Who is Keanu Reeves?
Keanu Reeves, a Canadian actor recognized for his nobility in the Hollywood film business, is a humble and down-to-earth performer who is not afraid to share his accomplishment with his co-stars and crew. The gentle actor famously donated the majority of his profits from the blockbuster trilogy ‘The Matrix’ to the film’s visual effects and costume design teams, believing that they were the true heroes of the film. He also gave up millions in order for his production company to be able to hire top performers for his films, such as Al Pacino for ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ and Gene Hackman for ‘The Replacement.’ Reeves had an emotionally troubled upbringing since his father abandoned him and his mother when he was just three years old, and his mother later married three more times. He visited Sydney, New York, and Toronto with his mother before deciding to go to Los Angeles permanently at the age of 15 to pursue his acting career. Many blockbuster successes have been directed by Reeves, including ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Matrix Reloaded,’ ‘The Matrix Revolutions,’ ‘The Devil’s Advocate,’ ‘Speed,’ and ‘Constantine.’ He is a hermit who avoids the media and prefers ballroom dancing and surfing over anything else. In his life, he has experienced numerous tragedies, including the birth of his stillborn daughter ‘Ava,’ the loss of his longtime partner Jennifer Syme, and the death of his good friend and actor River Phoenix. Reeves made his directing debut in 2013 with the film ‘Man of Tai Chi.’
Childhood & Early Years
Samuel Nowlin Reeves and Patricia Reeves gave birth to Keanu Reeves on September 2, 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon. His father was a Chinese and Hawaiian-American geologist, while his mother was an English showgirl. In Hawaiian, Reeves’ first name means ‘cold air across the mountains.’ When he was three years old, his parents split.
Reeves and his mother used to travel around a lot, and he had a lot of stepfathers. Reeves and his mother moved to Sydney, Australia, after his parents’ legal divorce, where she worked as a costume designer. His half sister Kim was born there, and the three of them relocated to New York once more, while his father relocated to Hawaii, where Reeves visited him until he was thirteen years old.
It was just a matter of time until his mother married director Paul Aaron for the second time in New York, and they all relocated to Toronto with him and became Canadian citizens. The pair divorced a year later, and Reeves’ mother married for the third time in 1976 to a rock promoter named Robert Miller, giving birth to Reeves’ second half-sister Karina. In 1994, she divorced for the fourth time and married a hairdresser named Jack Bond.
Reeves and his sisters were primarily reared by babysitters and grandparents because of their mental instability and geographic mobility. He attended four different high schools, including Etobicoke School of the Arts, where he was expelled, although he was not a particularly dedicated student. He went to De La Salle College and the Toronto School for the Performing Arts, among others. At the age of 17, he dropped out of college for good and chose to pursue acting in movies as a career. He was never a highly scholarly or studious young guy in high school; he was more interested in ice hockey and dramatics.
When Reeves was 15, he acted in a theatrical performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Leah Posluns Theatre. After that, he made his television debut in the sitcom ‘Hangin’In’ on CBC Television. In the 1980s, he worked on commercials for major companies such as Coca-Cola, short films such as ‘One Step Away,’ stage shows such as ‘Wolfboy,’ and more. He also conducted letters for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s TV kids show “Going Great” in 1984.
Reeves’ first drama picture, ‘River’s Edge,’ was released in 1986, and it depicted a group of teens who were touched by a murder. Following the success of this film, Reeves gained recognition and was given more and more roles in films suited to his age, such as ‘Permanent Record.’ In 1989, he starred as ‘Ted Logan’ in the film ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,’ and its sequel, ‘Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,’ was released in 1991. These films boosted Reeves’ career, but they also pigeonholed him as a “troubled youngster.” The media began to portray him as an idealistic adolescent.
In the film ‘My Private Idaho,’ alongside River Phoenix, Reeves played a young wealthy guy who spent more time with individuals from the lower stratum in an effort to overcome his conventional image and move forward from teen cinema. The film garnered positive reviews from reviewers and helped him dispel his reputation as a nerdy adolescent. He won the MTV award for ‘Most Desirable Male’ in 1992 for his role in the film ‘Point Break.’ Reeves continued to perform serious and significant parts in 1992’s ‘Dracula,’ in which he played an unfortunate lawyer who winds himself in a vampire’s lair.
With the release of ‘Speed’ in 1994, Keanu Reeves received the well-deserved popularity and status in Hollywood. He became a big-budget action star as a result of it. In the film, he collaborated with Sandra Bullock, a well-known actress. Even after the great success of ‘Speed,’ he continued to perform more experimental parts and accepted offers for supporting roles as long as the role was important to him and the film’s screenplay was well written. Even though he was offered about 11 million dollars to make ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control,’ a sequel to ‘Speed,’ he turned it down.
During the late 1990s, he appeared in films such as ‘A Walk in the Clouds,’ an American romantic drama in which he portrayed an army soldier who comes home after the war to settle down with his newlywed wife. It was based on the Italian film ‘Four Steps in the Cloud.’ He starred alongside Cameron Diaz in the American romantic comedy ‘Feeling Minnesota’ in 1996. Then it was time to tackle some large budget films like ‘Johnny Mnemonic,’ a sci-fi film released in 1995, and ‘Chain Reaction,’ an action thriller released in 1996.
After the huge success of ‘Speed,’ Reeves’ subsequent films did not do as well, but the American mystery-thriller ‘The Devil’s Advocate,’ released in 1997, catapulted his career. Along with Al Pacino and Charliez Theron, he starred in the film. The picture was a box office success, and several critics noted that Reeves’ acting talents were improving with time. However, there were others who believed he could have done better.
With Wachowski Brothers’ sci-fi film ‘The Matrix,’ Reeves’ career was about to reach new heights. The picture fared tremendously successful at the box office, and Reeves’ character, “Neo,” was an instant hit with both the public and reviewers. The popularity of this film led to the production of two further sequels: “The Matrix Reloaded (2003)” and “The Matrix Revolution (2003).” The trilogy was a success, and it helped him advance in his profession. He’d made a name for himself as a talented actor with a mature manner.
In the years between finishing the ‘Matrix’ trilogy, Reeves acted in films such as ‘The Gift’ in 2000, ‘The Watcher’ in 2000, ‘Sweet November’ in 2001- a love drama featuring Charlize Theron alongside him,’The Replacements’ in 2000, and ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ with Jack Nicholson. None of these films were particularly successful in the box office, and Reeve was chastised for his acting abilities. However, in 2005, the horror film ‘Constantine’ fared fairly well at the box office, and everyone began to speak about how amazing Reeves was once more.
In 2006, Reeve’s sci-fi film ‘A Scanner Darkly,’ based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, did fairly well at the box office, but his much-anticipated romantic drama ‘The Lake House,’ which he co-starred in with Sandra Bullock in ‘Speed,’ did not quite work out for him and his career, leaving audiences and fans disappointed. His subsequent films, such as ‘Street Kings’ in 2008, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ in 2008, and ‘The Private Life of Pippa Lee’ in 2009, performed only moderately well at the box office.
In 2010, Reeves starred in a number of low-budget films, including ‘Henry’s Crime’ and ‘Generation Um…,’ as well as a big-budget picture, ’47 Ronin.’ During the creation of these films, Reeves worked on his home-production and directorial debut, ‘Man of Tai Chi,’ a film based on the life of a well-known stuntman and his buddy Tiger Chen. ‘Man of Tai Chi’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and the Beijing Film Festival, where it was praised by action film director John Woo and won an award.
‘Side by Side,’ a documentary on the displacement of photochemical film by digital camera technology, was released in 2011. He spoke with industry heavyweights such as Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and others. In the same year, he published ‘Ode to Happiness,’ a book featuring pictures by Alexandra Grant.
Family & Personal Life
The loss of his co-star and close friend River Phoenix in 1993 shocked and broke down Reeves. In 1991, they co-starred in the film ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ Phoenix died of a drug overdose, and it was reported that both Phoenix and Reeves experimented with narcotics for their roles in the film, and Phoenix began consuming drugs around that time.
Keanu Reeves’ longterm girlfriend Jennifer Syme, a production assistant and part-time actress, gave birth to their stillborn child, dubbed ‘Ava,’ in 2000. Their breakup was precipitated by the tragedy, although they remained close friends after they parted ways.
Jennifer was murdered in a vehicle accident in 2001, barely a year after the birth of their stillborn baby Ava, while returning from Marilyn Manson’s party at her LA home. She was thought to have died as a result of driving while under the influence of narcotics and prescription medication. This saddened Reeves, who remarked in one of his interviews that “grief takes on different forms, but it never goes away.”
Reeves was said to be dating China Chow, a 38-year-old actress and daughter of restaurateur Michael Chow, in 2008. During the Cannes Film Festival, he made a ceremonial appearance with her. There were photographs going around the internet at the time of Chow and Reeves swimming topless in France. They broke up soon after, and Reeves was romantically linked to Parker Posey, an actress.
Reeves received a lot of attention on the internet in 2010 after someone uploaded a photo of him sitting on a bench, eating alone, and looking forlorn. It was posted on the 4chan message board. It quickly went popular on the internet, earning the moniker ‘Keanu is Sad’ or ‘Sad Keanu.’ When asked about the situation, Reeves told The Guardian, “It is hopefully transformational.” It’s the type of thing that transports you from one location to another — to look in the mirror and realize that things might always be worse. That statement irritates me: “Of course, things could always be worse!”
Keanu Reeves’ father was sentenced to ten years in prison for cocaine possession in Hawaii in 1994.
He was offered the part of Hamlet in ‘Heat’ with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, but he declined due to his existing engagement as Hamlet at Winnipeg’s Manitoba Theatre Centre in Canada. Val Kilmer was later cast in the role.
Reeves was a member of the band ‘Dogstar,’ and toured with them in the summer of 1995.
Reeves beat over Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt for the part of ‘Neo’ in ‘The Matrix.’
Kim Reeves, Reeves’ sister, was stricken with leukemia at the age of 38 in 2001 and battled it for years.
For the ‘The Matrix’ trilogy, Reeves made $150 million. He allegedly handed the majority of the money to the visual effects and costume design teams since he believed they were the true heroes of the film who made it a hit.
When he could easily make more, Reeves only charged a million dollars for ‘The Devil’s Advocate,’ so that the producers could pay Al Pacino for the film. He also took a wage reduction for ‘The Replacements’ in order for Gene Hackman to be able to appear in the film.
Keanu Reeves is not a Buddhist, contrary to popular assumption, but he claims to be interested in the religion.
Reeves suffers from dyslexia.
Before the filming of ‘The Matrix,’ he had martial arts training.
His sister is his closest companion.
Horseback riding, ballroom dancing, and surfing are among of his favorite pastimes.
In 1995, he was included to People Magazine’s list of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.”