- Category : Actor
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (36)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 2
Keanu Charles Reeves (born September 2, 1964) is a Canadian actor. Reeves is known for his roles in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed, Point Break, and The Matrix trilogy as Neo. He has collaborated with major directors such as Stephen Frears (in the 1988 period drama Dangerous Liaisons); Gus Van Sant (in the 1991 independent film My Own Private Idaho); and Bernardo Bertolucci (in the 1993 film Little Buddha). Referring to his 1991 film releases, The New York Times' critic, Janet Maslin, praised Reeves' versatility, saying that he "displays considerable discipline and range. He moves easily between the buttoned-down demeanor that suits a police procedural story and the loose-jointed manner of his comic roles."
In addition to his film roles, Reeves has acted in theatre. His performance in the title role for Manitoba Theatre Centre's production of Hamlet was praised by Roger Lewis of The Sunday Times, who declared Reeves "one of the top three Hamlets I have seen, for a simple reason: he is Hamlet." On January 31, 2005, Reeves received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A multifaceted artist, Reeves worked with illustrator Alexandra Grant to author a book, Ode to Happiness. He has also produced a documentary, Side by Side; and directed the film Man of Tai Chi.
Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of Patricia Bond (née Taylor), an English-born costume designer/performer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves, Jr. His father, a Hawaiian-born American, was of English, Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, Scottish, 1⁄32 Chinese, and extremely remote Dutch, French and Italian ancestry. Reeves's mother was working in Beirut when she met his father. Reeves's father worked as an unskilled laborer and earned his GED while imprisoned in Hawaii for selling heroin at Hilo International Airport. He abandoned his wife and family when Reeves was three years old. Reeves does not currently have any relationship with his father. Their last meeting was when he was 13.
Reeves moved around the world frequently as a child and he lived with various stepfathers. After his parents divorced in 1966, his mother became a costume designer and moved the family to Sydney, Australia and then to New York City, USA. There she met and married Paul Aaron, a Broadway and Hollywood director. The couple moved to Toronto, Canada; they divorced in 1971. Reeves's mother married Robert Miller, a rock promoter, in 1976; the couple divorced in 1980. She subsequently married her fourth husband, Jack Bond, a hairdresser; the marriage ended in 1994. Grandparents and nannies babysat Reeves and his sisters, and Reeves grew up primarily in Toronto. Within five years he attended four high schools, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts, from which he was expelled. Reeves stated he was expelled because "I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school."
Reeves excelled more in hockey than in academics, as his educational development was challenged by dyslexia. He was a successful goalie at one of his high schools (De La Salle College "Oaklands"), and earned the nickname "The Wall". Reeves dreamed of playing hockey for Canada but an injury ended his hopes for a hockey career. After leaving De La Salle College, he attended Avondale Secondary Alternative School, which allowed him to obtain an education while working as an actor. He later dropped out and did not obtain a high school diploma.
In January 2011, on the BBC program The One Show, Reeves spoke of his English ancestry via his mother, mentioning his happy watching of The Two Ronnies comedy show amongst others when younger, and how his mother imparted English manners that he still has today.
1980s: Rise to Stardom
Reeves began his acting career at the age of nine, appearing in a theatre production of Damn Yankees. At 15, he played Mercutio in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet at the Leah Posluns Theatre. Reeves made his screen acting debut in a CBC Television comedy series entitled Hangin' In. In the early 1980s, he appeared in commercials (including one for Coca-Cola), short films including the NFB drama One Step Away and stage work such as Brad Fraser's cult hit Wolfboy in Toronto. In 1984, he was a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV youth program Going Great.
Reeves's first studio movie appearance was in the Rob Lowe ice hockey film Youngblood, in which he played a Québécois goalie. Shortly after the movie's release, Reeves drove to Los Angeles in his 1969 Volvo. His ex-stepfather Paul Aaron, a stage and television director, had convinced Erwin Stoff in advance to be Reeves's manager and agent. Stoff has remained Reeves's manager, and has co-produced many of his films.
After a few minor roles, Reeves received a sizable role in the 1986 drama film River's Edge, which depicted how a murder affected a group of teens. Following this film's critical success, he spent the late 1980s appearing in a number of movies aimed at teenage audiences, including Permanent Record, and the unexpectedly successful 1989 comedy, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which, along with its 1991 sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, typecast Reeves as a spaced-out teen. Much of his coverage in the press and much of the response to his acting in the early 1990s mentioned his portrayal of the airheaded Ted.
1990s: Critical Acclaim
From 1991, Reeves played bass guitar in the grunge band Dogstar. During the early 1990s, Reeves started to break out of his teen-film period. He appeared in high-budget action films like Point Break, for which he won MTV's "Most Desirable Male" award in 1992. He was also involved in various lower-budget independent films, including the well-received 1991 film, My Own Private Idaho with his close friend, River Phoenix.
In 1994, Reeves's career reached a new high as a result of his starring role in the action film Speed. His casting in the film was controversial since, except for Point Break, he was primarily known for comedies and indie dramas. He had never been the sole headliner on a film. The summer action film had a fairly large budget and was helmed by novice cinematographer-turned-director Jan de Bont. The unexpected international success of the film made Reeves and co-star Sandra Bullock into A-List stars.
Reeves's career choices after Speed were eclectic: despite his successes, Reeves continued to accept supporting roles and appear in experimental films. He scored a hit with a romantic lead role in A Walk in the Clouds. He made news by refusing to take part in Speed 2: Cruise Control – despite the offered $11 million paycheck, which would have been his largest to date – in favour of touring with his band and playing the title role in a 1995 Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Hamlet in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Of his performance, Roger Lewis, the Sunday Times theatre critic, wrote, "He quite embodied the innocence, the splendid fury, the animal grace of the leaps and bounds, the emotional violence, that form the Prince of Denmark... He is one of the top three Hamlets I have seen, for a simple reason: he is Hamlet."
However, Reeves's choices after A Walk in the Clouds failed with critics and audiences. Big-budget films such as the sci-fi action film Johnny Mnemonic and the action-thriller Chain Reaction were critically panned and failed at the box office, while indie films like Feeling Minnesota were also critical failures. Reeves finally started to climb out of his career low after starring in the horror-drama The Devil's Advocate alongside Al Pacino and Charlize Theron. Reeves took a paycut of $1 million for The Devil's Advocate so that Pacino would be cast, and later took a 90 per cent paycut for the less successful The Replacements to guarantee the casting of Gene Hackman. The Devil's Advocate did well at the box office, received good reviews, and proved that Reeves could play a grown-up with a career, although many critics felt that his poor performance detracted from an otherwise enjoyable movie.
2000s: Continued Successes
In between the first Matrix film and its sequels, Reeves received positive reviews for his portrayal of an abusive husband in The Gift. Aside from The Gift, Reeves appeared in several films that received mostly negative reviews and unimpressive box office grosses, including The Watcher, Sweet November and The Replacements. However, the two Matrix sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, along with Something's Gotta Give and the 2005 horror-action film, Constantine, proved to be box office successes and brought Reeves back into the public spotlight. Reeves performed with the band Becky for a year, but quit in 2005, citing his lack of interest in a serious music career.
His appearance in the 2006 film, A Scanner Darkly, based on the dystopian science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, received favorable reviews, but The Lake House, his romantic outing with Sandra Bullock, did not do well at the box office. He went on to play the lead character in two 2008 films, Street Kings and The Day the Earth Stood Still. In February 2009 The Private Life of Pippa Lee was presented at Berlinale.
2010s: New Artistic Roles
Beginning in 2008, Reeves began pre-production on his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi. The film is a multilingual narrative, partly inspired by the life of his friend, stuntman Tiger Chen. Filming occurred on mainland China and Hong Kong. During Man of Tai Chi's five years of scripting and production, Reeves acted in several B movies with lead roles as Henry in 2010's Henry's Crime and John in 2012's Generation Um.... Also during that time, Reeves acted as the leading role in a blockbuster film, 47 Ronin.
In 2011, he returned to other artistic mediums of expression. Having played music earlier in his career, he forayed into literature by writing the text for a "grown-up picture book" entitled Ode to Happiness. The text was complimented by Alexandra Grant illustrations. Also during 2011, he produced the documentary Side by Side about the supplanting of photo-chemical film by digital camera technology. For the motion picture, Reeves interviewed several celebrated directors including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan.
Reeves's first directorial film, Man of Tai Chi, premiered in 2013 with showings at the Beijing Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. The work was awarded in Beijing and praised by recognized director of action genre films, John Woo.
In January 2009, it was announced that Reeves would star in the live-action film adaptation of the anime series Cowboy Bebop, initially slated for release in 2011. Due to budgeting problems, the script was sent for a rewrite, and the project's status is currently unknown.
In April 2011, Reeves referenced that a third installment of the Bill & Ted series had been initiated.
He is a U.S. citizen through his American father, and also holds Canadian citizenship by naturalization; he grew up as a Canadian and identifies as such. He is also entitled to British citizenship through his English mother.
For nearly a decade following his initial rise to stardom, Reeves preferred to live in rental houses and hotels. He was a long-term resident of the Chateau Marmont. Reeves bought his first house in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles around 2003. He also has an apartment in Central Park West, New York City.
In December 1999, Reeves's girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth in her eighth month of pregnancy to a stillborn daughter, Ava Archer Syme-Reeves. Syme died in April 2001, the sole passenger in an automobile wreck. Reeves, who was scheduled to begin shooting back-to-back Matrix sequels during the subsequent spring, was seeking "peace and time to deal with this," said his friend Bret Domrose, a guitarist in Reeves's alternative rock band Dogstar.
Contrary to popular impression, Reeves is neither Buddhist nor atheist, despite frequent listings to the contrary. He has previously claimed to be non-religious, while also citing an intense interest of Buddhism. In 1997, he stated, "Sure I believe in God and the Devil but they don't have to have pitchforks and a long white beard."
During 2008, Reeves was sued unsuccessfully in Los Angeles Superior Court by paparazzo Alison Silva. The $711,974 suit claimed Reeves allegedly hit and injured Silva with a Porsche concluding a family visit at a Los Angeles medical facility. The paparazzo's lawsuit took a year and a half to make it to trial, during which time Silva continued to attack Reeves and demand payment. At the trial, all 12 jurors rejected the suit, needing only an hour of deliberation to reach their verdict.
Reeves gained some internet notoriety in 2010. Photos of him, seemingly distressed while eating alone, were posted to a 4chan forum. The images were soon distributed via several blogs and news sites. These pictures led to the "Keanu is Sad" or "Sad Keanu" meme being spread on internet forums. Furthermore, an unofficial holiday was created when a Facebook fan page declared June 15 as "Cheer-up Keanu Day". On the one-year anniversary of "Cheer-up Keanu Day", Reeves was interviewed for an article in British newspaper, The Guardian. When prompted about the unsolicited attention, he responded, "It is hopefully, in a quiet and enjoyable way, transformative. The kind of thing that takes you from this one place to another – to look at yourself and, y'know, it can always be worse. I hate that sentence: of course it can always be worse!"