If you asked me six months ago what celebrity I suspected would have the best summer of 2019, I wouldn’t have thought Keanu Reeves.
But here we are. He’s in three hit movies, has become a meme on social media, is shooting a sequel to his star-making role in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and was revealed to be a featured character in the highly anticipated video game, “Cyberpunk 2077.”
So why is this Keanu Reeves’ moment in the sun? I think it’s part longevity and partially because of his wholesome nature.
While Reeves is not what I would call a versatile actor — as he ranges from being a dopey dope with amazing luck to a stoic dope with awesome powers — he knows how to use his limited skill set to his advantage.
During the last three decades, Reeves has spearheaded multiple blockbusters, starting with “Bill & Ted” to 1999’s “The Matrix” and this summer’s “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.” While his filmography is undoubtedly littered with terrible movies (I shudder when I think of him re-teaming with Sandra Bullock in “The Lake House” or playing an alien in the remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”), there’s never been a fatal blow to his career.
Take the “John Wick” franchise. When the first installment was in pre-production, Reeves was coming off a string of massive flops like “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “47 Ronin.” Much like “The Matrix,” which was passed on by actors like Val Kilmer and Will Smith. Reeves saw the potential in the “John Wick” gun-toting, bullet-spraying action sequences and now, its third installment is the biggest R-rated film of the summer.
Reeves has been such a constant presence in pop culture that it seems like he hasn’t been appreciated until now. When he makes a self-effacing cameo appearance in the delightfully funny Netflix rom-com “Always Be My Maybe,” it’s a showcase of what a weirdly hilarious personality he is.
By all accounts, he seems to be a genuinely nice guy who wants nothing but the best for everyone. He’s funded multiple charities, including one dedicated to helping kids battle cancer (his sister was diagnosed with leukemia when she was young). Despite being in films that generate billions of dollars at the box office, he remains a humble, anxious everyman.
“Keanu — they think he’s putting on some kind of a fake face, when he’s stuttering, giving interviews on the red carpet and he looks away and looks uncomfortable. But he really is,” actor Peter Stormare told GQ.
When you see Reeves, at age 52, still kicking butt in the “John Wick” films, providing his voice in “Toy Story 4” and cracking wise in “Always Be My Maybe,” you wonder how he has the energy to do all that. His answer is that while it’s exhausting, he loves the process.
He told Uproxx: “The grueling is the gift, right? That part of it — the time it takes, the effort, all the creative — there’s so much collaboration in the action and people working together. It’s such a pleasure.”
And it’s pleasure to have him gracing our screens for the past 30 years.
Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live