LOS ANGELES — The spirit of late actor Lance Reddick was very much alive on the red carpet at the “John Wick: Chapter 4” premiere in Los Angeles on Monday.
Reddick, who died unexpectedly Friday at age 60, was honored by his co-stars and other attendees who affixed blue ribbons to their garments to commemorate him. Lead actor Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Shamier Anderson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama, Donnie Yen and director Chad Stahelski wore the ribbons on the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Reeves led the tributes and described the memorable “Fringe” and “The Wire” actor as a “remarkable artist.”
“Lance was a beautiful person, a special artist [and] a man of grace and dignity [with] such a passion for his craft,” he told Deadline. “And to have had the chance to work with him over the 10 years and four films [in the franchise] is something that is very special to me.
“It f— sucks he’s not here.”
Reddick played hotel concierge Charon in the hitman revenge saga, debuting in the 2014 film and reprising the role in the following installments. Upon word of his death last Friday, Reeves and Stahelski dedicated the latest entry to their “beloved friend” and the “consummate professional.” (The film opens in theaters this Friday.)
In a Monday red-carpet interview with People, Reeves recalled his first meeting with the actor and an idea Reddick had for “the way that he wanted the character [Charon] to speak.”
“Just his enthusiasm and passion. And the way that he and I got to work and kind of speak the unspoken, that connection. It’s just really cool,” the 58-year-old star said. “The connection between John Wick and Charon was special. I always said to him that people liked John Wick because he liked John Wick.”
Reeves’ “Matrix” co-star Fishburne — who plays the crime lord known as the Bowery King in the “John Wick” universe — also fondly remembered Reddick.
“We love Lance. We miss Lance. I mean, he’s the heart of these movies in many ways. We lost our brother, but we made a beautiful movie and it’s the best of all of them. And I think people are going to love it and that’s what it’s about, right? At the end of the day, he wouldn’t want us to not do this,” Fishburne told the Hollywood Reporter.
Director Stahelski also told THR that Reddick was one of the first people that he and creative partner David Leitch cast in the original film and his wisdom guided the first-time directors.
“And we were like, ‘Lance we really don’t know what we’re doing but please help us,” Stahelski said. “He just mentored us through the first day of shooting with him. He was so kind, so generous, and we still joke about it today. He’s always been the most collaborative, most positive guy I’ve ever met.”
“As a filmmaker you look for artists that are going to be great collaborators, and he was the epitome of that,” Leitch added. “Someone who came in to share ideas full-heartedly, and I just can’t say enough about him as a human being and as an artist.”
Reddick reportedly skipped a New York screening for the movie last week, but in one of his final interviews he told E! News that the latest “John Wick” film surpasses its predecessors.
“I couldn’t believe that it was bigger than the last one,” he told the outlet on March 3. “I don’t know how you can have more action and better action, but we do. Also, the emotional stakes have been raised. I feel for the characters more than any other franchise.”
The “Bosch” actor also discussed his work on the film’s spinoff “Ballerina,” which also stars Reeves, Ian McShane and Ana de Armas, as well as his upcoming roles in the “White Men Can’t Jump” remake and Shirley Chisholm biopic “Shirley.” Reddick was set for several more projects before his death, including the Disney+ series adaptation of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and a handful of projects that featured his resonant voice.