Reeves in 2019
Keanu Charles Reeves
September 2, 1964
Keanu Charles Reeves ( kee-AH-noo; born September 2, 1964) is a Canadian[a] actor, author, director and musician. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Reeves grew up in Toronto. He began acting in theatre productions, and in television films before making his mainstream film debut in Youngblood (1986). Reeves gained recognition in his breakthrough role as Ted "Theodore" Logan in the science fiction comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). This was followed by a supporting role in Ron Howard's comedy Parenthood, 1991's Point Break, a sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and the independent drama My Own Private Idaho where playing a street hustler received critical praise for his performance. He had a supporting role in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
The action thriller Speed (1994), in which Reeves was cast as a police officer, garnered critical and commercial success, and helped Reeves gain further recognition. He followed this with a series of films box office failures, including: Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Chain Reaction (1996), and The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997). However, his performance in the supernatural horror The Devil's Advocate (1997) was well received. Global stardom followed soon after with his lead role as computer hacker Neo in the science fiction thriller The Matrix (1999). The film was a commercial success and won four Academy Awards, although its sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions (both in 2003) were met with a mixed reception. In 2005, Reeves played exorcist John Constantine in Constantine and a dentist in the comedy-drama Thumbsucker. He also starred in the animated film A Scanner Darkly (2006), the romantic drama The Lake House (2006), the science fiction thriller The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), and the crime thriller Street Kings (2008).
In 2013, he made his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi. Although he was praised for his direction, the film was a box-office bomb. In 2014, Reeves played the titular assassin in the neo-noir action thriller John Wick, which was a commercial success and was generally well-received. A year later, he starred in Knock Knock and narrated two documentaries, Deep Web and Mifune: The Last Samurai. 2016 saw Reeves star in five films, including The Neon Demon, The Bad Batch, and The Whole Truth. He also starred in a web television series Swedish Dicks. He returned to the John Wick franchise in the commercially successful sequels, John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019). In 2019, Reeves voiced Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4 (2019). Reeves has spent most of his career typecast as the action hero; "saving the world" is a recurring character arc in many roles he has portrayed, such as the characters of Ted "Theodore" Logan, Gautama Buddha, Neo, Johnny Mnemonic, John Constantine, and Klaatu. Besides acting, he played bass guitar for the band Dogstar and pursued other endeavours such as writing and philanthropy.
Keanu Charles Reeves was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on September 2, 1964, the son of Patricia (née Taylor), a costume designer and performer, and Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr. His mother is English, originating from Essex. His father is from Hawaii, and is of Chinese, English, Irish, Native Hawaiian, and Portuguese descent. His father earned a GED while serving time in prison for selling heroin at Hilo International Airport. His mother was working in Beirut when she met his father, who abandoned his wife and family when Reeves was three years old. Reeves last met his father on the island of Kauai when he was 13.
After his parents divorced in 1966, his mother moved the family to Sydney, Australia, and then to New York City, where she married Paul Aaron, a Broadway and Hollywood director, in 1970. The couple moved to Toronto, Canada, and divorced in 1971. When Reeves was nine, he took part in a theatre production of Damn Yankees. At 15, he worked as a production assistant on Aaron's films. Reeves' mother married Robert Miller, a rock music promoter, in 1976; the couple divorced in 1980. She subsequently married her fourth husband, a hairdresser named Jack Bond; the marriage lasted until 1994. Reeves and his sisters grew up primarily in the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto, with grandparents and nannies caring for them. Because of his grandmother's ethnicity, he grew up around Chinese art, furniture, and cuisine. Reeves watched British comedy shows such as The Two Ronnies, and his mother imparted English manners that he has maintained into adulthood.
Describing himself as a "private kid", Reeves attended four different high schools, including the Etobicoke School of the Arts, from which he was expelled. Reeves said he was expelled because he was "just a little too rambunctious and shot [his] mouth off once too often ... [he] was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school". At De La Salle College, he was a successful ice hockey goalkeeper. Reeves had aspirations to become a professional ice hockey player for the Canadian Olympic team but decided to become an actor when he was 15. After leaving the college, he attended Avondale Secondary Alternative School, which allowed him to get an education while working as an actor. He dropped out of high school when he was 17. He obtained a green card through his American stepfather and moved to Los Angeles three years later. Reeves holds Canadian citizenship by naturalization.
In 1984, Reeves was a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) youth television program Going Great. That same year, he made his acting debut in an episode of the television series, called Hangin' In. In 1985, he played Mercutio in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet at the Leah Posluns Theatre in North York, Ontario. He made further appearances on stage, including Brad Fraser's cult hit Wolfboy in Toronto. He also appeared in a Coca-Cola commercial, and in 1985, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) coming-of-age, short film One Step Away.
Reeves made a foray into television films in 1986, including NBC's Babes in Toyland, Act of Vengeance and Brotherhood of Justice. He made his first motion picture appearances in Peter Markle's Youngblood (1986), in which he played a goalkeeper, and in the low-budget romantic drama, Flying. He was cast as Matt in River's Edge, a crime drama about a group of high school friends dealing with a murder case, loosely based on the 1981 murder of Marcy Renee Conrad. The film premiered in 1986 at the Toronto International Film Festival to a largely positive response. Janet Maslin of The New York Times describes the performances of the young cast as "natural and credible", with Reeves being described as "affecting and sympathetic".
Towards the end of the 1980s, Reeves starred in several dramas aimed at teen audiences, including as the lead in The Night Before (1988), a comedy starring opposite Lori Loughlin, The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988) and Permanent Record (1988). Although the latter received mixed reviews, Variety praised Reeves' performance, "which opens up nicely as the drama progresses". His other acting efforts included a supporting role in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), which earned seven nominations at the 61st Academy Awards, winning three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. This was followed by Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), in which he portrays a slacker who travels through time with a friend (portrayed by Alex Winter), to assemble historical figures for a school presentation. The film was generally well-received by critics and grossed $40.5 million at the worldwide box office. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 79% approval rating with the critical consensus: "Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work".
In 1989, Reeves starred in the comedy-drama Parenthood directed by Ron Howard. Nick Hilditch of the BBC gave the film three out of five stars, calling it a "feelgood movie" with an "extensive and entertaining ensemble cast". In 1990, Reeves gave two acting performances. He portrayed an incompetent hitman in the black comedy I Love You to Death, and played Martin, a radio station employee in the comedy Tune in Tomorrow. He also appeared in Paula Abdul's music video for Rush Rush which featured a Rebel Without a Cause motif, with him in the James Dean role.
In 1991, Reeves starred in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, a sequel to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, with his co-star Alex Winter. Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times felt that the sequel was "more imaginative, more opulent, wilder and freer, more excitingly visualized", praising the actors for their "fuller" performances. Film critic Roger Ebert thought it was "a riot of visual invention and weird humor that works on its chosen sub-moronic level ... It's the kind of movie where you start out snickering in spite of yourself, and end up actually admiring the originality that went into creating this hallucinatory slapstick". The rest of 1991 marked a significant transition for Reeves' career as he undertook adult roles. Co-starring with River Phoenix as a street hustler in the adventure My Own Private Idaho, the characters embark on a journey of personal discovery. The story was written by Gus Van Sant, and is loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V. The film premiered at the 48th Venice International Film Festival, followed by a theatrical release in the United States on September 29, 1991. The film earned $6.4 million at the box office.My Own Private Idaho was positively received, with Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly describing the film as "a postmodern road movie with a mood of free-floating, trance-like despair... a rich, audacious experience".The New York Times complimented Reeves and Phoenix for their insightful performances.
Reeves starred alongside Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty and Gary Busey in the action thriller Point Break (1991), directed by Kathryn Bigelow. He plays an undercover FBI agent tasked with investigating the identities of a group of bank robbers. To prepare for the film, Reeves and his co-stars took surfing lessons with professional surfer Dennis Jarvis in Hawaii. Reeves had never surfed before. Upon its release, Point Break was generally well-received, and a commercial success, earning $83.5 million at the box office. Reeves' performance was praised by The New York Times for "considerable discipline and range", adding, "He moves easily between the buttoned-down demeanor that suits a police procedural story and the loose-jointed manner of his comic roles". Writing for The Washington Post, Hal Hinson called Reeves the "perfect choice" and praised the surfing scenes, but opined "the filmmakers have their characters make the most ludicrously illogical choices imaginable". At the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, Reeves won the Most Desirable Male award.
In 1992, he played Jonathan Harker in Francis Ford Coppola's Gothic horror Bram Stoker's Dracula, based on Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. Starring alongside Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins, the film was critically and commercially successful. It grossed $215.8 million worldwide. For his role, Reeves was required to speak with an English accent, which drew some criticism; "Overly posh and entirely ridiculous, Reeves's performance is as painful as it is hilarious", wrote Limara Salt of Virgin Media. Recalling the experience in 2015, director Coppola said, "[Reeves] tried so hard ... He wanted to do it perfectly and in trying to do it perfectly it came off as stilted".Bram Stoker's Dracula was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning three in Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing and Best Makeup. The film also received four nominations at the British Academy Film Awards.
In 1991, Reeves developed an interest in a music career; he formed an alternative rock band called Dogstar, consisting of members Robert Mailhouse, Gregg Miller and Bret Domrose. Reeves played the bass guitar. In 1993, he had a role in Much Ado About Nothing, based on Shakespeare's play of the same name. The film received positive reviews, although Reeves was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor.The New Republic magazine thought his casting was "unfortunate" because of his amateur performance. That same year, he starred in two more drama films, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Little Buddha, both of which garnered a mixed-to-negative reception.The Independent gave Little Buddha a mixed review but opined Reeves was "credible" and fitting for the part.
He starred in the action thriller Speed (1994) alongside Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper. He plays police officer Jack Traven, who must prevent a bus from exploding by keeping its speed above 50 mph. Speed was the directorial debut of Dutch director Jan de Bont. Several actors were considered for the lead role, but Reeves was chosen because Bont was impressed with his Point Break performance. To look the part, Reeves shaved all his hair off and spent two months in the gym to gain muscle mass. During production, Reeves' friend River Phoenix (and co-star in My Own Private Idaho) died, resulting in adjustments to the filming schedule to allow him to mourn.Speed was released on June 10 to a critically acclaimed response. Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune lauded Reeves, calling him "absolutely charismatic ... giving a performance juiced with joy as he jumps through elevator shafts ... and atop a subway train".David Ansen, writing for Newsweek, summarized Speed as, "Relentless without being overbearing, this is one likely blockbuster that doesn't feel too big for its britches. It's a friendly juggernaut". The film grossed $35 million from a $30 million budget and won two Academy Awards in 1995 – Best Sound Editing and Best Sound.
--Reeves on his Hamlet performance
Following Speed, Reeves' next leading role came in 1995, in the cyberpunk action thriller Johnny Mnemonic. It is based on the story of the same name by William Gibson, about a man who has had a cybernetic brain implant. As part of the film studio's marketing efforts, a CD-ROM video game was also released. The film, however, received mainly negative reviews and critics felt Reeves was "woefully miscast". He next appeared in the romantic drama A Walk in the Clouds (1995), which also garnered mixed-to-negative reviews. Reeves plays a young soldier returning home from World War II, trying to settle down with a woman he married impulsively just before he enlisted. Film critic Mick LaSalle opined, "A Walk in the Clouds is for the most part a beautiful, well-acted and emotionally rich picture", whereas Hal Hinson from The Washington Post said, "The film has the syrupy, Kodak magic-moment look of a Bo Derek movie, and pretty much the same level of substance". Besides film work, Reeves retreated briefly back to the theatre playing Prince Hamlet in a 1995 Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Hamlet in Winnipeg, Manitoba.Sunday Times critic Roger Lewis believed his performance, writing 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".
Reeves was soon drawn to science fiction roles, appearing in Chain Reaction (1996) with co-stars Morgan Freeman, Rachel Weisz, Fred Ward, Kevin Dunn and Brian Cox. He plays a researcher of a green energy project, who has to go on the run when he is framed for murder. Chain Reaction was not a critical success and received mostly negative reviews; film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 16% and described it as "a man-on-the-run thriller that mostly sticks to generic formula". Reeves' film choices after Chain Reaction were also critical disappointments. He starred in the independent crime comedy Feeling Minnesota (1996), with Vincent D'Onofrio and Cameron Diaz, which was described as "shoddily assembled, and fundamentally miscast" by Rotten Tomatoes. That same year, he turned down an offer to star in Speed 2: Cruise Control, despite being offered a salary of $12 million. According to Reeves, this decision caused 20th Century Fox to sever ties with him for a decade. Instead, Reeves toured with his band Dogstar, and appeared in the drama film The Last Time I Committed Suicide (1997), based on a 1950 letter written by Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac. In a scathing review of Reeves' performance, Paul Tatara of CNN called him "void of talent ... here he is again, reciting his lines as if they're non-related words strung together as a memory exercise".
In 1997, he starred in the supernatural horror The Devil's Advocate alongside Al Pacino and Charlize Theron. Reeves agreed to a pay cut of several million dollars so that the film studio could afford to hire Pacino. Based on Andrew Neiderman's novel of the same name, the feature is about a successful young lawyer invited to New York City to work for a major firm, who discovers the owner of the firm is a devil. The Devil's Advocate attracted positive reviews from critics. Film critic James Berardinelli called the film "highly enjoyable" and noted, "There are times when Reeves lacks the subtlety that would have made this a more multi-layered portrayal, but it's nevertheless a solid job".
In 1999, Reeves starred in the critically acclaimed science fiction film The Matrix, the first instalment in what would become The Matrix franchise. Reeves portrays computer programmer Thomas Anderson, a hacker using the alias "Neo", who discovers humanity is trapped inside a simulated reality created by intelligent machines. Written and directed by the Wachowskis, Reeves had to prepare by reading Kevin Kelly's Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, and Dylan Evans's ideas on evolutionary psychology. The principal cast underwent months of intense training with martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping to prepare for the fight scenes.The Matrix proved to be a box office success; several critics considered it to be one of the best science fiction films of all time.Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times felt it was a "wildly cinematic futuristic thriller that is determined to overpower the imagination", despite perceiving weaknesses in the film's dialogue. Janet Maslin of The New York Times credited Reeves for being a "strikingly chic Prada model of an action hero", and thought the martial arts stunts were its most strongest area.The Matrix received Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound.
After the success of The Matrix, Reeves avoided another blockbuster in favour of a lighthearted sports comedy, The Replacements (2000). He agreed to a pay cut to enable Gene Hackman co-star in the film. Against his wishes, Reeves starred in the thriller The Watcher (2000), playing a serial killer who stalks a retired FBI agent. He said that a friend forged his signature on a contract, which he could not prove; he appeared in the film to avoid legal action. Upon its release, the film was critically panned. That year, he had a supporting role in another thriller, Sam Raimi's The Gift, a story about a woman (played by Cate Blanchett) with extrasensory perception asked to help find a young woman who disappeared. The film grossed $44 million worldwide. Film critic Paul Clinton of CNN thought the film was fairly compelling, saying of Reeves' acting: "[Raimi] managed to get a performance out of Reeves that only occasionally sounds like he's reading his lines from the back of a cereal box."
In 2001, Reeves continued to explore and accept roles in a diverse range of genres. The first was a romantic comedy, Sweet November, a 1968 remake of the same name. This was his second collaboration with Charlize Theron; the film was met with a generally negative reception.Desson Thompson of The Washington Post criticized it for its "syrupy cliches, greeting-card wisdom and over-the-top tragicomedy", but commended Reeves for his likability factor in every performance he gives.Hardball (2001) marked Reeves' attempt in another sports comedy. Directed by Brian Robbins, it is based on the book Hardball: A Season in the Projects by Daniel Coyle. Reeves plays Conor O'Neill, a troubled young man who agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of obtaining a loan. Film critic Roger Ebert took note of the film's desire to tackle difficult subjects and baseball coaching, but felt it "drifts above the surface", and Reeves' performance was "glum and distant".
By 2002, his professional music career had come to an end when Dogstar disbanded. The band had released two albums during their decade together; Our Little Visionary in 1996 and Happy Ending in 2000. Sometime afterwards, Reeves performed in the band Becky for a year, founded by Dogstar band-mate Rob Mailhouse, but quit in 2005, citing a lack of interest in a serious music career. After being absent from the screen in 2002, Reeves returned to The Matrix sequels in 2003 with The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, released in May and November, respectively. Principal photography for both films was completed back-to-back, primarily at Fox Studios in Australia. The Matrix Reloaded garnered mostly favourable reviews; John Powers of LA Weekly praised the "dazzling pyrotechnics" but was critical of certain machine-like action scenes. Of Reeves' acting, Powers thought it was somewhat "wooden" but felt he has the ability to "exude a charmed aura". Andrew Walker, writing for London Evening Standard, praised the cinematography ("visually it gives full value as a virtuoso workout for your senses") but he was less taken by the film's "dime-store philosophy". The film grossed $739 million worldwide.
The Matrix Revolutions, the third instalment, was met with mixed reception. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus was that "characters and ideas take a back seat to the special effects". Paul Clinton, writing for CNN, praised the special effects but felt Reeves' character was "dazed and confused". In contrast, the San Francisco Chronicles Carla Meyer was highly critical of the special effects, writing, "[The Wachowskis] computer-generated imagery goes from dazzling to deadening in action scenes that favor heavy, clanking weaponry over the martial-arts moves that thrilled viewers of The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded." Nevertheless, the film grossed a healthy $427 million worldwide, although less than the two previous films.Something's Gotta Give, a romantic comedy, was Reeves' last release of 2003. He co-starred with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, and played Dr. Julian Mercer in the film. Something's Gotta Give received generally favourable reviews.
In 2005, Reeves played the titular role in Constantine, an occult detective film, about a man who has the ability to perceive and communicate with half-angels and half-demons in their true form. The film was a respectable box office hit, grossing $230 million worldwide from a $100 million budget but attracted mixed-to-positive reviews.The Sydney Morning Heralds critic noted that "Constantine isn't bad, but it doesn't deserve any imposing adjectives. It's occasionally cheesy, sometimes enjoyable, intermittently scary, and constantly spiked with celestial blatherskite". He next appeared in Thumbsucker, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. A comedy adapted from the 1999 Walter Kirn novel of the same name, the story follows a boy with a thumb-sucking problem. Reeves and the rest of the cast garnered positive critical reviews, with The Washington Post describing it as "a gently stirring symphony about emotional transition filled with lovely musical passages and softly nuanced performances".
Reeves appeared in the Richard Linklater-directed animated science fiction thriller A Scanner Darkly, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Reeves played Bob Arctor/Fred, an undercover agent in a futuristic dystopia under high-tech police surveillance. Based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, the film was a box office failure. However, the film attracted generally favourable reviews; Paul Arendt of the BBC thought the film was "beautiful to watch", but Reeves was outshone by his co-star Robert Downey Jr. His next role was Alex Wyler in The Lake House (2006), a romantic drama adaptation of the South Korean film Il Mare (2000), which reunited him with Sandra Bullock. Despite its box office success,Mark Kermode of The Guardian was highly critical, writing "this syrup-drenched supernatural whimsy achieves stupidity at a genuinely international level ... The last time Bullock and Reeves were together on screen the result was Speed. This should have been entitled Stop". Towards the end of 2006, he co-narrated The Great Warming with Alanis Morrissette, a documentary about climate change mitigation.
Next in 2008, Reeves collaborated with director David Ayer on the crime thriller Street Kings. He played an undercover policeman who must clear his name after the death of another officer. Released on April 11, the film grossed a moderate $66 million worldwide. The film's plot and Reeves' performance, however, were met with mostly unenthusiastic reviews. Paul Byrnes of The Sydney Morning Herald stated, "It's full of twists and turns, a dead body in every reel, but it's not difficult to work out who's betraying whom, and that's just not good enough".The Guardian opined, "Reeves is fundamentally blank and uninteresting". Reeves starred in another science fiction film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, a loose adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name. He portrayed Klaatu, an alien sent from outer space to try to change human behaviour or eradicate humans because of their environmental impact. At the 2009 Razzie Awards, the film was nominated for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel. Many critics were unimpressed with the heavy use of special effects; The Telegraph credited Reeves' ability to engage the audience, but thought the cinematography was abysmal and the "sub-Al-Gore environment lecture leaves you light-headed with tedium".
Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee was Reeves' sole release of 2009, which premiered at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. The romantic comedy and its ensemble received an amicable review from The Telegraphs David Gritten; "Miller's film is a triumph. Uniformly well acted, it boasts a psychologically knowing script, clearly written by a smart, assertive human". In 2010, he starred in another romantic comedy, Henry's Crime, about a man who is released from prison for a crime he did not commit, but then targets the same bank with his former cellmate. The film was not a box office hit. Reeves' only work in 2011 was an adult picture book titled Ode to Happiness, which he wrote, complemented by Alexandra Grant's illustrations. Reeves co-produced and appeared in a 2012 documentary, Side by Side. He interviewed filmmakers including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan; the feature investigated digital and photochemical film creation. Next, Reeves starred in Generation Um... (2012), an independent drama which was critically panned.
In 2013, Reeves starred in his own directorial debut, the martial arts film Man of Tai Chi. The film has multilingual dialogue and follows a young man drawn to an underground fight club, partially inspired by the life of Reeves' friend Tiger Chen. Principal photography took place in China and in Hong Kong. Reeves was also assisted by Yuen Woo-ping, the fight choreographer of The Matrix films.Man of Tai Chi premiered at the Beijing Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival, and received praise from director John Woo. A wider, warm response followed suit; Bilge Ebiri of Vulture thought the fight sequences were "beautifully assembled", and Reeves showed restraint with the film editing to present the fighters' motion sequences.The Los Angeles Times wrote, "The brutally efficient shooting style Reeves employs to film master choreographer Yuen Woo-ping's breathtaking fights ... is refreshingly grounded and old-school kinetic", while Dave McGinn of The Globe and Mail called the film "ambitious but generic". At the box office, Man of Tai Chi was a commercial disappointment, grossing only $5.5 million worldwide from a budget of $25 million. Also in 2013, Reeves played Kai in the 3D fantasy 47 Ronin, a Japanese fable about a group of rogue samurai. The film premiered in Japan but failed to gain traction with audiences. Initial reviews were not positive, causing Universal Pictures to reduce advertising spending for the film elsewhere. 47 Ronin was a box office flop and was mostly poorly received.
After this series of commercial failures, Reeves career rebounded in 2014. He played the titular role in the action thriller John Wick, directed by Chad Stahelski. In the first instalment of the John Wick franchise, Reeves plays a retired hitman seeking vengeance. He worked closely with the screenwriter to develop the story; "We all agreed on the potential of the project. I love the role, but you want the whole story, the whole ensemble to come to life", Reeves said. Filmed on location in the New York City area, the film was eventually released on October 24 in the United States.The Hollywood Reporter was impressed by the director's "confident, muscular action debut", and Reeves' "effortless" performance, which marked his return to the action genre. Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times praised Reeves' fight scenes and noted he is "always more comfortable in roles that demand cool over hot, attitude over emotion".John Wick proved to be a box office success, grossing $86 million worldwide. Next, Reeves starred in a smaller-scale horror feature, Knock Knock (2015), a remake of the 1977 film Death Game. Described as "over-the-top destruction" by the Toronto Star, Reeves plays a father, home alone, when two young women show up and start a game of cat and mouse. His other releases in 2015 were the documentaries Deep Web, about crime on the dark web, and Mifune: The Last Samurai, about the life of a Japanese actor (Toshiro Mifune) famous for playing samurai characters. He narrated both films.
Reeves appeared in five film releases in 2016. The first was Exposed, a crime thriller about a detective who investigates his partner's death and discovers police corruption along the way. The film received negative reviews for its confused plot, and Reeves' was criticized for displaying limited facial expressions. His next release, the comedy Keanu, was better received. In it he voiced the eponymous kitten. Reeves then had a minor role in The Neon Demon, a psychological horror directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. He played Hank, a lustful motel owner who appears in Jesse's (played by Elle Fanning) nightmare. In his fourth release, he played a charismatic leader of a settlement in The Bad Batch. His final release of the year was The Whole Truth, featuring Gabriel Basso, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Renée Zellweger, and Jim Belushi. He played Richard, a defense attorney. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club described it as "moderately clever, reasonably entertaining courtroom drama", with a skilled cast but overall a "mundane" film. Reeves also appeared in Swedish Dicks, a two-season web television series.
In 2017, Reeves agreed to reprise his role for a sequel in the John Wick franchise, John Wick: Chapter 2. The story carries on from the first film and follows John Wick as he goes on the run when a bounty is placed on him. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing $171.5 million worldwide, more than its predecessor. Chris Hewitt of Empire magazine praised Reeves' performance, which complimented nicely with his previous action roles (Point Break and Speed). However, Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times described the picture as "a down-and-dirty B-picture with a lustrous A-picture soul". Besides to this large-scale feature, Reeves starred in a drama, To the Bone, in which he plays a doctor helping a young woman with anorexia. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, followed by distribution on Netflix in July. Early reviews were positive, with critics praising its non-glamorized portrayal of anorexia, although the New Statesman reviewer did not think this was enough. 2017 also saw Reeves make cameo appearances in the films A Happening of Monumental Proportions and SPF-18.
Reeves reunited with Winona Ryder in the 2018 comedy Destination Wedding, about wedding guests who develop a mutual affection for each other. They had worked together previously in Bram Stoker's Dracula, A Scanner Darkly and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Reeves also co-produced and starred in two thrillers. Siberia, in which he plays a diamond trader who travels to Siberia to search for his Russian partner, and Replicas, which tells the story of a neuroscientist who violates laws and bioethics to bring his family back to life after they die in an automobile crash. Siberia and Replicas were critically panned, gaining only thirteen and nine per cent approval ratings, respectively, from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Returning to the John Wick franchise, Reeves starred in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019), the third feature in the series directed by Chad Stahelski. The film takes place immediately after the events of John Wick: Chapter 2 and features new cast members including Halle Berry. The film was another box office hit, grossing $171 million in the United States and more than $155 million internationally.The Globe and Mails reviewer gave the film three out of four stars, praising the action choreography for not becoming boring, but felt there was "aesthetic overindulgence" with the cinematography.The Guardians Cath Clarke questioned Reeves' acting-writing "he keeps his face statue-still", and added "three movies in, franchise bloat is beginning to set in". Reeves was nominated for Favorite Male Movie Star of 2019 in the People's Choice Awards, and the film itself was nominated for Best Contemporary Film in the Art Directors Guild Awards. Reeves had a cameo role in the Netflix original film Always Be My Maybe (2019), which he took on to highlight his Asian ancestry. He then voiced Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4 (2019), the fourth instalment of Pixar's Toy Story franchise. That same year, on April 27 and 28, a film festival was held in his honour, called KeanuCon, hosted in Glasgow, Scotland. Over two days, nine of his films were screened for guests.
Reeves will next appear in Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third sequel in the Bill & Ted franchise, with his co-star Alex Winter. Reeves will portray the character Johnny Silverhand in the video game Cyberpunk 2077; he has completed motion capture and voice recordings for the role. He is also due to appear in the animation The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020) as a tumbleweed named Sage.The Matrix 4, the fourth sequel to The Matrix franchise, is currently being filmed with Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles. In 2019, Reeves travelled to São Paulo to produce a Netflix series, Conquest. Details are being kept secret. Reeves will reprise his role as John Wick in two additional sequels, to be filmed back-to-back.
On December 24, 1999, Reeves' girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth eight months into her pregnancy to Ava Archer Syme-Reeves, who was stillborn. The couple broke up several weeks later. On April 2, 2001, Syme was killed when her vehicle collided with three parked cars on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles. She was being treated for depression at the time, and police found prescription medication in her car. Reeves, who was scheduled to film The Matrix sequels the following spring, sought "peace and time", according to friend Bret Domrose of Dogstar.
In 2008, he was linked to model-actress China Chow. In 2009, Reeves met Alexandra Grant at a dinner party; they went on to collaborate on two books together. They went public with their relationship in November 2019.
Reeves is discreet about his spiritual beliefs, saying that it is something "personal and private". In 1997, he expressed a belief in God and the Devil, but said "they don't have to have pitchforks and a long white beard". He has said that he has a lot of interest and respect for Buddhism, but has not "taken refuge in the dharma". When asked if he was a spiritual person, he said that he believes "in God, faith, inner faith, the self, passion, and things" and that he is "very spiritual" and "supremely bountiful". When asked by Stephen Colbert about his views on what happens after death, Reeves replied, "I know that the ones who love us will miss us".
Reeves supports several charities and causes. In response to his sister's battle with leukemia, he founded a private cancer foundation, which aids children's hospitals and provides cancer research. He has also volunteered for a Stand Up to Cancer telethon and worked closely with animal rights group PETA. Reeves has said, "Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries". Reeves reportedly gave approximately $80 million of his $114 million earnings from The Matrix to the people of the special effects and makeup departments. However, this has been disputed. Reeves negotiated a back-end deal, relinquishing his contractual right to a percentage of the earnings from the ticket sales, to allow a more extensive special effects budget for the rest of the franchise.
Reeves co-founded a production company, Company Films, with friend Stephen Hamel. An avid motorcyclist, Reeves co-founded Arch Motorcycle Company, which builds and sells custom motorcycles. In 2017, Reeves and Alexandra Grant founded book publisher, X Artists' Books (also known as XAB). He has written two books: Ode to Happiness and Shadows, both of which are collaborations with Grant; he provided the text to her photographs and art.
In a 2005 article for Time magazine, Lev Grossman called Reeves' "Hollywood's ultimate introvert". He has been described as a workaholic, charming and "excruciatingly shy". During the production of Constantine, director Francis Lawrence commented on his personality, calling him "hardworking" and "generous". His co-star Shia LaBeouf said, "I've worked with him for a year and a couple of months, but I don't really know him that much".Erwin Stoff of 3 Arts Entertainment has served as Reeves' agent and manager since he was 16, and produced many of his films. Stoff said Reeves "is a really private person" and keeps his distance from other people.
In 2010, an image of Reeves became an internet meme after photographs of him were published, sitting on a park bench with a sad facial expression. The images were posted on the 4chan discussion board and were soon distributed via several blogs and media outlets, leading to the "Sad Keanu" meme being spread on the internet. An unofficial holiday was created when a Facebook fan page declared June 15 as "Cheer-up Keanu Day".
Reeves' casual personality and ability to establish rapport with his manner have been observed by the public, leading him to be dubbed the "Internet's boyfriend". In March 2019, Reeves was flying into Los Angeles when the flight was diverted to Bakersfield, California. Instead of waiting for the plane's repair, he arranged for a van to take him and other passengers into the city. While filming Bill & Ted Face the Music in July 2019, Reeves and other cast members came across a house with a banner reading "You're Breathtaking", a meme that had come out of Reeves' appearance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2019 for the game Cyberpunk 2077. Reeves took time to sign the banner and talk to the family. When asked if he could time travel, Reeves said he would like to travel back to the 1600s, to see if the works of William Shakespeare were written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter calculated that Reeves had earned $250 million from The Matrix franchise, making him one of the highest paid actors. In 2005, Reeves received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition for his work in film.
Prolific in film since 1984, Reeves' most acclaimed and highest-grossing films, according to the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, include: River's Edge (1987), Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Speed (1994), The Matrix (1999), John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter2 (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), and Toy Story 4 (2019). Reeves' has won three MTV Movie Awards, and received two Best Actor nominations at the Saturn Awards. He was nominated twice for a People's Choice Award: Favorite Male Movie Star and Favorite Action Movie Star, for his performance in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019).
Keanu Charles Reeves, whose first name means 'cool breeze over the mountains' in Hawaiian, was born September 2, 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon.