Keanu Charles Reeves is a Canadian actor, director, and musician. 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 such major directors as Stephen Frears; Gus Van Sant; and Bernardo Bertolucci. 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." A repeated theme in roles he has portrayed is that of saving the world, including the characters of Ted Logan, Buddha, Neo, Johnny Mnemonic, John Constantine and Klaatu. 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.
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Hi reddit. Keanu Reeves here. You probably know me from way back in the past, River's Edge, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Point Break, SPEED, The Devil's Advocate, The Matrix Trilogy, A Scanner Darkly, My Own Private Idaho, and others, plus my latest film Man of Tai Chi.
I look forward to speaking about them all. And others. AMAA.
Pre-proof tweet (since I don't use social media) https://twitter.com/radiustwc/status/391581880002174976
I have to go now, but it was lovely to spend some time with all of you on a Sunday afternoon. Thank you. And for those of you who would like to hear it, for you... Whoa.
Hey Keanu. In 1993 I went to LA, and on my way back from illegally visiting the Hollywood sign, I accidentally landed in your yard. Metallica was blaring on your stereo as you were fixing your Norton motorcycle. I asked you for the quickest way out to get a cab, and you pointed towards your fence. My friend and I were a little star struck, and just stood there. You said that you'd offer us a ride, but showed your dirty hands to show you were busy. I then asked you if you were the guy from Bill and Ted's and you replied with a "kyaaa".
I know it was a short interaction, and I was most likely bothering you, but I still wanted to thank you for that..
I also remember your garage door windows were spray painted with "merry Christmas" and "Joyeux Noel"
Edit: just remembered it was a Norton motorcycle
Sorry I couldn't give you a ride!
What's a fun fact that most people probably don't know about you?
For a long time in Los Angeles when I first moved there, when I was 20 years old, it was such a new world and so I saw some guys at a gas station once who had hockey equipment in their car, and I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were playing street hockey, so I asked them if I could play. So I became involved in a street hockey game that took place every weekend for over 10 years, every weekend, red versus black. We would take holidays off and sometimes summers, but the game was going on for over 10 years. That was cool to be a part of. It was a cool thing to have happen. Made some friends.
Are you immortal?
No, but energy cannot be created or destroyed they say.
What do you think about the picture of you sitting on a bench looking sad?
I think that a picture can tell a thousand words, and none of them can be right. Or true. I'm absolutely a very happy person.
Greetings Mr. Reeves! Do you still planning to do the Cowboy Bepop movie?
Or Bill & Ted 3?! That would be Excellent
Edit. Again, Thanks for answering. This AMA is... See you, Space Cowboy
Cowboy Bebop does not look like it is going to happen with me in it. The script that was written was great and amazing, but it would cost like half a billion dollars to make it, and while I wished and hoped I would have done that project, we are working on trying to get Bill & Ted 3. There's a script and we are trying to put it together.
You've played 8 characters named variants of John: Johnny Utah, John Constantine, Johnny Mnemonic, Jonathan Harker, Don John, John Proctor, John Wall and now John Wick. What's with all the Johns? Coincidence, or something more?
You know, I was thinking that just the other day... as I was going to set for John Wick. I was actually counting them as well. I think there's something, for some reason, the name John is attractive to storytellers to hang their characters on.
It seems to embue or resonate with a strong, open quality.
What is your favorite movie
Here's some: Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, Stroszek.
You’ve done The Matrix movies. You’ve done Man of Tai Chi. With that being said, what is your favorite martial art?
You know, I love all martial arts. I don't practice any particular form or style, but yeah, I don't have a favorite.
But it was great during the making of Man of Tai Chi, to spend time with the leading man Tiger, who has studied Tai Chi since he was a kid, and it was great to talk about how we could bring some of the ideas of Tai Chi into the story of Man of Tai Chi, and some of the philosophies.
I'd like to start off by saying that I LOVED constantine. It also introduced me to A Perfect Circle, which has since been one of my favourite bands. Which leads me to the question...
What kind of music do you listen to, and which song is stuck in your head right now, if any at all?
Thanks for reading!
The music I'm listening to right now? Let's see, I just got the new Nine Inch Nails recording. I really like this other band Metz, just got their first album which was great. And I've been listening to a song that I really like from LCD soundsystem, and the song is "Someone Great."
burden of fame question: if a fan sees you on the street, does a quick 'hi keanu' bother you? what about a stop and chat? would you prefer people see you and then not bother you at all?
It's always nice to say hi to folks. You know, it really depends on the moment. Sometimes you have the time to hang out, and other times you don't. But yeah, it's always nice to say hi.
Hey, Keanu! What was your reaction when you first saw your face on a meme?
My first experience with that was Sad Keanu, and I thought it was funny!
What's your favorite kung fu movie?
AUGHHH that's a tough question! Today I will start with "Enter the Dragon" as the source. "Fist of Legend." "Tai Chi Master."
Point Break is one of my favorite movies and I've seen it countless times. Got any interesting behind the scenes stories?
Thanks for the AMA. Love your work.
Point Break! Mmmm. Let's see, interesting stories...you know, it was an exciting film to be a part of. Kathryn Bigelow the director really wanted to push the boundaries of what actors could do and with the camera, trying to put the audience and inspire the audience of viewers with the environments, so the surfing, the skydiving, in a way that even the excitement of a bank robbery. And I think all of the actors and the crew felt that, the fight scenes, so there was a real energy from her that I think came through the picture. And working with the wonderful Patrick Swayze, he really spearheaded that as well in that he was jumping out of airplanes while he was filming, the other actors were jumping out of airplanes, I was getting to go surfing, everyone was getting into it. No one robbed any banks. The party scene had some partying going on. And I remember actually I was in LA and Kathryn was casting for the female lead and I remember I saw this woman come in driving this old beat up Cadillac and I was to meet actresses that day, and I saw this woman and I said "that's the actress," and it turned out to be Lori Petty, and I was right. And she's amazing.
I have heard that you lived a simple life even though that you have earned a lot of money from your awesome movies. Why is it that you have chosen the path of life like that when you could have been in mason and expensive cars? Second question do you still have contact with some of the people you have made movie with?
You know, I've been very fortunate in my life. Which I am grateful for. And I guess it's just to my tastes to keep life as simple as I can.
What are your favourite books?
Where do I begin? Here are some. As a kid, we can start with the Count of Monte Christo. We could start with the Lord of the Rings. Then we could get into finding as a teenager getting into Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Notes from Underground, The Brothers Karamazov, we could get into Jim Thompson, we could go into some William Gibson, then we could do In Search of Lost Time by Proust. And then just getting into the works of Philip K. Dick and recently I was reading Don Delillo, Cosmopolis, I like Updike's the Rabbit Series.
Do you keep any props or stuff like that from your movies? Like the jacket and sunglasses from The Matrix, or the surf board from Point Break?
I have kept a couple of things. I don't have the surfboard, but I think I have a coat from the first Matrix. I have the sword from Hamlet, I kept a lot of working scripts, I have the jersey from The Replacements, I've got Constantine's lighter and watch, I have Bill & Ted's shorts (Ted's shorts), I used to have the leather jacket from My Own Private Idaho but I gave that to a friend. And I think that's it.
Hi Keanu, thanks for doing this. Out of all the movies you have been in, what has been your favorite movie to film and why?
Also, did you get to eat any of those meatball subs from Point Break and how were they? Or did Gary Busey eat them all?
That is a very difficult question to answer. I've been lucky enough to have many great experiences. I would say in the 80's, River's Edge. I think working on My Own Private Idaho, working on Little Buddha, The Devil's Advocate, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix Trilogy, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, Dracula, recently Henry's Crime, Generation Um... let's see, and there's more. I did a film, my first feature in Los Angeles called The Night Before. It was my first lead in LA in the 80s and it was a great experience to start the career off. I'll finish with that.
Gary Busey got the sandwiches. I had to go run and chase the bad guy.
Thank you for some of the greatest action movies of all time.
• Like your life, your movies span many centuries. Which film left the biggest impression on you?
• Is there any chance you and Sandra Bullock could get together for a proper Speed sequel, or at least another action movie?
First of all, thank you, I'm glad you like some of the films I've been in. Before the Matrix, Point Break was really my first big break into action movies. And then with SPEED, I was given the opportunity to try, I worked with a wonderful stunt coordinator called Gary Hines who put me under the bus, and let me dangle down elevator shafts, and I think that those two films really helped prepare me for what I was getting into in terms of the Matrix. Definitely when I was going into the Matrix and meeting the Wachowskis, I knew that we were going in to do something that was special. There was four months of training before filming. And the ambition of the project was really exciting to be a part of, and then to actually be on the set and realizing the vision of the directors was one of the special moments of my life.
That sounds GOOD! I would love to be able to do that. I don't think it would be on a SPEED project. But you know, you never know in the future, if there's something we could do.
You totally still have the phone booth time machine from Bill and teds excellent adventure in your living room don't you?
I WISH! That was a rickety phone booth they had. It's lost in time.
Hey Keanu, thanks for doing this AMA!
Feel free to ignore this question as it's personal, but would you mind sharing your fondest memory of River Pheonix? My Own Private Idaho still remains one of my favorite films; the chemistry between you two was incredible.
Also, I know you played hockey earlier in life but could no longer play do to an injury. Do you still follow hockey at any level? If so, who's your team?
He was a remarkable human person and actor. We got along very well, and I miss him. I think of him often.
Yes! Hockey! Injury, my knees are a little beat up, and for a goalie that's tough. Favorite team, I don't really have one.
Just wanted to say you were the bomb in Sweet November. I'm a man and I cry every time I watch that movie, which is probably too often.
Yeah, Charlize Theron is lovely in that film. Heartbreaking.
Do like to air guitar in real life? One of my friends asked this and we've been debating for a while.
You know, I'm not an air guitar afficionado. But once in a while, the air guitar comes out. Especially when you first hear (especially for me) that chord or that moment in the song when the electric guitar cuts in, or blazes out, once in a while you just got to strum all those strings in the air.
In an industry where so many people lose themselves, how do you keep your soul and stay true to self? You are so generous, kind and such a beautiful spirit, how do you stay grounded? Signed, I've been waiting for the past 20 some years. :)
Well thank you for saying that. And it's easy to stay grounded. The ground is very close. And we walk on it every day.
Do you ever just look up at the stars?
I believe the other night we had an eclipse of the moon! Which was cool. In the cities, I wish you could see more of the stars, but I always love when I'm in places where you can see that blanket, that twirling, twinkling. That is one of my favorite things.
Do people ever come up to you when you're, say, in an elevator, and quote any of your more renowned lines from the Matirix, Point Break, or Bill & Ted? If so, what's your reaction generally like? Do you ever mess about with your fans and tell them you're actually an FBI agent with a straight face?
I remember going to an LA Avengers arena football game and then all of a sudden, you appeared on the screen and people lost their shit and started cheering because you were there. Is it safe to say you're a fan of arena football?
On the street yes, sometimes people call out lines. Which is usually pretty fun. And yeah, my friend actually invited me to that arena football game. It was a good night.
What's your favorite hobby?
I don't really have a hobby. Is reading a hobby?
Whenever I see AMAs for celebrities, I never end up having any questions. I just end up wanting to thank them for whatever, and then decide it will get burried so I leave. For you, I'll give it a whirl.
Thank you SO MUCH for giving us so many awesome movies over the years. The Matrix Trilogy pretty much defined my entire movie fandom for most of high school, and a few years beyond. Whenever you're in a movie, I know I can just sit and enjoy myself for a couple hours. You've been a real gem in Hollywood, and I hope you keep at it for a long time.
What's your favorite kind of beer?
I will have to say a Pilsner or a Guinness.
Given your documented affinity for sandwiches you should check out Alidoro in SoHo and get a Pinocchio on Semolina.
What's your favorite sandwich in NYC?
That sounds yummy! You know, I had my first pastrami on rye when I came to New York. That's where I was introduced to pastrami on rye with mustard and russian, with a Coca-cola on crushed ice. And the kosher pickle.
Of all the characters you have portrayed in your movies, which one did you feel was the most like the real you?
Mmmmm. When I think of a role, I start with my own life experience and who I am. And I get to meet this character. And I think we come to a third place, which is me and the character and transforming into this third entity to tell the story. So all of these characters have some DNA of mine, I share it with the character.
Dying of excitement! You're an absolute idol to me. My question(s) is how was it filming Bill and Ted? Did it excite you or was it a bit tedious? Also, how does it compare to other films you've been in? It's my personal favorite. Thanks for taking the time to do this AMAA!
Working on Bill & Ted was certainly an excellent adventure. I love those characters. I love the spirit of the film. I like the eternal goodness of these characters. I always thought of them as beautiful fools. They bring a wonder and naivete to the harsh realities of the world. I found them fun to play, and also working with Alex Winter was a great experience. We shared the same view of these characters and the film, and we had a lot of laughs making those movies. And Alex and I are friends.
Hi Keanu, loved your most recent film. My question is, what inspired you to direct a film?
You know, I started to think about directing I guess around 2008? I think it was just through my life experiences, and I've always as an actor thought about the role in the story, and I just found myself starting to think about telling a story. And as I developed the screenplay with Tiger for the five years that we did, I originally was not going to direct, but as we kept working on the story, it kind of filled my vision and my heart, and it became the story that I wanted to tell. And so I directed it.
While you lived in Toronto what was favourite place to go or hang around? Thanks, for doing the ama!
There was a really great hamburger place called Licks. I really used to love hanging out by the grade school I used to go to, I played a lot of street hockey and basketball there. We had wonderful parks, Ramsden Park, we had chestnut fights running around Ramsden Park. The Bloor Street Cinema, I would go see movies there. The University Cinema.
How was it working with Dennis Hopper?
I first met Dennis Hopper on River's Edge, and Blue Velvet had not come out yet, but he was really open and congenial and you know, it was cool to sit and have lunch with the guy. But he was talking about his work, Frederic Elmes was shooting the River's Edge and he had shot Blue Velvet and Dennis Hopper was sharing the story of the guy he had just finished playing, just off the hook in this film, and I had been really affected by Eraserhead by David Lynch, and he was just really an open, cool, hanging out guy. To me, he is someone I grew up watching and was inspired by in Apocalypse Now and Easy Rider, and then when I got to work with him on SPEED, there was a part of me that was like "i'm doing a fight scene with Dennis Hopper" and I said to myself "My! How extraordinary!"
He was just so open, had a wonderful sense of humor and outlook on life that he shared, so it was really cool to have been in his life.
If you could tell your past self one thing what would it be?
It's a tough question. Today I will choose: at that intersection of Hollywood and Gower, the car's not going to stop for the yellow light, so don't go through there.
Hi Keanu, big fan. Just one question,
What's your favorite TV show? Thanks!
You know, I don't have a favorite TV show, but I do know that I love watching The Olympics. Whenever the Olympics are on, I just love watching them, the moments that you get these incredible athletes dedicating so much of their lives to the moments that happen in the Olympics, and it is great to be able to witness that.
Who is a director you'd like to work with in the future? Any genres you'd be really interested in doing?
Today I will choose Martin Scorsese. Steve McQueen. David Fincher. I'd love to work with Rebecca Miller again.
I'd love to do a Western. And also a musical.
We're all familiar with your work on screen, but do you make time for the stage at all? Are there any specific roles, Shakespeare or otherwise, that you yearn to play?
Yeah, I mean I haven't been onstage since 1997 I think...I think about it often, actually. I would love to work with Richard Maxwell from the New York City players, and I would love the chance to play Macbeth.
When preparing for Man of Tai Chi which style did yous look into for the movie. On a side, if you have the time/inclination I'd be interested to hear your opinions on tai chi (either as a whole as 1 of the internal martial arts or as the fragmented disagreeing sects it is made of).
For Man of Tai Chi, the protagonist Tiger, we decided to not use a particular form of Tai Chi so we didn't use Yang or Chen style. We used elements from all of those, different schools and forms of Tai Chi, and we called it Ling Kong Tai Chi, because we wanted the idea of this character wanting to create his own style and not to make it so specific to one style to keep it open.