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Creator / Keanu Reeves

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"I'm sorry my existence is not very noble or sublime."

Keanu Charles Reeves (born September 2, 1964) is a Lebanese-born Canadian actor of English, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Irish descent, best known for mixing a subdued speaking style with powerful and precise physical acting. After all, he knows Kung Fu.

Reeves made his feature film debut in 1986's Youngblood; his breakthrough role, coming three years later, would be as Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which he reprised for future films. His career has been marked by work in numerous genres alongside several periods of critical and commercial ups and downs, but his undisputed heights of stardom so far have been as Neo in The Matrix series (beginning in 1999) and as John Wick in the namesake series (beginning in 2014), both of which made great use of his ability to play stoic, badass action heroes.

Previously believed to be dumb (most likely due to his recognition as Ted, who alongside Bill is famously stupid, and his shyness in interviews), Reeves is actually ridiculously well-read and contemplative. On several occasions, he has talked about the philosophical meaning he sees in his characters, even the silly ones. He also believes that every project, no matter the subject matter, should have the highest-quality cast possible, and has been known to give up his upfront salary so that films can hire top-level talent that wouldn't be affordable otherwise. He's additionally famous as an incredibly Nice Guy and purportedly one of the most normal, well-adjusted people in Hollywood. How far this is based on fact, only those close to him can say, but one possible translation of his first name is "The Coolness"note , so...

Reeves has been creatively showcased in many of his more prominent films as a stoic loner who possesses tremendous powers beyond the comprehension of mortals and is out to save the world. He's also known as a comic actor, and his turns in The Gift (2000), The Watcher and Man of Tai Chi show that he has a little-utilized or recognized talent for playing very scary, creepy heavies. Despite this, Hollywood has insisted on casting him as a Leading Man Action Hero, contributing to his reputation for a limited range.

He's also known for having a sizable following on the Internet for a variety of reasons, many of them revolving around memes, his Nice Guy stature, or both. These include his affinity for saying "Whoa" earlier in his career, his tendency to ponder conspiracies, the likelihood of him being an immortal, his wager of eleventy billion dollars, his complimentary word of choice being "breathtaking", and his status as one of the biggest Woobies in Hollywood through the "Sad Keanu" meme started on 4chan.Explanation Unsurprisingly, he is annoyed by the attention this has garnered him, though he's also stated that he found the "Sad Keanu" meme funny. He also has a glowing reputation on Reddit, with an entire community dedicated to him under the name "Keanu Reeves Being Awesome" having hundreds of thousands of followers.

In 2013, he directed his first film, Man of Tai Chi.

Outside of movies, he's a bassist, most famously for the defunct band Dogstar, who have reunited in 2023 for a tour and a new album.

In 2020, Boom! Studios launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund BRZRKR, a Comic Book co-written by Keanu and Matt Kindt with art by Ron Garney about an immortal warrior who looks a lot like the man himself. Reality Subtext is perhaps best left to speculation.

Has starred in:

Keanu Reeves' works provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Adam Westing: He has so many well-known roles with invokedMemetic Mutation that almost any of his appearances or interviews are immediately filled with a bunch of jokes and references to the Matrix or Bill and Ted.
  • Badass Biker: Many of his roles have him kicking ass on a motorcycle. It may not be coincidental that he co-owns a custom-build motorbike company.
  • Chewing the Scenery: As Ted, and during the angry rants of John Wick.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In his most famous roles, he's almost always wearing dark colored clothing. Of course, most of these iconic roles are ultimately heroic.
  • Dull Surprise: A common criticism of his acting. He really manages to make it work for him in Man of Tai Chi, where it makes his character come off as even more sociopathic, in The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), where it helps him come across as an alien emissary wearing a human suit, and most of all, in John Wick where he can turn Dull Surprise into a terrifying amount of Tranquil Fury.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: He has fattened, bulked, and shaved his head for some roles. He's also gone through an incredible amount of weapons training for the John Wick films, ensuring that his gunfighting skills are second-to-none in his role as the nigh-unstoppable assassin.
  • Fake American: He was born in Lebanon and raised in Canada, but most of his roles are Americans. In total fairness, his estranged father was American (being born in Hawaii and responsible for most of the multi-continent ancestry soup mentioned elsewhere on this page) and he did briefly live in New York as a kid.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Some of his performances, particularly as an abusive redneck in The Gift may show such for those who are only familiar with the style he's known for.
    • Keanu spent some time in college as a hockey goaltender and even considered playing professionally before an injury led him to acting instead. Fans of both Keanu and hockey say being a goalie explains a lot about him. (Goalies have a reputation for being...a little kooky.)
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: He had a solid career for about a decade, but the mega-success of The Matrix placed a spotlight on his limited acting style. He never completely stopped working, but the dominant conversation for just about any movie he was in afterwards was Dull Surprise. It wasn't until about John Wick that public opinion started shifting more in his favor, talking more about him being a Nice Guy in real life, his exceptional physical presence, and ability to convey Tranquil Fury, peaking in 2019's "Keanussance" where his roles in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Toy Story 4, Always Be My Maybe and his surprise involvement in Cyberpunk 2077 made Keanu perhaps the most widely hyped actor over 50 in Hollywood.
  • I Know Karate: Somehow averted in real life even as it shows up frequently in his career.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: He's described The Neon Demon, one of his lesser known films and certainly one of the more unusual, as his favorite of his own films.
  • Meme Acknowledgment: He was a bit annoyed at first by the attention given to him by "Sad Keanu" but later found himself enjoying most of the subsequent memes about him thanks in no part to his apparent realization that a lot of these were done out of genuine affection for him. He later turned "Sad Keanu" into an Ascended Meme by including a Shout-Out to it in his comic BRZRKR.
  • One-Book Author: Man of Tai Chi is the only movie he directed as of 2024.
  • One-Man Army: His characters in action movies very often play directly with this, turning his into Showy Invincible Hero with a phlegmatic poker face that methodically destroys hordes of enemies. In particular, in the second Matrix, Neo literally single-handedly kick the ass to hundreds of enemies in one fight. His reputation reached the point that extremely potent antifungal compounds were named after him because they're both so deadly.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Whenever he's supposed to do something different (British in Dracula, Southern US in Devil's Advocate) Keanu's Canadian accent will slip through at some point.
  • Plays Great Ethnics: Reeves' mixed ancestry allows for this. He's mostly played Caucasians or characters of uncertain ethnicity but has played a couple of Asians as well.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Neo, John Wick and Constantine are Trope Codifier of this.
  • Star-Making Role: He was already well-known by the 1990s but The Matrix catapulted him to household name status.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Is 6'1" tall, slim, dark-haired and young-looking for his age.
  • Those Two Actors: With Winona Ryder, with whom he appears in Bram Stoker's Dracula, A Scanner Darkly, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Destination Wedding.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: Point Break (1991) is the first action movie which he starred in and the first film where he played an Action Hero, while his past career was mainly composed of teenage movies and arthouse. Some critics even criticized the film because of this, fearing that with this Keanu would ruin his serious career.
  • Totally Radical: As Ted in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. A very common way of parodying his later works is to have him acting like Ted from Bill and Ted rather than his usual monotone.