Rina Sawayama Calls Working on ‘John Wick 4’ a ‘Dream Situation’: Keanu Reeves ‘Was So Sweet’

Rina Sawayama is gearing up to make her feature film debut in John Wick 4 this spring. Ahead of the release of the movie on May 27, the “Hold the Girl” singer sat down for an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday (March 15) to talk about how she was cast, what the stunt work was like and her experience working with Keanu Reeves.


“It was honestly like a Hollywood dream situation,” the pop star said of being cast as Akira Shimazu in the movie. “I’d been doing self tapes in the background for a couple years. I’ve never actually landed anything. I came very close, though, actually getting The Matrix, which is a whole different story. I actually got a called out of the blue from Chad Stahelski, the director. He said, ‘I’m trying to find this role and I’ve seen your music videos, and I see that you act and I can see that you do dance and choreography and fight scenes … What are you doing for the next three months?'”

Two days later, Sawayama said, she was in Berlin filming for John Wick 4. Her time on set came to a brief halt early on after sustaining a minor injury while trying to perform the action choreography, and needed to take a week off to recover.

“Chad and John Wick …the style of shooting of action is that you shoot from start to finish. It’s not very choppy in terms of the cuts, and so you need to learn the choreography from start to finish,” she explained. “It’s long sequences, and actually on the first week, I pinched a nerve in my back just doing the most basic moves, so that was so not cool. After a week, I had the best medical treatment and got better and I was able to learn it all. Five weeks, it felt like it wasn’t long enough. I wanted more time.”

Of working with the movie’s star, Keanu Reeves, Sawayama revealed that decades-long reports of him being kind and easy to work with are indeed true. “He was so sweet. Obviously knowing it was my first role, [he was] just looking after me behind the scenes,” she explained, adding that when the cameras stop rolling, Reeves is humble. “He’s not a very showy person. He does things a lot behind the scenes to make sure everyone is feeling OK. So kind, and honestly, he can turn off the celebrity, which is a weird thing to say. You think someone like Keanu walking around on set has an air of celebrity around them constantly, but he’s just there to work. I didn’t feel intimidated at all.”

During the summer, the pop star will hit up the music festival circuit. She’s also set to perform at Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Roskilde, Mad Cool and others before concluding at Lollapalooza Berlin in September.

Watch Sawayama talk about filming John Wick 4 in the video above.

Starr Bowenbank