Keanu Reeves. Whoa. Now here is an incredible man. He’s best known for his role as Neo (AKA Cyber Punk Jesus) in The Matrix trilogy (which, by the way, should’ve never been expanded past the first film), as well as being the central figure in the “Sad Keanu” meme of old. He’s also been in a few other movies, some of which are bad (47 Ronin), some good (Man of Tai Chi, which also represents Keanu’s impressive directorial debut), one of them brutally awesome (John Wick), but really, after The Matrix (and we’re really only counting the first one here), he can literally sleep for the rest of his life and he’ll have already fulfilled his duty to the physical universe and all the higher plains that govern it.
Despite that, Keanu is still awake and still kicking. He’s still making movies and going about all of his other business with a smile (unless he’s being photographed as “Sad Keanu”). He may not be dodging bullets like he used to, but he’s still infinitely fascinating and totally zen, which is more than we can say about some other people.
So, what is there to say about Keanu Reeves? 15 things, according to this list, but we all know that the scope of the man extends far beyond any mortal listicle and far beyond the infinite potential binary arrangements behind a screen. From our end of the matrix to yours, here are 15 things you (probably) didn’t know about Mr. Keanu Reeves. Whoa.
15. He Was An Impenetrable Hockey Goalie
In our view, Keanu was always The One, but before he actually became recognized as such, he was known to his fellow hockey teammates as The Wall. Apparently, Keanu gave no pucks the chance to find the back of his net. “Whoa,” he would say to himself as he saw the speeding black projectiles coming for him. With his incredibly surprising reaction time, it would allow him to keep his net safe each and every time. Former hockey buddy of Keanu, Jason Kay, reflects, “I don’t recall how well we did that season, but I do remember thinking Keanu had a gift. I’d seen him play a handful of games at a competitive level and despite him not having much formal training, he stood out. He was a raw talent, acrobatic and unrefined, but he could steal wins.” Keanu’s hockey background doesn’t come as much of a surprise when you consider that…
14. He’s Canadian
Oh how cool, eh? By the way, we’re allowed to say “eh” and joke about hockey stereotypes, because I also happen to be Canadian, just like Mr. Keanu Reeves. Although, we’re open to everyone else poking fun at us Canucks as well because, well, we’re friendly like that. Anyway, despite his varied ethnic background and places of upbringing, Keanu spent most of his early life in Toronto and he fully identifies as Canadian. Keanu has English (from England), Native Hawaiian, Chinese, and Portuguese ancestry; he was born in Beirut, Lebanon, spent parts of his childhood in Sydney, Australia and New York City before settling down in Toronto. Keanu is a Timbitter and poutine popper until the bitter end, and we respect him for his loyalty. We also respect him for his artistic versatility. Like many Canadians, Keanu had dreams far beyond the country.
13. He Used To Be In A Band
Ever hear of Dogstar? Neither did I before Googling around for this article and neither would most people if Keanu hadn’t played bass for them. You should go check Dogstar out, they actually sound pretty good. We think they actually might have had a chance to build themselves some recognition without Keanu’s accomplishments outside of the band, but they were competing with a legion of great alternative bands from the 90’s. It’s a bit of a shame, but we’re sure that Dogstar had their fun riding the wave of Keanu’s fame. The band produced 2 albums and one EP during their run (which was quite a long one, lasting from 1991 to 2002), and they even got a chance to play at the UK’s prestigious Glastonbury Festival in 1999. As happy that we are of Keanu being so musically inclined, we’re even happier that he decided to put most of his focus in film. How his film career started is actually a fun bit of trivia.
12. His First Acting Role Was In A Coca-Cola Commercial
Not every actor can just jump from complete obscurity into international superstardom. In fact, most don’t. Most actors start small, usually from commercials, and build up a foundation. Keanu is one of those actors and the foundation of his acting career was built over a body of black, sizzling, totally refreshing Coca-Cola. Oh yes; Keanu’s very first acting credit was given to him by the good people over at The Coca-Cola Company. In the commercial, Keanu plays a cycler in a bike race. After failing to make it past the finish line first, a dejected Keanu is cheered up by his coach, who hands him a Coke which Keanu gratefully accepts. When one of the other cyclists ask who his coach is, Keanu lovingly replies, “My dad,” with his arm around the man. We’re not sure whether or not Keanu carried his love of Coke (or his dad) into his off-screen life, but we do know that this is not the man’s only cycling experience.
11. He Owns A Motorcycle Manufacturing Company
Indeed, Keanu’s love for bikes goes far beyond the engineless bicycle format. The man loves and needs speed and he gets around almost exclusively via motorcycle. As a matter of fact, Keanu has only ever owned a couple of vehicles — a contemporary Porsche and a vintage Volvo. His love for the art of the motorcycle runs so deep, in fact, that he co-founded his own motorcycle manufacturing company. He, along with his partner, Gard Hollinger, started the Arch Motorcycle Company, where they design bikes that, according to the Arch Motorcycle Company website, “[mold] the retro and modern design elements they both love and passion for riding they both share into a new shape.” Surely, nothing can be more bromantic than two men starting up their own motorcycle business. However, as the next entry will suggest, Keanu Reeves is not exclusively bromantic towards Gard Hollinger — his bromance spans to everyone under the umbrella of the human race.
10. He’s Hung Out With The Homeless
He didn’t do it for press, either. The more you find out about Keanu, the more you believe that he only does the press that his contracts absolutely require him to (unless, of course, he feels like having a candid conversation with a journalist that day). The footage of Keanu Reeves chilling with a homeless person in the side streets of West Hollywood is a product of pure, accidental luck (for the paparazzi, at least). The important thing is that Keanu just chilled with the homeless dude, sharing snacks and drinks with him, lying down on his back right there on the street while the homeless man told his stories. Actually, something like that shouldn’t even be considered important or remarkable. The childlike curiosity and open-mindedness that Keanu puts on display here should be inherent in everyone. Where we now stand as a race, Keanu is a beacon of shining progress, and we should all be a little more like him, particularly when it comes to things like our views toward money.
9. He Doesn’t Care (That Much) About Money
One thing that Keanu has in common with most Hollywood heavy-hitters is that he has fat, fat stacks. We won’t name his personal net worth right here, but rest assured that the man has made himself enough money just from The Matrix films to be more than alright for the rest of life. What does set him apart from most of Hollywood, and from the vast majority of the world’s successful business people in general, is that Keanu isn’t necessarily attached to every little nickel in his bank account. To give you a better illustration of Keanu’s financial generosity, he disbursed a reported $75 million out of his salary for the two Matrix sequels between the franchise’s special effects and costume design teams. That is, like really nice of him. Not to mention that he bought the entire stunt team of the films Harley Davidson motorcycles, probably because he thought they’d all look cool riding them. Oh yeah, and he also took a major pay cut in The Devil’s Advocate so that production could afford casting Al Pacino in the film. We’re not sure where Keanu’s jacked-up serenity is sourced from, but it probably has at least a little bit to do with his spiritual beliefs.
8. He Is Spiritually Complex
With all the zen-like stories revolving around Keanu Reeves, one would think that there’s some kind of astral wire linking him to an infinitely large electron somewhere beyond space, and one would probably be right. Reeves doesn’t belong to any particular religion, though he is not an atheist. Though he’s expressed some interest in Buddhist tenets, he’s definitely not a Buddhist. What is he? Just super kind and kind of complicated. When asked if he was a spiritual person, Keanu replied with: ”I don’t know? I don’t know the spiritual Richter-scale measurement! That’s a weird answer, isn’t it? I don’t know. Do I believe in God, faith, inner faith, the self, passion, and things? Yes, of course! I’m very spiritual … Supremely spiritual … Bountifully spiritual … Supremely bountiful.” We’re not sure if there is something like a spiritual Richter-scale, but we do believe that spirituality is a multi-dimensional spectrum and that ghosts definitely hang around somewhere within that spectrum.
7. He Once Ran Into A Ghost
Of course he did. Pretty much everyone runs into some material for their own ghost story sooner or later. In Keanu’s case, he actually had someone with him to confirm that he didn’t go temporarily mental. Keanu recounted the story to Jimmy Kimmel when he was a guest on his show. As it goes, Keanu was a little kid of about 6 or 7 years old in his New York apartment, hanging out with his nanny. All of a sudden, a strange jacket appeared out of nowhere and started floating towards them. There were no limbs or head, just a jacket that spooked them out and promptly disappeared. Keanu said some variation of “Whoa,” and the nanny had her mouth and eyes wide open as if she just saw a ghost. Because she probably did. It would be funny to think that the ghost told Keanu something trite, like “stay in schooool”, and it would be even funnier to think that Keanu didn’t listen. Which, if the ghost actually did tell him that, Keanu actually didn’t listen.
6. He Was Expelled From High School
Dear Keanu has come quite a long way from where he came from. Though we all know and love him for being ultra cool in a Buddhist action hero sort of way today, he used to be cool in the teenage, back-talking definition of the word back in his high school days. A student of life as an adult, Keanu was far from being the model student in high school. He was so far from the model, actually, that his back-talking eventually wound up getting him expelled. On his expulsion, Keanu said, “I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine in the school. I was just getting in their way, I guess.” Considering the direction his career took after his expulsion, it would seem as though high school was the thing getting in the way of Keanu. Of course, expulsion tends to lead to one particular thing (or the lack thereof).
5. He Doesn’t Have His High School Diploma
Not only was he unable to spend the span of his high school years without being expelled, but Keanu presumably didn’t actually stick out school for long enough or care enough to put in the sufficient effort to obtain his high school diploma. Oh yes, that is one common line that is missing from the man’s curriculum vitae, a gasp-inducing blank smack in the middle of a hundred breathtaking life accomplishments. In the eyes of many bureaucrats and many other assortments of people around the world, Keanu would be considered, at least in part, to be a stupid man. Because that’s all that anyone can be considered if they didn’t graduate from high school, right? There can’t really be any sort of way for someone to obtain a decent life education outside of the school system, can there? Really, if he couldn’t even get past high school, it would be a miracle if the man actually knows how to read.
4. He reads… A lot
Oh. It would seem as though the lack of a high school diploma doesn’t necessarily stop anyone from being a voracious reader. Keanu loves to read, and his literary preference seems to suggest that he loves to be challenged by books. Here’s Keanu knocking off some of the books on his list: “As a kid, we can start with the Count of Monte Christo. We could start with the Lord of the Rings. Then we could get into finding as a teenager getting into Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, Notes from Underground, The Brothers Karamazov, we could get into Jim Thompson, we could go into some William Gibson, then we could do In Search of Lost Time by Proust. And then just getting into the works of Philip K. Dick and recently I was reading Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis, I like Updike’s The Rabbit series.” We would love to read a book report on Proust written by the principal who expelled Keanu. Of course, since Keanu reads so much, this must make him a wimpy little nerd boy who wouldn’t be able to stop us from stealing his milk money, right?
3. He Can Probably Beat You Up
Oops. Our well-meaning suggestion to our readers: if you happen to see Keanu on his way to get some milk, you should probably avoid trying to take his milk money. Because he’ll probably end up squeezing you into his milk carton after he got his daily dose of calcium. While Keanu is not a martial artist per se, he went through a lot of martial arts training for The Matrix films. According to IMDB.com, Keanu has studied over 200 martial arts in order to prepare himself for being The One. That’s 200 different ancient ways that he can squeeze your entire body mass into a 1-litre milk carton. So yeah, definitely just let the man buy his milk in peace. The reason we keep saying this is because you actually have a decent chance of finding Keanu on his way to buy milk. Because, as it turns out…
2. He Rides The Subway
That’s right, folks. Check out the video above to see Keanu Reeves looking like an entirely common person on the metro, just like anyone else. In fact, he’s several orders of magnitudes grander than the common person — not because of his stardom, but because he actually relinquishes his seat to a woman carrying a gym bag. Not a physically or mentally impaired person, not a senior citizen, not a pregnant woman, just a regular lady carrying something a little heavy. The hardest of hardcore feminists would probably throw their spit at Keanu as they try to explain to him that she is perfectly capable of standing up on the metro like everyone else, thank you very much. We just think it’s really sweet. At the end of the video, Keanu seems to find the lens recording him, and effectively shuts off the device with his mind. He may be riding the subway, but that doesn’t change the fact that Keanu is The One. By that we mean, he’s the one to strike some humanity into the nihilistic pit that is 4Chan
1. He Inspired Empathy In 4chan
In case any of you didn’t know, Hell on earth exists. The Devil, sympathetic enough toward so-called life, decided to encase it in the virtual vestibule of 4chan. We won’t provide too much context for 4chan, since typing the platform’s name in full already puts us in unspeakable danger. All we’ll say is that it’s an image board website that allows its users to post anonymously. If you want to find out more, we’re sure you can figure out how to get there. In a rare, united demonstration of empathy, after the “Sad Keanu” meme rose to prominence in 2010, the admins/community of 4chan declared that a day in July 2010 would be the official “Cheer Up Keanu Reeves Day.” 4chan opened a Facebook group, where they wrote, “On June 15th, we plan on sending letters, emails, gifts, and any other niceties and kind words to a real bro, Keanu Reeves…In case you don’t know, Keanu’s sister Kim was diagnosed with leukemia many years ago. If you want to make a more significant gift, consider donating to a cancer research charity in the name of Cheer Up Keanu Day. I’m sure a letter or email informing Keanu of this action would really make his day.” Maybe there’s hope for the world yet.