Keanu Reeves has fought the odds and found success in the film industry. From early roles in films like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to more recent hits like John Wick, the actor continues to rank at the top of the box office charts. Reeves may be one of Hollywood’s top leading men, but fans still know little about his personal life. Read on to learn 18 little-known facts about the star recently dubbed “the Internet’s boyfriend”…
1.His Father Is Not A Part Of His Life
Reeves was three years old when his father left the family; it was a pivotal moment that the actor has reflected on briefly in a few interviews. After leaving, his absent father would go on to be charged and convicted of drug-related crimes. So, the future star as well as his sister would instead be raised by his mother. Along the way, various men would be a part of his life in the role of stepfather. In the ‘90s, his father reached out to Reeves, but the actor confessed that he never answered and had nothing else to say on the subject. There has been no further dialogue between the long-lost parent and his famous son.
2. Fox Would Not Work With Reeves After He Refused A Role In Speed 2
Speed was a huge hit for Fox, and the studio wanted to create a franchise based on this popular film. While Sandra Bullock was on board for another film, Reeves was not. For the actor, it was more than just money on the line. He also felt that the story was not good and his predictions proved correct when the studio went ahead with the sequel. Without Reeves and featuring a less-than-stellar story line, it became a box office disaster, ending any hopes of a franchise. After the fiasco, the studio refused to work with Reeves for over a decade.
3. Reeves Was Friends With River Phoenix
River Phoenix was on much of the same path as Reeves when they first met in the ‘80s. The actors met through Phoenix’s then-girlfriend Martha Plimpton, which would soon give the pair a chance to bring My Own Private Idaho to the big screen. This tale of male prostitutes was a marked departure for Reeves, showing film-goers that he could perform roles more serious than that of Ted or Johnny Utah. Unfortunately, several years later, Phoenix would die of a drug overdose outside of Los Angeles’ famous Viper Club. It was a sad end to the vibrant life and outstanding career Phoenix was building, with credits in films like Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
For Reeves, it was neither the first, nor the last, tragedy to hit his life…
4. His Daughter Was Stillborn
The actor knows grief all too well, especially when it comes to his own life. 1999 experienced a personal tragedy: his one and only child, a girl, was delivered stillborn. He and then-girlfriend Jennifer Syme would name the girl Ava. Tragedy would strike again soon as Syme, no longer with Reeves, would herself die in a freak car accident several years later. Both became pivotal points in his life, with some saying it contributed to the dramatic roles he would later take on. Most notable of those roles would be that of the assassin-turned-widower John Wick.
5. Reeves Played In The Band Dogstar
During the 90s, Reeves showed that he could do more than just act when he joined the band Dogstar. He took on bass duties for the band, which included performing live as well as on their CDs. Dogstar recorded several albums, the most well-known being 2000’s “Happy Ending.” Much of the attention the band received was through their bass player’s involvement. They made appearances on national talk shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and received write-ups from major publications. Ultimately, the run didn’t last long for the band, and they called it quits in the early 2000s.
6. He Gave The Matrix Stunt Team A Surprising Gift
The Matrix was yet another hit for the star, and he wasn’t about to forget the crew that helped make it happen. Reeves grew close to the stunt team during his time making the smash-hit trilogy, so it was only natural that he would pay back their hard work with a gift. Instead of the usual end-of-shoot items, he instead went for Harley Davidson motorcycles. That’s right: each member of the team brought home their own motorcycle, fitted just for them. The actor would also pay back those behind the scenes by ensuring special effects crew members got a fair bonus for their hard work.
7. He Was Not Born In Canada
Many fans of Reeves and his films assume the Canadian actor was born in, well, Canada. While the actor grew up in Canada, he can’t claim the country as his birthplace; that honor goes to Lebanon. To be more specific, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Only later would Reeves move with his mother to Canada. There, he would find several stepfathers along the way, one being an American. That connection would allow Reeves to remain a Canadian citizen as he pursued a career in Hollywood. After achieving success, he would continue to keep his Canadian status, opting not to become an American citizen.
8. Keanu Is A Hawai’ian Name
The name Keanu has become synonymous with the actor we all know and love, but the word was around long before he was born. In fact, the word Keanu is a Hawai’ian term that means “cool breeze over the mountains.” For Reeves, the name comes from his father’s side of the family; one of his uncles also happens to have the name. You see, through his father’s family, Reeves has both Hawai’ian and Chinese ancestry. His mother is of English descent.
9. Reeves Has Been Arrested
While he might be one of the nicest people in Hollywood, the actor does have a minor criminal record. Reeves’ first run in with the police came in 1993, when he was charged with driving under the influence. The actor admitted his guilt and the story went as quickly as it came among media outlets. He later received a lesser offence, a traffic citation for running a red light. Much like the DUI, Reeves did not contest the ticket; it has been the last time he had any disputes with authorities.
10. He Owns A Motorcycle Company
It’s no secret the actor loves motorcycles, something evident in his giveaway of Harley Davidson motorcycles while filming The Matrix. However, he took this love further by co-founding a motorcycle company called Arch Motorcycles. The company creates custom bikes for each customer and feature an attention to detail that made critics take notice. He’s not alone in the venture, either; the actor Gard Hollinger, also a bike builder, is his partner in this enterprise. The company continues to grow, with the actor promoting the motorcycles in videos and interviews.
11. Reeves Began Acting At Age 9
At just nine years of age, the actor was ready to take the stage. Instead of starting in film or TV, Reeves would begin his acting career in theater. In fact, his first role was in the play Damn Yankees. After successful roles in other plays, the actor felt it was time to try other mediums. His “breakout” TV role would come in a national commercial for Coke. The attention he earned from it was enough to help Reeves land a role in the film Youngblood and later River’s Edge. With River’s Edge, the actor would have a chance to show casting directors a bigger acting range as well as show off the leading-man good looks necessary for him to be later cast in Point Break.
12. Not One, But Two Stalkers Have Broken Into His Home
With fame comes the possibility of stalkers, and Reeves is no exception. In just a single year, he would have two female fans break into his Los Angeles home. The first stalker actually encountered the star. As Reeves called the police, he also engaged the woman in conversation. According to the intruder, she came into the home with the sole purpose of meeting the star. The second stalker would break into the actor’s home while he was away. In this case, workers on the property noticed the uninvited guest and made sure Reeves was made aware of the female intruder.
13. The Actor Could Have Been A Professional Hockey Player
Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and Reeves was not immune to getting involved with it earlier in his life. As a teen, he would play various sports, but it was hockey where he seemed to show his true potential. The actor played for years in the goalie position. In fact, he was good enough to think about a career in professional sports, a choice that he wrestled with for some time. Reeves instead left the dream of a pro-hockey career behind and headed to Hollywood instead. It would be a fateful decision for the actor and film fans alike. He continued to play the sport on a casual level, though, engaging in pickup games and selected events with friends.
14. Reeves Thought He Might Be Married To Winona Ryder
A power couple that may or may not actually be real? This bizarre story began several decades ago, when Reeves and Winona Ryder worked together on Destination Wedding. Naturally, playing a young couple on the ’90s film meant the two filmed a wedding scene. For Reeves, the significance of the moment didn’t register until the actors worked together on their next movie. During interviews, Ryder spoke of the real priest that worked on the scene and the possibility that they might be actually married. For Reeves, it’s something he still doesn’t have an answer to.
15. He Could Have Starred In Platoon
Reeves may have an extensive set of credits, but none of that compares to the major film he could have starred in. The 1986 film Platoon almost starred Reeves; however, he decided to turn down the film. His role would then go to a young Charlie Sheen, and Sheen would receive rave reviews for his starring turn in the war movie. It’s not the only time Reeves could have been the star of a blockbuster, either. He also turned down a leading role in Heat. In that case, the role would go to Val Kilmer.
16. He Replaced Val Kilmer On Another Film
In a bit of further connections to Val Kilmer, Reeves would take over a role that Kilmer would turn down. Years before Heat saw Kilmer take over for Reeves, the situation was reversed on Johnny Mnemonic. Kilmer, who had already accepted the lead role, left the picture abruptly after getting the chance to play Batman in Batman Forever. For Kilmer, turning down the sci-fi film turned out to be the right choice. After all, Johnny Mnemonic would prove to be a box office failure while Batman Forever was one of the year’s top-grossing films.
17. The Actor Could Have Been A Batman Villain
Speaking of Batman, the actor’s connection to the superhero franchise goes even further. While he has never appeared in a superhero film, the actor has repeatedly shown interest in being involved. When the series transitioned from Tim Burton’s hands to Joel Schumacher’s, Reeves had his best chance to get a role in a Batman film. Specifically, the director was interested in having Reeves join the cast as the Batman villain The Scarecrow. When the film series with Schumacher at the helm was cancelled, those dreams of making Reeves a villain disappeared. Other actors have since played the role in film and TV projects—but never the Internet’s boyfriend.
18. Reeves Didn’t Use His Full Name In Early Projects
The uniqueness of the actor’s name posed a challenge for his early agents. Instead of getting work, they feared that he would miss out on parts due to stereotypes and racist mentalities. So, Reeves chose several stage names to ensure he got work, or at least an audition with the right people. Chuck Spadina is arguably the most well-known of his previous stage names. Reeves has since used it when trying to hide his involvement in a project or when he sought anonymity. One of the best examples of its use is on friend Alex Winter’s film Freaked.