It's common knowledge that Keanu Reeves is beloved. As an actor, many others in the industry have spoken of his kindness and his ability to bring out the best in others. Many of his characters are iconic, from Neo to John Wick to the righteous time traveler Ted. He has appeared in almost every genre from comedies to action epics to queer indie dramas.
While we hear about how wonderful he is and see how funny he is in interviews, Reeves is also a dedicated and hardworking actor. From the endless hours he spends researching a character to the months of exercise, diet, and training it takes him to take on his more physically demanding roles, the man is more than just a kind personality.
Here are some stories from set that prove his dedication to the craft. Vote up your favorites by clicking the arrows.
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
“There were no paranormal events that took place on the film that I know of. Thank God!” said Reeves, referring to production on Constantine. Spiritual warfare may not be a typical concern on movie sets, but Constantine is about an occult detective battling demons, so the concerns may not be completely unwarranted.
In some movies, actors prepare by learning how to hold a gun or a sword, but Constantine is a film about exorcisms, so Reeves went to learn from an exorcist. Interestingly enough, his concerns were mostly practical. As Reeves put it, "I went with an exorcist for a bit. I just want to know really practical things, like how do you hold someone possessed by the devil."
- Photo: Warner Bros.278 VOTES
The Matrix is known for its kung fu just as much as it is for its sci-fi set pieces. Yet, that kung fu training got off to a rocky start. As it turns out, thanks to a herniated disk, Reeves was in a neck brace for his first day of Matrix training. To make matters worse, a couple of days into practice, Hugo Weaving had to start using crutches thanks to trouble with his hip. While Reeves and company obviously made it through training alive and then went on to create a mega-hit, Reeves's neck did continue to bother him throughout the months of training.
After recovering from his hip injury, Weaving hurt himself even further by cracking two of his ribs during training. At that point, though, the actors had already been through so much that Weaving reportedly shrugged it off, saying, "Oh, who cares?"
In the fourth John Wick installment, fans saw Reeves behind a barrel of a gun and behind the wheel. While in Paris to participate in a duel, the character must drive around the Arc de Triomphe multiple times with a whole army of assassins gunning for him.
Like a fight scene, a lot of planning and coordination went into pulling off the car stunts. Reeves trained for three months to build up what the actor and his team call his “toolbox” in order to shoot the scenes. He told Total Film all about his driving stunts:
We took the car-driving to the next level, which I really enjoy. There’s 180s, forward-into-reverse 180s, reverse into-forward 270s, drifting… So it was really fun to get a chance to learn those skills, and to play.
- Photo: John Wick: Chapter 4 / Lionsgate492 VOTES
Eagle-eyed fans of the John Wick series may have noticed the character holds his gun in his right hand. Stans of Keanu Reeves may know that the actor is actually left-handed.
Instead of adjusting the character's preferred hand to Reeve's, he and the stunt team decided it would be cool if the character was ambidextrous. Director Chad Stahelski told the Reelblend podcast about the switch.
We thought it’d be cool when he switched to the left hand. So if you watch the nunchuck fight, you’ll see him. Again, you do the close-up of the switch, we try not to do that. But like, in the middle of the fight, you’ll see him switch hands, he’s completely ambidextrous in the movie.
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He Took His Prop Guns Home To Train Around His House For 'John Wick: Chapter 2'
Cool movies feature cool actors interacting with cool props - and sometimes, it's hard for those cool things to part ways. Take Ryan Reynolds, for example, who, after struggling for years to get Deadpool made, absolutely refused to leave without his costume. Or, there's Reeves, who seemed to love his guns as much as his character John Wick.
John Wick, the titular protagonist of John Wick, is an assassin whose very name strikes fear into the hearts of his homicidal peers. For Reeves to convincingly portray such a highly trained killer, he spent three months in action-star boot camp. Apparently, the training didn't stay at camp, though, as Reeves continued to hone his skills while at home.
Unlike Reynolds, Reeves didn't bring his props home for fun. Instead, he brought a gun back to his home to continue his training. Reeves elaborated on that, saying,
Basically just take the gun home, start walking around, practice spying rooms, practice your draws. And with John Wick, it’s practice your reloads, transitions from weapon to weapon, footwork, and then kind of coming up with the John Wick style.
While becoming John Wick required months of practice and training, apparently not all of the fight choreography needed for John Wick: Chapter 3 was mapped out in advance. Reeves said that "this one has the least amount of choreography finished before I go to fight. When I did the fight with Common, that fight was choreographed. I don't have that, so I kind of learn them - and if I do, I get it the day before or the day of. The choreography I did today, I learned today. So, we make sh*t up on the day."
The intensive John Wick training and lack of advanced choreography may seem incongruous, but one actually allows for the other. According to Reeves,
Because I did extra training, they know that they can - they have a toolbox. So, Keanu knows these 21 throws, and he knows these things, and 50 whatever moves, whatever. So, that’s what we have to play with. Then I just show up.