Whoa, forget all those superheroes and monsters. The hottest star of the summer is an enigmatic 54-year-old actor that made his movie debut back in 1986. Keanu Reeves is suddenly everywhere, from red carpets to a Netflix romcom to TV talk shows. And you know what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! Reeves is having a moment. Here’s how:
1. He Owns the Movie Cameo of the Year
“I met someone. … He’s amazing. I can’t believe a guy like this is actually into me!” That’s how Ali Wong’s celebrity chef Sasha excitedly describes her new fling in the new Netflix gem Always Be My Maybe. Cut to Reeves strutting slow-mo through a new-age L.A. restaurant, dressed in a custom Tom Ford-designed black suit with lensless eye wear. The scene is already an instant classic, as it’s being meme’d across Twitter as you read this. (The surprise was so hush-hush that I was forbidden in writing from revealing it on social media after I saw an early screening.) Costar and cowriter Randall Park revealed that Reeves agreed to spoof his high-falutin image because he’s a fan of the comedy’s creative team. He also improvised several of his lines. “It’s hard to describe just how shockingly funny he is,” Park told Rolling Stone. Is there nothing this man can’t do?
2. He Toppled the Avengers
The original John Wick was released to little fanfare back in October 2014. (In fact, it didn’t even screen in advance for weekly film critics.) The neo-noir action thriller featured Reeves as a hitman searching for the villains who wrecked his life and killed his puppy. But it was a modest hit and generated solid reviews. Since then, Reeves’ franchise has only grown in stature and popularity, culminating in May’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. The new chapter, featuring a fight scene in which Reeves kills a man with a book, grossed a whopping $56 in its opening weekend, good enough to beat the beast that is Avengers: End Game. Now the little cult saga is nearing $500 million overall. John Wick 4 is coming May 21, 2021.
3. He Left Stephen Colbert Speechless
You’ve seen the clip, right? In May, Reeves visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote John Wick 3. It turned out to be anything but the standard guest-on-the-couch-to-plug-a-film appearance. After describing the time-and-space-continuum plot for the looooong-awaited Bill & Ted Face the Music, Stephen Colbert put him on the spot and asked him about one of life’s great mysteries: What happens when we die? Reeves thought about it for a moment before giving a profound response. “I know that the ones who love us will miss us,” he said solemnly. A visibly stunned Colbert replied, “Wow,” then shook Reeves’ hand and ended the segment. The tragic backstory: The actor’s best friend overdosed in 1993, and his girlfriend Jennifer Syme died in a 2001 car crash.
4. He Finally Came Clean About His Sandra Bullock Crush
Keep your foot on the accelerator, veer off the highway and take a sharp right onto memory lane: Keeves’ action blockbuster Speed turns 25 this month. Surely you remember that he played an L.A. cop who frantically boards a city bus to ensure that a madman bomber doesn’t detonate it. A young Sandra Bullock played the de facto bus driver. The two survived and lived happily ever after — well, until the doomed Speed 2. A year ago, Bullock confessed to a crush on her costar; at last, Reeves has admitted the feeling was mutual, swoon. “She obviously didn’t know that I had a crush on her either,” he told Ellen DeGeneres. “She’s such a wonderful person.” He explained that he didn’t reveal the crush in a bid to remain professional: “We were working.” Fine. Speed 3?
5. He’s Fantastic as Plastic
Oh, Reeves also lends his talents to a small kids’ flick called Toy Story 4. The star voices a brand-new character named Duke Caboom, who’s a Canadian stunt man doll turned alpha-toy. A sort-of proprietor of a pinball machine in the back of an antique store, he’s transformed the arcade into a ritzy nightclub for lost toys. When it came to picking a star to make the character come to life, “Keanu was the first one on our list and I’m so thrilled he said yes,” director Josh Cooley recently explained. True to form, Reeves delved into the role with three-dimensional aplomb: “We were talking about the character and just getting deeper about ‘What do you think drives him?’ So at one point, he just got up on the table, like imagine sitting down there and eating lunch with everybody and he goes, ‘Hooh hah, hooah.’ And he’s just doing poses and stuff, and I’m like, ‘This is it, this is incredible.’” Indeed.
John Wick 3 is in theaters now; Always Be My Maybe is available to stream; Toy Story 4 is out Friday, June 18.