Keanu Reeves: an outpouring of love
The Hollywood star's fans rally round after a sad photo of him appears on the internet
by Kira Cochrane
The public feel many emotions towards enormously successful, fabulously wealthy, extraordinarily good-looking Hollywood stars. Protective isn't usually one of them. But Keanu Reeves is different. When a photo surfaced last week of him perching on a park bench, eating a sandwich, looking just a tiny bit morose, the internet went wild. Bloggers typed out a torrent of warmth, the Twitterers tweeted their larksong of love. It was as though the world had suddenly awoken to the ideal espoused in Reeves's Bill and Ted movies: "Be excellent to each other."
A thread started on Reddit, running to thousands of comments, including anecdotes of Reeves's incredible generosity. There were stories of him taking out stage hands for free lunches, giving a poor crew member a $20,000 (£16,500) bonus, stopping to help a woman jumpstart her car. People began Photoshopping the original image of Reeves into other photographs – surrounded by a furry army of cats, for instance. A website was started called "Thank you, Keanu Reeves!", with people praising the actor for his sincerity, his films, his sterling work as a representative of his childhood home, Canada. And the proposals also began for a Keanu Reeves day, to be held tomorrow. On the Facebook page for "Cheer up Keanu day" it was explained that people should send "letters, emails, gifts and any other niceties and kind words to a real bro, Keanu Reeves".
Why this outpouring? It's not really because of his acting; as film critic Joe Queenan, a huge Reeves fan, once pointed out, he is "not so much a bad actor as a non-actor". Though Reeves has certainly appeared in some entertaining films - Point Break, Speed, The Matrix – and is also, obviously, one of the best looking people in the world. This helps. But there's an enigma about him, and what seems like a genuine shyness and humility. He's experienced some hard times personally over the years, and the public feels for him. A source who knew Reeves in the early 90s confirms the many stories of his kindness – he taught her bass guitar, brought chicken soup when she was ill, let all and sundry stay at his house, and sent flowers to his sister each week. Perhaps the simple truth is this. We want to protect Keanu because we can tell he's good. Most excellent, even.