By Amy Chesler
Happy 55th birthday to Keanu Reeves! He’s Hollywood’s brooding-but-benevolent bad boy but totally nice guy IRL, and we are so pleased to celebrate his day with ten fascinating facts about his film career!
1. When Keanu was young, he almost went professional in the hockey rink. In fact, he earned himself the nickname “The Wall” for his impressive goalie skills in the Ontario Hockey League. But he opted for the screen instead and still got to show us some of his talent in one of his first feature films, Youngblood.
2. Despite Speed’s huge success, Keanu didn’t think Speed 2 would carry the same weight as its predecessor. He turned down the role and, sure enough, the first film grossed over 200 million more dollars than its sequel did. Hate to say he told you so.
3. He is officially reprising one of his next most famous roles as Bill in Bill & Ted 3 later in 2020. *aggressive air guitar*
4. Deep Web, Matrix, and Side by Side are some of Reeves’s highest rated films on the DVD Netflix app. His lowest three ranked films are Generation Um..., Siberia, and Exposed.
5. Parenthood is Keanu’s highest grossing film, and is the perfect mash-up of celebrity all-stars and comedy magic.
6. Keanu is known in Hollywood for playing ball as a true teammate. In fact, he took a huge pay cut in both The Replacements and The Devil’s Advocate so the cast could include such big hitters as Gene Hackman and Al Pacino, respectively. He even supposedly shared $75 million from his Matrix trilogy paycheck to the costume and special effects departments to thank them for all of their exceptional work.
7. Keanu voiced the kitten in the film Keanu starring Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key. In it, the tiny kitten is kidnapped by drug dealers and the comedic duo must muster the cajones to figure out who took them, why they did it, and how on Earth they’ll get him back. It’s hilarious and totally worth a rental.
8. According to an interview, Keanu started smoking cigarettes in his thirties as a casualty of his role as a drifter who crashes his brother’s wedding in Feeling Minnesota. He made off with his brother’s bride, played by Camera Diaz, and a nicotine habit. Now, that’s some serious dedication to his craft.
9. Keanu is uncredited as Ortiz the Dog-Faced Boy in cult classic, Freaked. Makes sense, as he and Alex Winter were already pretty chummy. Also makes sense he wanted to remain uncredited (it’s so bad it’s amazing, isn’t it?).
10. Keanu was almost cast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until filming for his role in John Wick 3 began to conflict with scheduling, and he had to drop out. Major bummer.
Amy Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books. Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ABCauthor1), Twitter (@abcauthor), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!