Cinema Online (Malaysia), February 2005

Keanu - The Man To The Name

If there ever was a male bimbo, without a doubt, Keanu Reeves' character, Ted Logan, from the 1989 hit "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" wins hands down. It's amazing to see Keanu's evolution in the movie industry since then and after the success of The Matrix trilogy, no one is doubting his ability as an actor or an action star any longer. Born Keanu Charles Reeves on 2 September 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon, the character, Ted Logan, was his first claim to fame. In fact, after the movie, a cartoon series was made in 1990 where Keanu lent his voice to Ted's character. The sequel "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' came out in 1991.

Keanu himself admitted that he worries people won't be able to differentiate his personal character to that of the doofy Ted but the actor certainly seems to be a world of a difference as compared to Ted's character. Keanu, whose name means 'cool breeze over the mountains' in Hawaiian, seems to thrive on controversy. Having dropped out of school when he was seventeen to pursue a career in acting, he found it hard to start off his career. In fact, Keanu did several other jobs including working in landscaping, sharpening skates at an ice rink, and even managing a pasta restaurant.

After doing inconsequential commercials and plays for a few years, he finally got his break in 1986 when he was cast in "Youngblood" which starred Robe Lowe and Patrick Swayze. What followed after that was a string of other roles in movies like "River's Edge", "The Night Before", "Permanent Record" and "The Prince of Pennsylvania". Keanu then appeared in "Dangerous Liaisons" as Le Chevalier Raphael Danceny, alongside stars like John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman in 1988. It was after "Dangerous Liaison" that he starred in the movie "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" where the whole 'excellent dude!' cult spawned from. Funnily enough, Keanu auditioned for the role of Bill, only to be cast as Ted instead.

"I used to have nightmares that they would put 'He Played Ted' on my tombstone." - Keanu Reeves

From then on, Keanu went on to appear in movies like "Parenthood", "I Love You to Death". "Tune in Tomorrow...", "Point Break", "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey", "My Own Private Idaho". "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "Little Buddha". All these roles gained him recognition somewhat but the movie that helped him finally shed the whole bozo image and introduced him to the cinema world as an action star was certainly the adrenaline-pumping 1994 hit 'Speed" alongside Sandra Bullock. Since then, there were no more disputes as to whether he really was a male bimbo or not.

His movie career continued strong after that with "Johnny Mnemonic" in 1995, "A Walk in the Clouds" (also in 1995 and remains to this day, this writer's favourite romance movie), "Chain Reaction" and "Feeling Minnesota" in 1996, and "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" in 1997. After that things started to slow down for Keanu until he signed onto "The Matrix" in 1999 and burst into the industry again as the movie started another cult altogether and his character, Neo, gained instant international fame. "The Matrix" opened a whole new door to movie-making and Keanu's portrayal of the intense and ultimately confused Neo was praised by critiques. The film earned almost half a billion dollars worldwide and spawned countless of spoofs as well.

His filmography after that continues with the likes of "The Replacements", "The Watcher" and "The Gift" in 2000, and "Sweet November" and "Hard Ball" in 2001 before the second film in The Matrix's trilogy - "The Matrix Reloaded" and the third and final instalment "The Matrix Revolutions" in 2003. Apart from "Constantine", his forth-coming projects include "Thumbsucker", "A Scanner Darkly" and "The Night Watchman".

On a more personal side though, Keanu is known to be a very private person. Back in high school, he was once awarded as the most valuable player on his ice hockey team where he played the position of goalie, which also earned him the moniker "The Wall". He picked up some hobbies from the movies that he acted in including horseback riding and surfing and can be very self-deprecating in interviews. Keanu is not one to let popularity faze him and even admitted that he is like Mickey Mouse, no one really knows who is inside him. One headline that he made outside of films was the time he was hospitalised for a week with broken ribs and a ruptured spleen due to an accident involving his motorcycle and very reckless riding.

Though he might not look it, Keanu is also very musical, playing bass in his current band Becky and previously in Dogstar. This is one man who certainly knows how to play the whole strong and silent look to perfection and is certainly not lacking to the sex appeal department, having been chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world and by Empire magazine as #17 on its list of 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History in 1995. Though he still maintains his Canadian passport and citizenship, this star is reported to split his time between living in Toronto and Beverly Hills.




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Tagged:

Constantine , Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure , Matrix, The , Matrix Reloaded, The , Matrix Revolutions, The , Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey , Youngblood , River's Edge , Night Before, The , Permanent Record , Prince of Pennsylvania, The , Dangerous Liaisons , Parenthood , I Love You to Death , Tune in Tomorrow... , Point Break , My Own Private Idaho , Bram Stoker's Dracula , Much Ado About Nothing , Even Cowgirls Get the Blues , Little Buddha , Speed , Johnny Mnemonic , A Walk in the Clouds , Chain Reaction , Feeling Minnesota , Last Time I Committed Suicide, The , Replacements, The , Watcher, The , Gift, The , Sweet November , Hardball , Thumbsucker , A Scanner Darkly , Street Kings , Becky , Dogstar




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