On Keanu not working for the money

  1. Turned down The Fly II for Dangerous Liaisons, which gave him one tenth the salary.
  2. Turned down the $11 million offered for Speed 2 and went off to Canada to play Hamlet for $2000 a week – minimum Actor's Guild salary – in January 2005.
  3. Then came back and – while people were still waving the $11 million at him – did Feeling Minnesota for $200,000. $11 million was the most that Keanu had ever been offered for a film.
  4. Took a paycut of $1 million for The Devil's Advocate so the studio could afford to hire Al Pacino.
  5. Took a 90% pay cut for The Replacements so that they could afford to hire Gene Hackman. Then he secretly asked the trailer people to replace his gigantic trailer with one that was the same size as that of all the other less-famous cast members, and was upset when the news leaked out and everyone found out about it.
  6. Donated $38 million towards the costumes and special effects departments for the Matrix sequels when the Wachowskis ran short of cash. (Note: This has often been misreported as Keanu donating the money towards the actual crew members, which was not the case. The money went straight into the production budget. He did, however, buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle for each of the stuntmen who worked with him on the Matrix sequels.)

There are many other instances of staggering acts of financial generosity on Keanu's part, be it to friends, coworkers or strangers, but the list above is meant to counter accusations that Keanu only got into acting for the money. Keanu lived a very frugal life for years – all his belongings fit into a single suitcase, and his residential arrangements alternated between movie trailers and hotels – and only recently has started treating himself a bit more.

When it comes to his work, money plays little part in the scripts he chooses. He has already made than enough to last "centuries", as he once said (betraying his immortality with that Freudian slip), and enjoys the financial security that it gives him to be able to do the little indie films that he loves so much. He's said that if he had the ability not to worry about his box-office and his next job, he would do nothing but talky indie films with good stories, interesting characters and well-written dialogue.

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