Oddball, unconventional and a massive movie star for at least 30 years; that is Keanu Reeves. Making his cinematic mark in the time-traveling comedy: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, his star power soon increased. As his fame grew, so did the versatility of Reeves' roles on screen. With his laid-back persona and effortless good looks, the actor soon found a spot as an unlikely action hero. Starring alongside Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves adapted well to the role of a surfing undercover FBI agent in Point Break. Later he reprised a law enforcement role alongside Sandra Bullock in the high octane action thriller, Speed. Keanu showed some versatility in the horror, Devil's Advocate but it was his role as Thomas Anderson/Neo in The Matrix that cemented him as a legend.
The name Keanu means, according to Behind the Name.com, "the Cool Breeze" in Hawaiian. A cool breeze could definitely sum up the character of the actor himself, Keanu Reeves is famed for his generosity and laid-back demeanor. His Wikipedia page states that he donated $80 million from $114 million in earnings to The Matrix Trilogy's special effects team. He has set up a charity after losing his sister to a disease and is an active PETA member. Many a public transport user has snapped the star taking the subway just like the rest of us mortals too. Ten years ago, a lawsuit against Keanu Reeves came from a paparazzo who claimed he hit her with a car. The actor plainly shows that even a level-headed person like this calm dude can flip out at paparazzi vultures too.
20 A Lens of Fame
"Fame is a drag. The paparazzi culture is more pervasive than it used to be. On the positive side, it’s nice not to have to worry about bills." - Keanu Reeves.
This summarization of the rabid hordes that comprise the media, spearheaded by the hounds they release (paparazzi) shows Keanu Reeves' dislike of them. Celebrities are regularly preyed upon by photographers, who are desperate to get hold of a hot snap they can sell to magazines. Unlike many of his contemporaries who have a love-hate relationship with paparazzi, Keanu Reeves definitely has a totally hate-based one. Here is the actor leaning straight into a camera lens, as if to make a statement of: "how do you like being constantly stared at?"
A not so subtle jibe at the constant intrusive nature of photographers into the lives of stars. Even when those said stars are doing nothing particularly interesting, someone is bound to be there, poking a lens into the celebrity's face. Paparazzi often dislike having the focus of attention turned on them, and many times such a reaction by stars to paps results in violent scuffles. Although Reeves is too easy going for such scraps, the paps do press his buttons!
19 There is no Paparazzi
Keeping out of the eyes of photographers isn't really possible for a famous person. A Hollywood star has to run the gauntlet, especially in some exclusive spots (London or LA). For an action hero like Keanu Reeves, he should be able to bend reality to avoid them, or pretend they're not there. The Guardian celebrates Keanu:
"Reeves first came to attention in the 1989 comedy-drama Parenthood. His rueful delivery of the line, “You need a license to catch a fish, but they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father,” made me sit up and stare at him. And there’s a lot to look at: he’s a tall drink of water, with soulful eyes, a firm jawline (see Speed) and a warm smile (see Something’s Gotta Give). If I could, I’d take a nap in the depths of his voice (see everything).
Reeves is somehow reassuring, with an enviable calm. This makes people see him as wooden, but I think it’s actually more about a man who likes to measure his movements; a movie star who understands space. I could write an essay about Keanu’s walk: rangy and relaxed, but precise; the gait of a man who never needs to hurry."
This love-letter to Keanu indeed is a demonstration of his trademark relaxed attitude.
18 Sometimes Keanu Plays Ball
There are certain times when entering specific events are like entering a lion's den of photographers. Nowhere does this predatory environment grow clearer than being on a red carpet at a premiere or awards ceremony. On these occasions, actors that are hostile to paparazzi have to grin and bear the constant attention that they did not really want, like The New Statesman points out:
"The Rolling Stone journalist Chris Heath once asked Keanu Reeves a simple question: why do you act? The star of The Matrix, Speed, Point Break and My Own Private Idaho paused the conversation to consider the matter. And he paused it for a long time. “Forty-two seconds, he says nothing. Not a word, a grunt, a prevarication, or a hint that an answer might come,” wrote Heath. But then an answer did come: “Uh… the words that popped into my head were the expression and, uh, it's fun.” When Heath later asked Reeves if he ever wanted to direct, he waited 72 seconds for: “No, not really.”
But a pay-off for the trappings of fame is attending events like the one where Keanu Reeves is pictured. He seems to stare at the photographer intently in this picture, as though hinting that he is putting up with the attention, for now.
17 Non-Private Life
It is one of the significant points of tension between stars and the media; when the press fails to draw the line between the private and the public. It is no wonder that stars lose their tempers with ever-ready snappers! Nothing is harder than building a new relationship at the best of times, without a photographer following someone everywhere, like this rumor spinning piece by the Daily Mail:
"Keanu Reeves was accompanied by a gorgeous woman as he headed to The Who's concert in Los Angeles. The 51-year-old actor was positively beaming as he made his way to the show with the unidentified brunette in tow. Keanu wore a pair of black trousers and a black jacket as he teamed his dark look with brown shoes.
The actor seems to have grown out his hair and beard as he was seen sporting a somewhat rugged look as he strolled alongside the mystery woman. The woman in question was speaking on the phone the majority of the time they made their way to the venue."
Even what he is wearing and what the woman is doing is picked apart by a rabid and very nosey press over an innocent evening out; paparazzi, or vultures?
16 First Finger
One way to make sure that the photographers or the media do not catch the prize of a famous figure is for that celeb to ruin the bait, which is themselves. For someone like Keanu Reeves who does his best to stress out the paps, this example from LipstickAlley.com forum points out:
"He really passionately hated the paps in the early '0s cuz they showed up at the funeral for his daughter. He seems a little better with them (like when he was out to dinner with Alexandra Grant a few weeks back). Oh, remember when he accidentally ran over the foot of one, and the guy sued him?! That trial was a mess.
I have seen multiple pictures of him with his middle finger up - I guess at the paps. It's the rudest thing I've ever seen him do, so he must passionately despise paparazzi.
I think he works (pre-production meetings, research, and of course training. Lots and lots of training!) then he needs peace and quiet to recharge. Oh, and motorcycle rides! Lots of those! In the past when he was seeing someone, we would see pap pics of them out and about, so I just think he does not hide. Just living his life."
15 Not "Suited" for this Role?
Keanu Reeves and his dislike for the paparazzi is perhaps rooted in their prying behavior when the actor lost his sister. Journalism is not known for being discreet, and in 2008, Reeves had a lawsuit filed against him by a photographer who claimed that he hit her with a car, detailed here in The Houston Chronicle:
"LOS ANGELES— A Los Angeles jury has begun deliberating a paparazzo's claim that actor Keanu Reeves knocked him down with his Porsche and permanently injured his wrist. Attorneys for both sides issued their closing arguments Friday before the jury deliberated about five minutes and left for the weekend. Jurors will resume work Monday.
Photographer Alison Silva claims the star of "The Matrix" hit him with his car in March 2007 while Silva was trying to shoot photos of Reeves. Silva says he was knocked to the pavement and his wrist will never fully heal. Reeves' lawyer, Alfred Gerisch, says Silva stumbled on his own after he put his hand on the car's hood."
Even so, the media still gathered in earnest around the court where the lawsuit took place. The image shows a more clean version of the actor, compared to his usual appearance between movies.
14 Not Even Time for a Coffee Break
One of the most mundane things people can do is go out and get a coffee from the nearby barista. But for the Hollywood elite, get snapped doing it, it's world-shattering news, even making it onto slideshows on Zimbio:
"'John Wick' star Keanu Reeves stops to get a coffee while out and about in New York City, New York on February 3, 2015. Keanu is back in NYC after recently attending the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah."
Unfortunately, New York is one of the busiest and most famous cities on Earth, but it still does not mean that a famous actor will end up lost in the crowd. Something as simple as getting a hot cup of coffee, which for anyone is the best part of their day, is something that could be snapped and sold to tabloids.
Park City is home to the annual Sundance Film Festival, meaning that a star cannot so much as speak loudly without some paparazzo catching the offense! Although both things are likely expected by veteran actors like Keanu, it must still grate on their nerves too.
13 Take a Back Seat
"In mainstream movies, Reeves often looks uncomfortable, as though someone has tricked him into getting out of the car right there and just driven off. Whatever the result, he has usually seemed happier when he veers away. In 1991, he made Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, with River Phoenix, and you can still feel his pride in it. "It's a beautiful film," he says. "And lonely. The way he ends up in the street. His shoes. A stranger was picking him up.
In the early nineties, Reeves' career drifted into the doldrums. When the script for Speed turned up, Reeves didn't want to do it. "I didn't understand it," he says. "I didn't quite get it," Stoff says he spent an entire twelve-hour flight between Los Angeles and France trying to persuade him. "His argument was, 'So what, it's a bomb on a bus. Who cares?'" When they arrived in France, Reeves cracked."
Rolling Stone almost sympathizes with the discomfort Keanu Reeves has with being an A-Lister. Starring in thriller Knock, Knock was an unusual choice for him and perhaps why he took a rest in the back seat. However, no one gets away from an opportunistic photographer that seems to be everywhere, even in Chile.
12 Neo Goes on a Date
Keanu Reeves is widely acknowledged as being effortlessly cool and slick; with a commanding presence on screen (some critics say wooden) that distinguishes his performances. The most definite sign of his easy-going attitude is his somewhat unconventional and edgy fashion sense, proving a simple look often speaks the loudest and GQ agrees:
"Reeves' personal style, not to mention Reeves himself, is especially relevant in 2017 thanks to a massive upswing in fashion world appreciation for all things the '90s. For the rest of the world, that's meant guys are getting excited about riffs on that era's menswear staples (see: anything from Vêtements, stonewashed jeans, graphically patterned merch!). For Reeves it's meant sticking with his uniform: relaxed tailoring is worn with a black T-shirt and brown boots. He's worn the same look on countless red carpets, on late night TV interviews, through airports, walking around city streets, sitting on benches while looking sad, all with the same just-rolled-out-of-bed effortlessness that makes them look appealing as opposed to just sloppy. The man owns other clothes—jeans, for example, a tan suit from last year, the suede trucker jacket he wore to the premiere of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure—but the vast majority of his closet is just variations of this one outfit. And despite the fit of it barely changing for decades it still looks damn good."
11 One Driver
Keanu loves taking an Excellent Adventure behind the wheel or handlebars of a roaring motor. His passion for automotive excellence is one of the main things photographers see Keanu doing outside of movies. Porsche's newsroom gives insight:
"Keanu Reeves loves to drive fast, a passion he can afford to indulge with any high-powered sports car. As a matter of fact, if he wished to, he could own an entire fleet of supercars. After all, Keanu Reeves is the star of the three highly successful Matrix films, which have grossed over $1.7 billion worldwide.
But his heart belongs to Porsche. Or to put it more precisely, to the 911. He currently drives a black Carrera 4S with a sunroof and manual transmission. These features are important to him. Just like a particular “driving aesthetic,” as he calls it. “I don’t just love hitting turns and apexes,” he told me. “I enjoy the fact that the car allows me to be fast and efficient. I have developed a bond with it.” And because it’s an intimate bond, he has only one. It’s clear that Reeves is a strictly monogamous car guy—rather an anomaly in a business where superstars who own only one car are as rare as those who employ the same agent over their careers or marry just once and for keeps."
10 He Doesn't Need Change
"It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Keanu Reeves is one of Hollywood’s greatest outcasts.
Despite being one of the best-known actors today, he is renowned for his shy, solitary reputation and down to earth lifestyle, including a small apartment instead of a mansion, lack of fancy clothing, and a lack of any kind of bodyguard whatsoever. Keanu has even been recorded sharing his food with fans and playing the gentleman while commuting on the New York subway.
Although acting may seem like a strange career choice for an introverted man who prefers solitude, Keanu claims to enjoy the intensity and concentration of his work saying, “I tend to focus on what I’m doing. For Reeves, acting provides the opportunity to become someone else momentarily. Someone less shy and withdrawn.
Many of Keanu Reeves’ co-workers have observed the enigma of his personality. Bernardo Bertolucci, director of Little Buddha, for instance, said, “He has this incredible shyness or embarrassment.”
Dina Meyer, who played Reeves’ bodyguard in Johnny Mnemonic says, “He’s very quiet, very introverted,” she adds “You look at him, and you can see the wheels are turning, but you can’t figure him out—if he’s happy if he’s sad … you just want to say, ‘What’s happening in there?’”
Loner Wolf.com sums up this image of Keanu perched in a corner, alone as usual.
9 Excellent (Shopping) Adventure
It is commonly known that Keanu Reeves is famed for having a generous character, but it is highly unlikely that these shopping bags are charitable donations or human organs. Despite rumors, Reeves did not pay for someone's kidney operation, and Snopes dismisses that myth:
"Frequent internet users have likely come across at least one story about the generosity of actor Keanu Reeves.
Perhaps it was the video of the Speed star giving up his seat on the subway, or maybe it was a report about his involvement with charitable causes such as PETA, or his donations to fund children’s hospital and cancer research. Or perhaps it was the story of how Keanu bought motorcycles for the stuntmen after filming The Matrix. Or, most likely, it was the (exaggerated) tale of how the actor gave away a portion of his Matrix salary to the crew.
Stories of Reeves’ generosity became so prevalent that by February 2018 they had morphed into a bit of an internet joke. Internet users started sharing outlandish and imaginary tales about how he had come to their unlikely rescue."
This false rumor is a testament to how far and fast, stupid memes can spread across the globe, like this picture of the actor shopping.
8 Mad in Manhattan
Keanu's style is described as one of understated taste that has lasted through the ages. He wore a similar outfit at the premiere of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure that he does most days. A similar outfit saying that less is more, not the same outfit that Scoopwhoop describes:
"The world knows what a kind, humble and grounded person Keanu Reeves is. Even after walking through hell, this man has never complained about life being unfair to him. But that's not the only fantastic thing about him.
Whether it is while making an appearance on the red carpet or in random paparazzi photos, he's always seen in his suit. But we just discovered that Keanu Reeves has been wearing this outfit for the last 20 years!
For the last two decades, our man here has been killing it in the same ensemble avoiding any and every possible faux pas in the smartest way ever. Be it at the airport or on the streets, you'll find him in his two-piece suit and signature shoes."
It comes as no surprise then that one thing a paparazzo won't ever see, is Keanu Reeves in a weird outfit, even if he is a more mysterious star than they're used to.
7 Second Finger
Another infamous picture of Reeves showing his love for the cameras - that he ironically has spent his adult life in front of. Storytelling is a very different thing from actually being followed around without your consent. In 2008, tensions between the actor and the press came to a head, the Telegraphs elaborates (dated 2008):
"The star of Speed and The Matrix films denied charges by Alison Silva, a Brazilian paparazzo, who alleges Reeves hit him with the bumper of his car to avoid having his picture taken, causing the photographer to fall to the ground and injure his wrist.
Silva is suing Reeves for medical expenses and lost wages, claiming the injuries affected his ability to work. The men offered different accounts of the March 2007 incident as they took turns giving evidence during a hearing on Tuesday.
Reeves told the court he had slowly inched his car forward in an attempt to get the photographer to move out of the way after leaving the home of a relative in a Los Angeles suburb. Silva, 28, had followed the actor from the Sunset Strip."
Understandably then is his hostility towards media and his greeting with a middle-finger is a standard way the actor salutes snappers!
6 Sad Keanu
Keanu Reeves is often pictured out and about; one of the most viral pictures of the star is him sat glumly on a bench. The image has now become somewhat of an overused meme on social media, known as "Sad Keanu" that even ABC News paid attention to:
""Sad Keanu" is the latest Internet meme, or quickly-spreading trend, to give a star a second wind. In May, a paparazzo snapped a series of photos of a downtrodden-looking Keanu Reeves sitting on a park bench, eating a sandwich and looking glum about the world.
He may not have been moping. He may have just been lost in a Reuben-induced haze. But Keanu fans on the Internet looked at the photo, looked at his "I'm probably not trying to impress any casting directors right now" beard, looked at Wikipedia to learn that he hasn't had a major box office hit since 2005, and concluded: Keanu needs some cheering up.
So was born Sad Keanu, which Photoshopped the original image of the actor into new and fantastic scenarios. One Sad Keanu picture gives him bench mates: Forrest Gump and David Beckham. Another sets him up at the "Cheers" bar with George Wendt. Yet another plops him in Kim Jong Il's family portrait. Others surround him with cats, miniature Sad Keanus, and Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill."
5 Hands Off
In real life, he is a solitary figure, very unlike his air-headed rock star character that made him famous, Ted Theodore Logan. He has a strong conscience similar to his most famous role of Neo in The Matrix movies. This lonesome personality trait was found again on his birthday in 2010, covered by the Daily Mail:
"He's developed something of a reputation on the internet for the recurring images of him pictured cutting a sad, lonely figure. And today another such brooding photograph emerged of Keanu Reeves, sat outside a film prop warehouse on his 46th birthday alongside a cupcake with a solitary candle.
The Matrix star was seen talking on his phone as he hung around the loading dock, dressed in the hot New York weather in jeans, flannel shirt, and grey blazer. Today, however, the actor was soon joined by some workers from the warehouse, who he was seen chatting with and having coffee with.
A passer-by also appeared to take interest and stopped to talk to the star, apparently using his phone to take a picture. Still, it's not exactly the most exciting way to spend your birthday, so let's hope Keanu has something more exciting planned for later."
4 Bike Away
Getting out of the way and letting people live their lives is common courtesy, even if that person is rich and famous. But Autoevolution writes on how Keanu got hemmed in by camera-happy fans:
"No rest for the wicked said an old saying. Not that we don't agree with that, but we'd hate to think about Keanu as a wicked person. He was the Chosen One after all! But he sure as hell got his work cut out for him while trying to cruise around Hollywood.
Hard for him and lucky for a bunch of tourists who just happened to drive by when the movie star was coming out of his driveway, ready for a ride around town on his bike. While waiting for traffic to clear up so that he could drive away, Keanu was forced to wait for what must have felt like an eternity, while dozens of cameras snapped picture after picture.
Seemingly frustrated with the whole incident, Keanu pretended that they weren't there, and even ignored the paparazzi who caught the entire event on camera. The best part of it is that the minibus the tourists were traveling in was an open top which means everyone could stand up and take pictures at their heart's content."
At least he could speed off on a motorbike.
3 The subway shot
Ahh, the subway photo. This has become one of the best things to learn about Mr. Reeves. He is as normal as a celebrity can get, he does not indulge in a fancy lifestyle or more cars than he can handle. He chooses his movies to his tastes instead of being type cast or selling out. He is someone who takes his life seriously, and does what he can to be a good person in the only way he knows how.
We seriously adore these photos, mostly because it's the few photos that don't come from paparazzi, but we thought it was good enough to put in anyhow. The subway photos are always a nice thing to see, because it shows celebrities on the same level as us. While some people already know that celebs are just human, every once in a while, other fans need a friendly reminder of that fact. Photos like this help that. They show that even A-Listers like Keanu need to get places, and not everyone likes having the fancy car to get them there. Some people, like him, are way too humble for that. And really, that is definitely why we love him so much.
2 Like, seriously tho?
This image sums up the frustration that every famous must get with the paparazzi from time to time. On the scale of 1 to 10, Keanu Reeves is at least a 4 when handling photographers and some are much worse, But he has a reason, as Glamour explains:
"Over the years, paparazzi have come to be associated with an aggressive group of photographers, that stalk celebrities everywhere they go, to get a picture at any cost. Even if that means putting those around them in danger.
A celebrity publicist says: “I've had loads of terrifying experiences with paparazzi. There is no stopping them. I had a client who had people sitting outside her house, and when she drove out in her car, one pap was so keen to get the shots that he was driving down the wrong side of the road beside her. He was driving erratically and breaking every possible driving rule. She was not only distressed at him driving and trying to get the picture, but she was worried that a car could come around the corner and crash in them.”
Aside from the physical dangers, there can be an emotional impact on celebrities being tailed like this. “While some normalize the experience and accept it’s part of their lives, some people are more sensitive – they can become paranoid and anxious,” says psychologist Emma Kenney."
Obviously here Keanu is having a genuinely exasperated moment with the camera-wielding stalkers.
1 There is no Camera
Neo takes control of everything in The Matrix, so as art often imitates life, this attitude sometimes indeed does seep into reality. Tired of all the unwanted and unnecessary attention, Keanu Reeves stole a paparazzo's camera and ran off with it. Or did he? Like the Sad Keanu meme, the camera incident has received the same treatment and people are unsure if it's real or not. The Daily Dot seems to have other ideas about the truth of the incident:
"Keanu Reeves is, by all accounts, a great human being and a great person to work with. His gentle nature and his sense of humor make him just the kind of person you’d expect to steal a paparazzi camera and lead photographers on a wild chase as he runs off smiling. But, contrary to what a lot of people are sharing on the internet today, that didn’t actually happen.
'Here’s Keanu Reeves running off with a camera he just stole from the paparazzi,' claims a hugely viral tweet that was shared more than 12,000 times on Friday.
While we can agree this would be a fairly Keanu thing to do, and the photos appear to show him doing it, he was actually just filming a scene for a movie. In Generation Um…, shot in 2010 and released in 2012, Keanu’s character “impulsively steals a video camera from a playground where performance is taking place and is chased into the subway, narrowly escaping harm,” according to the New York Times review."
Sources: BehindTheName, CelebrityPetWorth, Chron, LipStickAlley, Zimbio, Channel24, RollingStone, GQ, NewsRoom, LonerWolf, Snopes, Telegraph, ABCNews, Vanitatis, DailyMail, GlamourMagazine, DailyDot