Place On The List: Soul Man
# 47 Keanu Reeves
Moron or genius - you decide
One of the highest paid actors of his generation, Keanu has always swung from success in the ridiculous (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) to holding his own in the sublime (Dangerous Liaisons). His work has continued to lurch from one extreme to the other. He received verbal drubbings for Little Buddha and Bram Stoker's Dracula and then became mega box-office with Speed. He then turned down $12 million to appear in Speed 2 to opt for indie movie The Last Time I Committed Suicide and $8 million to work with Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. The only consistent theme appears to be his dedication. Devil's Advocate director Taylor Hackford noted, "He prepares incredibly ... Al (Pacino) and I both said at first that we didn't know if the kid could do it. Now we both say we can't think of anybody else who could do this role." A close colleague of Reeves stresses, "Keanu's fiercely devoted to his career and to the concept of having a career, and I think it is one of the things that is misunderstood about him."
Why We Rate Him: "I am the critics' whipping boy," said Keanu when ripped to shreds after Johnny Mnemonic. Yet he's a tough cookie to get to grips with and is remarkably inconsistent in his interviews. One minute he's saying, "I'm a meathead. I can't help it man. You've got smart people and you've got dumb people," and the next he's playing chess and waffling on about Kafka. His appeal is an elusive, help-me quality that seems to suck in the audience. He doesn't see it though, insisting, "I'm not considered like, you know, actors like Brad Pitt, or, let's say, Tom Cruise. I don't have that kind of draw." Yet, with offers of upwards of $10 million, studio bosses might dispute that.
Private Life LowDown: Geologist dad left when he was young and mom married Paul Aaron (theatre designer), Robert Miller (promoter) and then Jack Bond (hair salon owner). It's no wonder Keanu's sexuality has come into question, as a kid he can't have known whether he's coming or going. He's not disputed rumours he's gay (he'll deny them and add "you never know"). Ridiculous gossip has had him apparently 'married' to entertainment guru David Geffen and engaged to Amanda de Cadernet. Meanwhile, he gets on with playing bass with his band Dogstar.
Up To... Stars in Matrix playing a man who leads society against the computers that enslave it.