Keanu Reeves is having his moment of internet fame recently, though the actor is no stranger to becoming a meme – years ago, ‘Sad Keanu’ eating a sandwich by himself went viral, spawning thousands of poor photoshop attempts and millions identifying with the celebrity.
But Keanu isn’t just a pretty face or a talented actor, though he is both of those things.
These are the top 3 reasons why Keanu may just be Hollywood’s nicest actor, despite being in the business for over 20 years.
He Hasn’t Let Personal Tragedy Make Him Mean
Sound weird? It shouldn’t! There is always that one grumpy person who is just mean, and everyone explains it away because he has had a difficult life, or he struggled with personal issues. Keanu could easily become that person, but he chose a different path.
Keanu famously never married, but many people don’t remember that he had a long term girlfriend in the late ‘90s. On Christmas Eve in 1999, his then-girlfriend Jennifer Syme gave birth a month early to their daughter, Ava Archer Syme-Reeves. She was tragically stillborn, and both parents suffered.
Not long after, the couple split. Many couples don’t last through the death of a child, and this Hollywood duo was no exception. It gets worse.
In 2001, Syme was driving alone when she sideswiped parked cars, rolled several times, and was eventually thrown from the vehicle, dying instantly. She was being treated for depression at the time and was on several prescription medications.
Within the span of two years, Keanu not only lost his only child but the mother of that child. Despite them no longer being together, he took the loss very hard and spent a lot of time “finding peace”.
He Took a Reduced Salary for ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and ‘The Replacements’
The Devil’s Advocate is a 1997 classic horror film starring Reeves, along with Al Pacino and Charlize Theron. The budget for the film was only $57 million, and it ultimately grossed over $150 million in theaters. But it almost didn’t come to be – Pacino was slotted to play the role of John Milton, but the budget wouldn’t allow it, so the director was looking at alternatives.
When Keanu found out, he offered a portion of his salary to go to Pacino. His wish was to work next to the famous actor and learn from him, instead of hoarding the money himself. The Devil’s Advocate would never have been the movie it is now if Pacino hadn’t played his role.
This isn’t the only time he has done this, either – in The Replacements, which was released in 2000, Keanu again took a huge pay cut to work with Gene Hackman. When asked about these decisions later, he said that money is the “last thing” he thinks about. Instead, the acting experience and knowledge he gained from these famous cast members made the movies worth it.
He Donated Millions to The Matrix Crew
If his selflessness with money didn’t sway you yet, did you know that he gave away literally millions of his Matrix money to the crew that worked so hard on it?
The estimated total is over $80 million because he gave a portion of the profits – a hard percentage, not a flat dollar amount – to the special effects and makeup staff. When someone asked an executive from the movie series about the move, they said that Keanu always spoke highly of the people that really made the movie great. Without them, he would just be standing in a room moving.
They made it come to life.
It’s impossible to know how long Keanu’s spot in internet stardom will last. He has a big role in a video game coming out next year, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum was wildly popular, grossing over $300 million in the box offices. It’s safe to say he will be around for a while, though you never quite can tell!