“He didn’t want to do violence”: Keanu Reeves Turned Down Oliver Stone for the Wildest Reason Despite Having 439 Kills as John Wick

Oliver Stone’s Platoon was rejected by Keanu Reeves, despite the actor having starred in multiple well-received action flicks.


The silver screen is often dominated by action, and one actor who has consistently stood out in such roles is Keanu Reeves. However, despite his propensity toward choosing banging roles, there was one Academy Award-winning flick that he surprisingly turned down—the 1986 war film Platoon. But it was more shocking to know that he refused to star in Oliver Stone’s directed film because the actor did not want to “do violence”. This decision may appear diametrically opposed to a man known for his staggering on-screen kill total of 439 while donning the role of John Wick.

Having contributed to successful films like The Matrix, John Wick, and Speed, Reeves is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His resume would have been greatly enhanced by starring in the $138 million movie. Despite having a meager $6 million budget, the movie was a huge hit with critics and has an 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick

This is Why Keanu Reeves Turned Down Oliver Stone’s Platoon

The first installment of director Oliver Stone’s three-part film trilogy, Platoon, told the tales and horrors of the Vietnam War. The Orion Pictures film was based on the director’s own experiences as a US infantryman during that era. Highly acclaimed for its realistic combat scenes and riveting acting, the Charlie Sheen starrer film won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

But Stone previously disclosed to Entertainment Weekly that Sheen was not his first pick for the lead role of Chris Taylor. Indeed, Keanu Reeves, the popular actor and sweetheart of Tinseltown, was originally offered the role but ultimately declined it to play the lead in the critically acclaimed film. The director, 77, stated:

“Keanu turned it down because of the violence. He didn’t want to do violence.” 

Charlie Sheen in Platoon

However, Sheen ended up getting the part in the end, and Stone explained that the actor was the best choice for the role. The Salvador director added:

“Charlie was a dumb-struck 17-year-old the first time he came in for the film, back when we were going to make it in ’84. And in those two years, he’d grown and seemed perfectly wide-eyed and had a vaguely privileged look.”

Looking back, it is a little ironic that Reeves avoided violent roles in his early career. The actor has since acted in a number of R-rated films, including Johnny Mnemonic and Point Break. Let us not forget that he also starred in the action-packed and critically acclaimed John Wick franchise.

How Many People Did Keanu Reeves’ John Wick Kill in All Four Films?

Keanu Reeves as John Wick

According to GeekTyrant, the first movie in the John Wick franchise features 77 deaths at the hands of characters; in John Wick: Chapter 2, that number rises to 128. In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, we find John fleeing and having only 94 kills to his credit. It is still a little shocking to learn that the protagonist killed 128 people by himself in a single movie, bringing the total number of deaths in the first three John Wick movies to 299.

The number of kills rose even higher in John Wick: Chapter 4. The fourth movie features John killing nearly 140 enemies by himself. He went through several noteworthy events in this movie, and the kill total increased at an almost unusual rate, culminating in 439 kills overall across the four films.

With a combined global box office receipt of over $1 billion, the films have won praise from critics. Ballerina, the second spin-off of the John Wick series, directed by Len Wiseman, is slated for release on June 7, 2024.

Platoon is streaming on Max, while John Wick can be watched on Netflix.

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