Keanu Reeves is "one of the best actor-drivers in the business.”
Baby Driver is being billed as a throwback to classic car chase movies, but it wasn’t the only film in 2017 that delivered some pulse-pounding automotive action. Released earlier this year, John Wick: Chapter 2 opened with Keanu Reeves reducing a Ford Mustang to a mangled wreck in an action-packed scene set in a warehouse, using the muscle car’s heft as a weapon to smash into cars and take out assassins. Stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott sat down with Variety to break down the film’s opening action scene.
It’s a fascinating insight into the meticulous planning that goes into filming a movie car chase. Turns out Tom Cruise isn’t the only actor capable of doing his own stunts behind the wheel. Those shots of the Mustang ramming into cars as the chase turns into a demolition derby? Most of those were done by Reeves. Prescott described Reeves as "one of the best actor-drivers in the business.”
In one in-car shot, Prescott explained that you can see Reeves purposely didn’t have his thumbs wrapped around the steering wheel rim on impact. Apparently, this is an old stuntman trick to avoid breaking them. As for the fancy tail-slides, those were handled by stunt driver Jeremy Fry who also showed off his driving skills in Baby Driver. In one standout stunt, Fry performed a “flying drift,” sending the Mustang sideways as it jumped out of the warehouse. The ambitious scene took seven or eight takes to get right. In the first take, one of the Mustangs was crushed when the driver mistimed the stunt and clipped the side of the warehouse. Sadly, all five Mustangs used for the film were wrecked.