Why John Wick's Bridget Moynahan Intentionally Avoided Reading The Whole Script

Through all the killing, maiming, and general brutalizing that John Wick dispenses, it's important to remember he's doing it all out of love for his wife. Okay, that's an oversimplification of how his vengeance unleashes the inner monster that he suppressed in his former relationship, but the grief he carries from the death of Helen Wick defines his character throughout the "John Wick" series. Bridget Moynahan, who plays Helen in flashbacks, said that she avoided reading the first film's script in order to more clearly see the happier, murder-free John that her character married. 

The "John Wick" movies have grown more elaborate with each entry, growing the criminal underworld that the main character finds himself sucked back into. He wasn't exactly in a good place in the first film, but he had Helen's puppy Daisy to help him keep her memory intact. However, the Russian mobsters that murder the poor beagle send him over the edge, and a new action movie king was born. The recently released "John Wick: Chapter 4" closes the book on John's post-Helen revenge mission as he admits that he wants to be remembered as a "loving husband" rather than a ruthless killer.

A different kind of John

The juxtaposition between John's assassin career and his life with Helen needed to be stark in order to convey the appropriate level of tragedy for the character. In a publicity pamphlet about the production of the first film, David Leitch, who co-directed the first film alongside Chad Stahelski, called Helen "the crux of the movie." Moynahan herself stated:

"There was a large portion of the story that I didn't want to be informed about. I didn't want or need to know that side of John. Helen brought love and light and joy into his life. Knowing the other side of it would make it a different story for me. Helen was so devoted to her husband that in the last moments of her life she tried to make sure he was taken care of. And I think that was a really wonderful, sweet, thoughtful thing for her to do."

Producer Basil Iwanyk added that "all we know as an audience is that the moment he met her, he became a different person." John's transformation, or rather relapse, into a cold-blooded assassin, only happened after he found love and then lost it all. "John Wick: Chapter 4," in fact, draws an interesting distinction between "John" and "Mr. Wick," as if the character is two separate people. John Wick may beat up a lot of bad guys, but his true enemy is this eternal conflict within himself. It was vital for viewers to understand that, with Helen, he was briefly at peace.