not only beyond our nourishment, it is also attached to what we hope for and what we search for. Certainly through the journey of life, that story of love changes, grows, ends, and continues. It’s not just a partner, it’s also with your friendships, with your family. Love is a force and it takes on different colors and takes on different responsibilities, commitment to the other. So without it, it’s like not having any water for the vine. We become extinct, we die.
“It can transcend one-to-one, also for yourself and to another, and that can come into a community. Communities can share love. That is support, affection, opportunity. That can become interpersonal and that can become part of a group. From a story telling point of view, it’s one of the things in our lives.”
As for where he is right now in love, Keanu answered, “Well in the 984,000 versions of love, I have got a few thousand of them. But yeah, I am going to go super traditional. I am not married. I don’t have children, so maybe that is something that I can respond to. Hopefully, I get lucky.”
Laurence Fishburne revealed to us that one of his life-changing experiences was when he went to the Philippines to do “Apocalypse Now.” He recalled, “I was so young and I had never been out of the country before like I had been to South America and I had been to the Caribbean. But going to the Philippines and living there for two years as a boy changed my life.”
Asked how so, Laurence disclosed, “It changed me in every sense in that first and foremost there is an awareness that you have as a black American certainly when I was growing up that you are in the minority and in the Philippines. I was no longer a minority because everybody is either yellow or brown so that does something to you. That changes you so there’s that and then there was also the fact that before I left to go to the Philippines I didn’t know that I was an American. I didn’t even know what that was. I thought I was a black kid from Brooklyn. When I got to the Philippines, I was told that I was an American and that was very different so that’s how.”
Laurence, who was credited as Larry Fishburne in “Apocalypse Now,” was only 14 years old when shooting began in March 1976, and he lied about his age in order to get cast in his role. The movie took so long to finish that Laurence was 17 (the same age as his character Tyrone Miller, the cocky South Bronx-born crew member) by the time of its release.
Since he has been in the industry for 44 years now, what does he miss from the old days, we asked Laurence.
“I miss the fact that we don’t make it by hand anymore. I miss the fact that film is not made on film anymore that it’s digital. It used to be handmade. I love that about it, even like the editing process I miss that about it.”
As for what he appreciates these days, he says, “I appreciate this golden age that we’re in, this almost second golden age of television with the fact that the television landscape is so rich and so diverse like there’s so much material and you can access it very quickly and you can watch it. They are like long form movies and I am enjoying that. From ‘Game of Thrones’ to ‘Westworld’ to ‘Sopranos’ to ‘Dexter.’”
Common, on the other hand, told us how he got the name Common. “Initially I originally had the name Common Sense. That was the name I chose, Common Sense. And my mother used to always say, use your common sense when I’d do something crazy. So that’s where I came up with that name. It was like an everyday thing for me.
“But three years into my career of releasing records, there was a group out here in California that had the name Common Sense. And they would do shows but people would show up and think that I was going to be there. So that kind of like messed up their thing for a little bit. They filed a lawsuit against me. At the time, I didn’t have really great legal representation. So I ended up having to shorten my name to Common. I was really pissed off initially but now it’s like, I feel like I represent the everyday person. So Common is befitting.”
Father to Omoye Assata Lynn, 19, Common shares with us what he is trying to teach his daughter. “One of the biggest things I try to teach my daughter is self-respect, honesty, hard work, reaching your goals, and that when you fall you still can get up. You’re still like, things are not going to be easy. All your professors are not going to be like, egging you on and supportive of you. Because she’s called me before and man, she’s making it hard on me. Well, that’s what happens. Everybody’s not going to be like, yes you can do it or make it easy for you. So I just try to teach her the values of life that I’ve experienced or that I was taught and now have experienced in life that have benefitted me. Those definitely are dealing with self-respect and dignity, being honest.
“I’ve grown to be more honest than I’ve ever been in my life. I know how far it goes. Just like loving yourself, I really emphasize that because she’s a young lady, men flirting with her trying to do different things. You got to love yourself to know the value of yourself.”