LOS ANGELES -- Keanu Reeves was honest when asked why he chose to star in 2014's John Wick after a relatively quiet decade as a movie star.
Reeves said he'd made movies, "I just hadn't made a lot of movies that you have seen."
Following the Matrix films and Something's Gotta Give (2003), Reeves was one of the biggest stars in the world, but then came a series of indies, offbeat choices and flops that lowered his profile.
The original John Wick fell into these categories, grossing only $14 million its opening weekend and ending up with $43 million during its domestic run.
But while the film didn't earn "Matrix" millions, it wasn't a bomb as word of mouth was incredible. So were DVD sales -- so much so that the character got a sequel (John Wick: Chapter 2, out Friday), his own comic book and a third film has already been green lighted.
So what made Wick appeal to Reeves?
"I think I speak for everyone (involved) in the sense that you hope to do good work in good works." Reeves said at a recent press event. " You hope they have a chance to be seen and hopefully responded to.
"For me, specifically to John Wick, its really cool ... to be part of a film that has so much affection for it. It's rare -- well maybe it's not rare for you guys ( his costars), but for me, I guess it's really rare - and really cool."
Reeves' rival -- and frequent sparring partner in the film -- is Cassian, played by Common, who agrees that the property is special -- and that he wanted to make the fight scenes spectacular.
"When I saw the first John Wick it was just very special to me," Common said. "It was just like what I totally enjoy about films and watching movies."
"As far as the training goes ... knowing I was going to have an opportunity to be part of this world and work with Keanu and [director Chad Stahelski]...people at the highest level ... I said, 'Man, I want to be a great action artist, you know? I really want to deliver!' I want to be one of the greats on screen, as both an actor and a fighter," he exclaimed.
"I just learned so much," Common continued. "It was so much work, but I wanted them to know I was committed! I was going to give my heart and soul to this..and Keanu, seeing how he would come in every day (and) doing all these different scenes and the fight coordination -- and just seeing him give 110% - I love that! Its like a perfectionist that's in me that Keanu has, if we didn't end it on the right note, we would do it until we got the flavor right and that was joyous!
"You train and prepare, but when you get in there and get present and be in the moment, it was a wonderful experience for me," Common concluded.
As far as the extraordinary action scenes in the films, Reeves wants to make it clear that he is not as impressive a fighter in treal life.
"I don't know about real jui-jitsu or judo," he laughs. "I do movie kung-fu. But even that, you can fake a punch, but you can't really fake a judo throw. You can get help from the person you're throwing, because they can kind of launch themselves -- thank you, Common -- and then, you know, Common got real good at throwing people at me. In the real world, I can't do any of that."
Common feels Reeves is being modest.
"As far as I'm concerned, in the real world, I feel like the can kick ass," he said. "I definitely know he's the warrior in real life that we see him as John Wick on the screen."
It was the eye-popping, realistic actions sequences that caused Reeves' Matrix costar, Laurence Fishburne, to be a part of John Wick's world.
"You came up to the house", Fishburne said to Reeves. " You were training for this..and I said, 'Dude! John Wick! It was sick! You gotta put me down!"
Since everyone involved wanted Fishburne, the deal was quickly made for him to appear in the sequel ... and beyond?
"Big moments in No. 3 coming up!" exclaimed Stahelski.