I just read in the new VANITY FAIR (the drop-dead-boring royalty issue with Prince William on the cover) that one year and a few days from now, Keanu Reeves is going to be 40 years old. Wade into that. Air-guitar Ted is now an older dude, dude.
Following this announcement, naturally, the VF item-writer wrote "whoa." This may be a chickenshit thing to put in the column, but when I saw this latest "whoa" I knew in a flash that for Reeves it's never going away...ever.
Keanu is stuck with it like Jimmy Cagney got stuck with "you dirty rat," the Beatles with "yeah, yeah, yeah," Marlon Brando with "Stella!, "Gary Cooper with "yup," Humphrey Bogart with "play it again, Sam" and Cary Grant with "Judy, Judy, Judy." It's a tattoo, a carving, a cattle brand.
Every other critic and feature writer, it seemed, used "whoa" in pieces last spring about Keanu and THE MATRIX RELOADED. It was overkill and had to stop. That's why the VANITY FAIR mention (on page 52 in "Fanfair" -- actually, they spell it "whoah") means something, I think. They don't care if their "whoa" is the 256th usage over the last six months. They couldn't help themselves. They were drawn.
Reeves has either accepted this or he hasn't, but there's nothing he can do about it regardless. These labels tend to stick early in a person's career. (Grant's "Judy" came from his early 1930s Paramount period, Brando's "Stella!" from 1951's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Cooper's "yup" from THE VIRGINIAN, etc.) The upside is that he's a big enough star for people like me to be devoting four or five graphs to this subject. The downside is that it labels him as as "Ted" for the rest of his life and beyond.
Does anyone know exactly when Keanu first blurted this out? Did he say it during THE PRINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA? BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE? POINT BREAK? RIVER'S EDGE? On Conan O'Brien? If anyone has any solid gets, please share.
My favorite "whoa" of the last couple of years had nothing to do with Keanu. It happened when Michael Imperioli's Chris Moltisanti walked into Janice Soprano's kitchen in the wee hours and saw the body of Richie Aprile lying on the kitchen floor. Imperioli said it perfectly -- half stunned shock, half like a groan.
(Comments to this article here -> 'Keanu's First Whoa')