Keanu Reeves profile
Keanu Reeves in
"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
Keanu Reeves

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Will people please stop giving Keanu such a hard time? This is a man who has created some of the best and most memorable characters in film history. Either as the mop-topped moron Ted or the heroic hacker Neo, Keanu has become a pop culture icon whether you like it or not. Before playing air guitar and saving the world from machines, Keanu Reeves was raised by his Chinese-Hawaiian father and British mother in Australia when his parents suddenly split. Keanu followed his mother to Canada and after attending a series of high schools (including the Toronto School for the Performing Arts), he eventually dropped out. Keanu loved performing on stage, but even though he had studied with Second City for a year, it was still hard to find work as a young actor. Keanu paid the bills with a few commercials and a little bit of stage work, but it wasn’t until his short role in the hockey film “Youngblood” that he actually believed that he could make it in the film industry.

Keanu packed his bags and headed for Hollywood where he immediately found work in a number of made-for-TV movies and a few low-budget films. He quickly landed a gig in the Oscar-winning “Dangerous Liaisons” before signing on to perhaps his best known work, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” More supporting roles followed and Keanu was making his way up the Hollywood ladder, albeit with plenty of negative criticism and slanderous rumors following him wherever he went. In 1994, complete with a new look, Keanu was cast in the action blockbuster “Speed” and quickly proved to critics that he had what it took to become a genuine movie star. He followed up the box-office hit with a series of crappy sci-fi films and a handful of small dramas before entering the Wachowski’s “The Matrix” in 1999 as the lead hero, Neo.

Since then, the success of the film has garnered the actor more critical respect, as well as some additional media attention for his three-man rock band, Dogstar. It had also become more known of the past projects that the actor did in fact turn down in place of smaller, more artistic films. Among them include Oliver Stone’s “Platoon,” which Keanu turned down for its violence; the Val Kilmer role in “Heat;” and the action-comedy “Showtime,” which would have originally starred Reeves and Chris Rock in place of Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy.

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Keanu On The Web

An online database of Keanu's film and TV career.

Keanu on the Screen

While Keanu's choppy acting makes him look completely lost hopeless in a majority of his films, Keanu sure knows how to pick his scripts. Among the numerous mainstream films that he's appeared in over the past fifteen years, there are probably only two films that really stink: "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Chain Reaction." Everything else in the Keanu catalog is fair game, like the excellent cult classics "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Point Break." Some of his better credits also include his work in "Bram Stoker's Dracula," "Little Buddha," "The Devil's Advocate," "The Replacements," "Hardball" and "Something's Gotta Give." Keanu's career would never have lifted off, though, without the success of "Speed," and it would have never been revived without his work in the "Matrix" trilogy.

Keanu Says

On his career:
"I used to have nightmares that they would put 'He played Ted' on my tombstone."

On turning down "Speed 2":
"I just felt that if I went into that picture, I just... wouldn't have come up out of the water."

On intelligence:
"I'm a meathead. I can't help it, man. You've got smart people and you've got dumb people."

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