In June 2020 stunt driver extraordinaire Jeremy Fry broke the internet when he opened up to the Metro about working on the John Wick movies with Keanu Reeves. Of course, Fry spoke a bit about doubling for Reeves and performing those hair-raising car chases on all three flicks. But it was the stuntman’s comments about Reeves’ personality that really caught people’s attention. After all, it’s not every day you learn what a star is like when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Mind you, Fry did make a point of first praising Reeves’ dedication to stunt work. He also applauded the actor’s aptitude for learning complicated fight choreography. Interestingly, too, Fry said Reeves didn’t always insist on doing everything himself. Instead, he said Reeves knows what he is capable of accomplishing – but also knows when to leave it to the professionals.
“It’s always interesting to me when actors want to do their own stunts,” Fry told Metro. “When you have people who you can use, and you won’t know that it’s not them. But Keanu, he completely gets that. He has never said, ‘I want to do that. I want to do it.’” Fry insisted that this was a good thing, though.
Yep, Fry appreciates how Reeves doesn’t put himself in unnecessary danger. Rather, he puts his faith in stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott and director Chad Stahelski. “He trusts Darrin and [Stahelski] to make the best decision that they can, and he knows that they will use him whenever they feel it’s appropriate and safe,” the stuntman said. Fry then illustrated this aspect of Reeves’ character with an example.
There was one particular stunt in John Wick that required Reeves to do it himself, just as the director envisioned. And not only was it deemed safe enough for Reeves, but the actor also performed the stunt perfectly. Fry explained, “There was a shot where we wanted Keanu to slide up to the camera, and we wanted to have the camera come right up to him.” How did Reeves react to this situation?
Well, the stunt team worked extensively with Reeves to plan the stunt’s execution specifically to utilize his abilities. “And we worked with him for a while on that one, and it’s a tricky one [but] he nailed it. He did such a good job on that,” Fry told Metro. And while this doesn’t tell us much about Reeves’ personality, it is high praise indeed. Fry is a guy who has years of experience in the industry, after all.
Fry actually got his start by working at the Motion Picture Driving Clinic, a prestigious stunt-driving school in California. He then rose through the ranks to become its head instructor during his 12-year tenure. He also competed in rally car racing and learned how to drift in a Ford Mustang. For those who don’t know, drifting is essentially sliding a car sideways – like they did in the third Fast and the Furious movie.
Fry’s first stunt credit came in Swordfish, a 2001 tech-thriller starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and John Travolta. But he quickly began picking up more stunt gigs on films and television shows in the early 2000s. These included The O.C., Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Spider-Man 2 and National Treasure. This all led to his first encounter with Reeves.
It was 2005 when Fry first crossed paths with the star, during the shooting of supernatural thriller Constantine. Yet in 2018 Fry told Street Muscle magazine that he considered his work on The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007 to be his first big job. The stuntman then drifted a truck in the 2009 Gerard Butler action movie, Gamer.
Fast forward to today, and Fry’s career is thriving. Yes, his driving prowess can be seen in blockbusters such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Ryan Reynolds’ upcoming action-comedy Free Guy. He also drove on female-centric superhero romp Birds of Prey. And in a practical stunt capacity, he worked on Ford v Ferrari and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, both released in 2019. Of course, he’s also famous for working with Reeves on John Wick.
But arguably Fry’s most fun job came in 2017 when he was hired as a stunt driver on Edgar Wright’s action-comedy Baby Driver. The stuntman knew the movie – which focused on Ansel Elgort’s music-loving getaway driver – was ideal for his talents. He told Street Machine, “When I saw the script, I knew I’d hit the jackpot.”
Fry continued, “What stunt performer in L.A. doesn’t want to double the lead actor in a movie where the character is a getaway driver and there’s car stuff the whole way through? It doesn’t get any better than that!” The stuntman enjoyed his experience in the movie even more because he was heavily involved in developing the action sequences. And – much like he would go on to dish the dirt on Reeves – Fry had plenty to say about the movie’s stars.
Fry was complimentary about Elgort and co-star Jon Hamm’s proficiency with the stunt driving they took on. The stuntman spent time training the actors at the Motion Picture Driving Clinic and felt Elgort, in particular, exceeded expectations. He said, “Ansel and Jon Hamm both picked it up really fast, and we were able to use them for a lot of stuff.”
Like Elgort, Reeves is an actor known for exceeding expectations when it comes to working hand-in-hand with his stunt team. The star, who first rose to fame playing metalhead Ted “Theodore” Logan in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, has starred in several iconic action movies throughout his career, after all. Point Break and Speed were early 1990s hits, before 1999 sci-fi classic The Matrix changed everything.
Chad Stahelski, Reeves’ stunt double on that movie, told Vulture in 2019, “The Matrix literally transformed the industry.” Stahelski would go on to become a director, of course, re-teaming with Reeves on the John Wick franchise. But their close relationship began on The Matrix. You’ll remember that the fight choreography in The Matrix was revolutionary – and Reeves performed as much of the martial arts and wirework as he could himself.
As Stahelski explained, “Back in the day, fight scenes were secondary to car chases and horse chases and helicopter chases.” But The Matrix showed that fight scenes could actually be part of the storytelling and not just about watching a character getting duffed up. For example, Reeves’ jiu-jitsu scene with Laurence Fishburne in the dōjō is really about Neo’s journey of self-discovery.
And from Reeves’ perspective, he feels that if an audience knows an actor is performing the stunts themselves, it prevents them from disconnecting. “I do all of the action,” he told Willie Geist of Today in 2019. “I’m 90 percent of what’s happening there. I’m maintaining the connection to the audience, and with the story.”
That audience certainly is connected, too. In 2020 Reeves is worth a staggering $360 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And a decent-sized chunk of that wealth comes off the back of the John Wick franchise – which was a comeback of sorts for the star. Before his first outing as the titular assassin in 2014, you see, Reeves had experienced a series of commercial failures, such as 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.
But John Wick grossed over four times its budget at the worldwide box-office and was quickly hailed as an action classic. Then Reeves starred in two sequels, John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum in 2019. Each sequel upped the ante in terms of the scale and quantity of action on-screen, and the box-office figures also grew accordingly.
When Metro interviewed Fry, they asked about the most challenging stunt he performed on any of the Wick movies. And he chose one that came during a pivotal scene in John Wick: Chapter 2. Fry said, “The second one when he finds his Mustang,” and went on to explain what made the scene so tough to accomplish.
“That whole sequence we tried to make it look like it was happening in a larger area than it was,” said Fry. “The floor of this warehouse was about 3 feet lower than the parking lot outside. So they had this ramp that was already part of the building.” Within these limitations, Fry had a brainwave.
Yes, the stuntman wanted to try a live-action version of a stunt he saw in the animated hit Big Hero 6, in which a car was jolted sideways. The stunt team agreed to try it, despite space being limited. “The door was 20 feet wide, and the car was about 18 feet long,” Fry told Metro, only slightly exaggerating the length of the famously long Mustang.
Anyway, the team knew there was almost no margin for error on the stunt. “So if I was coming out if I happen to be sideways, I only had a foot on either end at speed to get the car out the door,” explained Fry. “So it was tricky.” The car even sustained some damage on the first attempt at the stunt.
Much to his dismay, Fry clipped the Mustang’s front bumper on the doorway, and it tore off. As a fan of muscle cars, Fry was upset at having caused damage to a Mustang in pristine condition. He told Metro, “Physically I was fine. Emotionally I was destroyed.”
In the end, it took five takes to nail the stunt. After the director yelled “Cut!” on the fifth take, Fry said the atmosphere on set was electric. He said, “They played it back, and it was so cool. For whatever reason on that shot, everything had kind of come together. It’s one of the coolest shots that I’ve been a part of.”
Then Metro asked Fry whether he believes it is more dangerous to be a stunt driver or a practical stunt performer. And he started his answer by acknowledging the hazards of practical stunt work, which can certainly lead to injuries. “I think people get more injured during fights, a lot of practical stunts, getting thrown down a hillside or getting tossed into a wall,” he said.
However, Fry does believe that the overall risk factor is higher for stunt drivers. He reasons that a mistake in a car can more than likely lead to extremely serious injury – or worse. Fry stated, “That being said, when the big gags happen, the chances of getting hurt, seriously hurt, are probably higher with what we’re doing.”
Fry illustrated his point by noting the difference between making a mistake during a fight scene and making a mistake while performing an automobile stunt. He said, “Just because having an actor accidentally hit you in the face, which has happened to me, I mean, it hurts. But when you are hitting a ramp and are [going] at 60 miles an hour, the chances of getting seriously hurt, probably a lot higher.”
Also, the various logistical issues that a car stunt can present to a movie production add to the level of difficulty. You see, it’s not simply a matter of trying things out on a whim. “In a car, [if] you want to do a rehearsal, you’ve got to have a location, you got to have everyone locking it up, locking up all the different entrances to our area,” Fry told Metro.
Fry continued, “We might have the cops that have to close traffic. We got the AD on the walkies making sure that everyone’s safe. And it’s a production that’s just for one rehearsal.” All things considered, with the organization and planning that a car stunt entails plus the extra risk factor, Fry has concluded that stunt driving is more nerve-racking than practical stunt work.
“Other [stunts] can be stressful,” said Fry. “But cars tend to present challenges and obstacles that other elements of stunt performing do not.” But he was quick to clarify that his intention was not to downplay the dangers of other stunt work. He noted, “But that being said, every facet of our industry of stunts has their own individual and unique challenges.”
So, given that Fry works in an industry where he faces potential harm every day, Metro asked the stuntman if he had ever been too frightened to perform a particular gag. And while he did admit to being fearful at times, he said he would never attempt a stunt that wasn’t 100 percent safe. “I will never get to a situation where I feel like I’m rolling the dice,” he told Metro.
The stuntman explained, “I might have the initial feeling like, ‘Oh man, this could be really bad.’ But then when you really think about it, and I really process and evaluate it, I go, ‘Okay, this gag has been done before many times. I have all the safeties in place. There’s plenty of people far smarter and more intelligent than I that have signed off on this.’”
Looking at his career as a whole, Fry was adamant he has never been in a situation where all the angles hadn’t been covered by the stunt crew. He believes he has never been involved in a stunt that could truly endanger his life or the life of an actor. He declared, “I would say that I never have, and I never would do anything where I felt like I was risking my life or anyone else’s.”
Amusingly, however, Fry did admit that there have been occasions where he wondered why he didn’t choose a different profession. This usually happened when waiting to perform a stunt, before his adrenaline kicked in. He laughed, “Over the course of my job, I’ve definitely been sitting in the car going, ‘Oh man, I can’t wait until this is over, why didn’t I become an accountant like my mum always suggested?’”
But how was it working with Reeves? Well, Fry didn’t disappoint in his assessment of the star – who has somewhat of a reputation in the industry. Yep, he revealed that Reeves is every bit as amazing as anyone could hope. “He is a giver, he is selfless, he works tirelessly,” confirmed Fry. “Every good thing you’ve ever heard about him is 110 percent true.”
Fry told Metro about the incredible generosity shown by Reeves during the filming of his movies. For example, on the set of John Wick: Chapter 2, Fry had bonded with the star over their shared interest in motorcycles. So when Reeves approached Fry with an offer, he knew it was something he had to take up.
“He goes, ‘Hey, how would you like to go to Laguna Seca?’ and when Keanu Reeves asks you if you wanna go pretty much anywhere, you say yes,” Fry told Metro. “Turns out he had rented Laguna Seca, which is a very well-known popular racetrack in California, and he rented it out for two days, private rental.”
So Fry traveled to the racetrack and was taken aback by how many VIPs were there. Strikingly, he said all expenses were paid for by Reeves. “There were about 80 of his friends and people he knew,” remarked Fry. “There were celebrities there, people from different industries there, a huge cross-section of people. He put us up in local hotels, he catered breakfast, lunch, dinners.”
All in all, the weekend was an extraordinary experience for Fry, who relished being able to introduce his brother to his colleague: world-famous movie star and all-round nice guy Keanu Reeves. Then they proceeded to race motorcycles all weekend long. Fry said, “That was a very special time for me for many different reasons.”
Yet Keanu Reeves is one of those rare Hollywood stars whose private life has largely remained something of an enigma. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that the internet went crazy when the Matrix star appeared to take a date to a Los Angeles gala. And when details of the mystery woman finally emerged, Reeves’ fans noticed something rather extraordinary about her.
Yes, social media erupted when photos emerged of Reeves happily posing on the red carpet with artist Alexandra Grant in November 2019. At the time, the pair were attending the Art + Film Gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which has showcased several of Grant’s collections. And it turns out that the couple’s relationship goes way back.
Reportedly, Reeves and Grant have been good friends since the late 2000s. Over the years, though, their once-platonic connection appears to have grown into something more romantic. But why exactly has the John Wick star’s partner got everyone’s tongues wagging?
Keanu Reeves has been famously secretive about his life away from the cameras ever since he began his film career in the mid-1980s. However, admirers of the actor may have heard that he once entered into a three-year relationship with one of his first big-screen co-stars. Apparently, Reeves began dating Jill Schoelen after they appeared together in Babes in Toyland.
Yet while Schoelen moved on to have a brief engagement with Brad Pitt following her split with Reeves, the actor himself appeared to have enjoyed the single life. That said, there were a few rumored romances. In 1992 Reeves supposedly began stepping out with Sofia Coppola, whose father, Francis, had directed Reeves film Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This relationship has never been confirmed, mind you.
In fact, Reeves even got ‘married’ while shooting the horror movie – although the wedding is unlikely to be officially recognized anywhere outside of the Romanian film set. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2018, co-star Winona Ryder recalled the moment when her and Reeves’ characters walked down the aisle – and she made the startling claim that the pair could be husband and wife for real.
Ryder explained, “In that scene, Francis used a real Romanian priest. We shot the master, and he did the whole thing. So I think we’re married.” Reeves, who was also being interviewed at the time, initially expressed his surprise at this recollection. After Ryder jogged his memory a bit further, though, the star jokingly relented, saying, “Oh my gosh, we’re married.”
Yet while Reeves’ most serious relationship to date appears to have been with actress Jennifer Syme, their time together unfortunately ended in tragedy. The pair first began dating in 1999, with Syme falling pregnant not long after. Sadly, though, Ava Archer Syme-Reeves arrived stillborn on Christmas Eve later that same year. This devastating loss understandably put a major strain on the pair’s relationship, and by early 2000 they’d agreed to split.
Still, Reeves and Syme continued to stay in touch over the following year. In fact, according to reports, the pair enjoyed brunch together in April 2001 – and just 24 hours before tragedy struck once again. Shockingly, less than 18 months after the death of her first-born, Syme also lost her own life in a terrible car accident.
Syme had been driving down Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles on her own when she struck three cars parked at the side of the road. She was subsequently thrown outside her own vehicle as it repeatedly rolled over, and she reportedly died at the scene. Police later discovered prescription medicine in Syme’s car.
Under the shadow of this loss, an understandably distraught Reeves put his work commitments on hold to deal with his grief. The star had been set to film both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions back to back when the fatal accident occurred. And guitarist Bret Domrose – who has played with Reeves in grunge outfit Dogstar – would go on to claim that his bandmate needed “peace and time” before resuming his career.
Years later, Reeves discussed channeling this sense of grief while working on the original John Wick. In 2019 he told The Guardian, “For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss – those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
Reeves was also later linked to Clare Forlani – his co-star in 1997 biographical drama The Last Time I Committed Suicide. In fact, the pair were rumored to have got engaged during an apparent three-year relationship in the mid-’00s. During a 2006 interview with the New York Daily News, however, Reeves claimed that he and Forlani had only ever been good friends.
Another celebrity to have become attached to Reeves romantically was actress and model China Chow in 2008. And, in fact, the Burn Notice star may have become accustomed to sharing the limelight with high-profile beaus. Reportedly, Chow has dated such A-listers as Mark Wahlberg, Jared Leto and Steve Coogan over the years.
More recently, though, Reeves’ love life has appeared to be relatively uneventful. And that’s precisely why so many fans were left shocked when he appeared on the red carpet in 2019 with a mystery date. But the woman in question didn’t remain an enigma for long. For one, it’s emerged that Alexandra Grant has been a part of Reeves’ life for a good ten years. So, who is the star’s new flame?
Originating from Ohio but now living in Los Angeles, Grant studied history and studio art at Swarthmore College. Then, after graduating in 1994, she began to make a name for herself on the American art scene. And Grant is particularly renowned for her paintings, sculptures and multimedia works that are inspired by the spoken word and dialogues with fellow creatives.
It’s worth noting, too, that Grant has also had experience in the film world. In 2015, for example, she took the director’s chair for the first time to shoot a 60-minute documentary entitled Taking Lena Home. Created as part of Grant’s time in residence at Omaha’s Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the movie focused on the recovery of a tombstone that had been unlawfully taken from the state of Nebraska.
Grant has had a passion for languages from an early age, too, having spent a portion of her youth in France, Spain and Mexico. She’s also had her work shown at venues such as New York’s Harris Lieberman Gallery, Paris’ Galerie Gradiva and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. And, of course, it was during her gala appearance with Reeves at LACMA that Grant’s profile skyrocketed.
Grant has known Reeves for quite some time, however. In fact, as far back as 2011, the pair worked together on Ode to Happiness – a picture book aimed at an adult audience. Their collaboration proved to be so well-received, moreover, that the pair decided to join forces again in 2016 on second book Shadows.
And Reeves and Grant certainly appeared to enjoy each other’s company. They were pictured together for the Spanish edition of Vogue, for instance, and attended numerous book signings as a duo. In addition, Grant couldn’t stop gushing about the actor in interviews to promote Shadows – a book that combined her silhouette photography with his poetic words.
“No one can move the way he can,” Grant enthused in a 2016 chat with the Los Angeles Times. “He’s a really extreme performer. That’s a huge piece of why those images are so interesting. I knew that if I moved the camera as we danced together, as photographer and subject, we could create these wonderful optical illusions.”
Reeves was also present for this particular interview. And the Los Angeles Times journalist asking the questions certainly appeared to recognize that there was perhaps more than meets the eye to his relationship with Grant. In the piece, the reporter remarks, “In conversation, the two friends share an easy rapport and speak in a comfortable shorthand fueled by inside jokes and knowing smiles.”
Meanwhile, in another 2016 interview with W magazine, Grant discussed how she and Reeves inspire each other when collaborating. She said, “We can spend a lot of time debating. Like, ‘A raspberry hue? And should it be darker?’ We can get obsessive.” And in 2017 the pair founded X Artist Books – a publishing company focusing on “unusual collaborations” and work falling between genres that may struggle to find a home elsewhere.
However, Grant and Reeves’ professional relationship gradually appeared to evolve into a full-blown romantic one. In May 2019, for example, the pair were pictured on the red carpet at a Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) benefit show held at the Geffen Contemporary site in Los Angeles. And they seemingly couldn’t stop beaming as they posed for photos together.
Then, a month later, Grant and Reeves were pictured clutching hands at the Saint Laurent Men’s Spring/Summer 20 event at Malibu’s Paradise Cove. And in October that same year, the couple were spotted in a loving embrace as they left a Hollywood eaterie.
What’s more, an unnamed source confirmed to People magazine that the pair were no longer just friends. In November 2019 they said, “[Reeves and Grant] started dating earlier this year, but [they] have wanted to keep it quiet. Keanu wants to openly share his life with her. He is extremely happy and grateful to have Alex in his life.”
Yet Grant and Reeves’ surprising willingness to engage in some PDA went largely unnoticed until they stepped out at the LACMA Art + Film Gala in November 2019. And social media duly went into meltdown after pictures emerged of the pair once again holding hands on the red carpet. It wasn’t just the fact that the famously private Reeves was being openly affectionate that got tongues wagging, however.
You see, much of the talk on Twitter centered around the fact that, unlike many of his Hollywood peers, Reeves was dating someone who was considered age-appropriate. And while admittedly Grant is still nine years younger than the much-loved actor, a month previously 65-year-old Dennis Quaid had announced his engagement to Laura Savoie – a Ph.D. student 39 years his junior.
One particularly supportive fan tweeted, “It’s a miracle: Hollywood actor dates age-appropriately. An artist with a full head of grey hair to boot. Keanu, I could not love you more at this moment.” Another wrote, “Just when I didn’t think he could get more wholesome, Keanu dates within his age group despite his peers often dating young women. Fantastic man.”
By the same token, some were just genuinely pleased that one of Hollywood’s nicest guys had finally found someone to settle down with. One Twitter user posted, “I don’t know him, but am I really happy that Keanu Reeves has found someone to be happy with? Too right I am. Keanu is a blessing to us all and deserves all the happiness.”
In addition, Reeves was praised by another approving fan on the social media platform for dating a “smart, creative, independent woman.” However, not everyone was as enthusiastic about the actor’s red-carpet appearance with Grant. “Keanu Reeves’ girlfriend is a decade younger than him – not ‘the same age,’” one unimpressed Twitter user pointed out.
“People really need to stop freaking out about Keanu and Alexandra,” wrote another in agreement. “Dating someone in your age bracket isn’t courageous; it’s f**king normal. He’s proven time and time again he’s a regular guy. Let’s stop with this amazement about who he’s dating and wish them both well.”
Similarly, others bemoaned the fact that Grant’s age had come into the equation at all. One Twitter user wrote, “Is the most fascinating thing to talk about Alexandra Grant really her age? She’s a highly accomplished artist, a philanthropist and a babe. Can she please not be reduced to ‘Keanu’s age-appropriate girlfriend?’ She’s a spectacular woman in her own right; he’s lucky to be her man.”
However, at least these comments were still supportive, as other less positive Twitter users were equally quick to make derisive remarks about Grant’s appearance. “Men age like wine; women age like milk,” read one particularly cruel tweet. “Keanu deserves a kind girl in their 20s or 30s at the latest, not a great-grandma” was another.
And the negative comments continued. “What is this? He should be bagging hot, young, feminine women, not some old, tattooed feminist,” carped one poster. Many also remarked upon Grant’s resemblance to a significantly older Oscar-winning actress. “Saw the photos and legit thought Keanu was dating Helen Mirren,” read one such post.
Remarkably, Helen Mirren herself actually commented on the comparisons during a red carpet chat at the Big Apple premiere for her film The Good Liar. The 74-year-old actress admitted, too, that she was delighted to be mentioned in the same breath as Grant. She told Entertainment Tonight, “That was very flattering on me, you know, because [Grant’s] obviously lovely.”
Plus, Mirren had nothing but positive things to say about Reeves, who had starred in The Devil’s Advocate – the 1997 thriller directed by her husband Taylor Hackford. She continued, “I do know Keanu very well… he is just the most adorable, lovely person. So she’s a lucky girl, and I’m sure that he’s a lucky boy.”
This sentiment was echoed by Life & Style magazine, which reported that Grant has helped Reeves to come to terms with his tragic experiences. An anonymous source told the publication that the artist is “one of the few people who’s managed to get Keanu to open up about his emotions and past. Some say she’s not only stolen his heart, but she’s also saved him.”
An unnamed friend also told the same magazine, “[Reeves] was in such a dark place for so long, but Alexandra’s positive outlook and support have played a huge part in helping him turn his life around.” Another remarked that Reeves was attracted to Grant as “she is kind, warm and spiritual… and she is a great communicator.”
Finally, when fans aren’t keeping tabs on Reeves’ love life, they can also look forward to seeing the star appear in several films in 2020. Firstly, he will reprise his role as loveable doofus Ted in the long-awaited Bill & Ted Face the Music. He will then lend his voice to Sage in the animated feature The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
But it’s not just Reeves’ new relationship that has got people talking in recent times. You see, the actor has also managed to charm fans in his usual way: by showing that he’s a downright nice guy. Yes, stories of the John Wick star’s generous nature continue to flood the internet. And one example seems to have made a particularly big impact.
It’s safe to say that 2019 was a big year for Keanu Reeves. The actor appeared in Toy Story 4, Always Be My Maybe and the third installment of John Wick – to name just a few projects that kept him busy. But in July Reeves showed up in a totally unexpected place: a fan’s backyard. You see, a woman had left a sign out for the Speed star – and his startling reaction made news across the internet.
This is understandable, of course, as Reeves certainly holds a special place in the hearts of many movie fans. And this is partly because he’s appeared in so many successful films, including Point Break, The Matrix franchise and the Bill & Ted series. But the Canadian actor’s popularity also boils down to the fact that he normally comes off as a damn nice guy.
Yes, the internet is abound with stories of Reeves crossing paths with everyday people and doing awesome things for them. So any news of Reeves interacting with the public is bound to turn a few heads. Take, for instance, in 2001 when the star visited a cinema in Sydney, Australia. Working there at the time was fan James Dator – and he was in for a huge surprise.
In May 2019 Dator actually shared his celebrity encounter in a series of tweets. He explained, “I’m working at the box office [and] bored as hell, and suddenly, this dude walks up in jeans, a leather jacket and a horse riding helmet… It takes me a solid 30 seconds to ignore the helmet and realize it’s Keanu Reeves.”
And just as many fans presumably would have, a starstruck Dator reportedly wanted Reeves’ signature. “I do what any sensible 16-year-old does and tell [Reeves] I’d like to give him my employee discount,” Dator explained. “This means he needs to sign my sheet, and therefore I have his autograph.” Unfortunately, though, the actor seemingly didn’t catch on, and, puzzled, he informed the teen that he wasn’t a member of staff.
Then, just when Dator thought that he’d blown his chance, something remarkable apparently happened. “Two minutes later, there’s a knock on the door behind me that leads into the box office,” Dator tweeted. “I assume it’s my manager; it’s Keanu… ‘I realized you probably wanted my autograph,’ he says.” And Reeves had reportedly then handed the teen a receipt that he’d signed.
But Dator’s story gets even more touching. He claimed, you see, that Reeves had thrown something in the trash on his way out of the office. And as a result, it had dawned on Dator that the star had gone out of his way to make a fan happy. “I realize later that [Reeves] bought an ice cream cone he didn’t want just to get receipt paper so he could scribble his autograph for a 16-year-old idiot,” Dator explained.
If you’re thinking that Reeves’ sweet gelato gesture was a one-off, however, think again. Because in a 2010 Reddit thread, internet users shared stories about their own experiences with the amicable actor. And as it turned out, a lot of people had nice things to say about the action hero.
For instance, a user called bo2dd2 wrote, “Back in the late ’90s and fresh out of college, I got my first job as an assistant prop designer on the set of Chain Reaction (Keanu was a supporting actor with Morgan Freeman). Every day for the last few weeks of filming, Keanu treated the stage hands and “grunt workers” (including myself) by taking us out for free breakfasts and lunches. He was genuinely a very nice guy to work with.”
Interestingly, Reeves helping out workers behind the scenes of his films seemed to be a theme in the thread. Another user, for example, wrote, “A family friend builds movie sets – doesn’t design – is one of the poor dudes that just builds. Anyways, he worked on the set for The Matrix, and Keanu heard about family trouble he was having and gave him a $20,000 Christmas bonus to help him out.”
The Redditor went on, “[Reeves] also was one of the only people on the set who genuinely wanted to know people’s names, would say hello and mean it and would talk to people as his peers and not below him just because they were practically making nothing to build a set.”
There were non-movie-related stories about Reeves on the thread, too. “A friend of mine told me that she was once stranded on the side of a highway outside L.A. when her jalopy broke down,” one Redditor wrote. “She had no cell phone (that was before most people had cell phones) and no way to call for help. Then, a nice black Porsche pulls over, and as you can guess, it was Keanu.”
Not only did Reeves apparently help the poor woman out, but he was also a true gentleman about it. “He tried to help her jump-start the car, and when it didn’t work, he called AAA for her,” the user continued. “When they towed her car, he offered to drive her home, which she accepted. He drove about 50 miles out of his destination just to drive her home. She told me she hoped he would hit on her, but he didn’t.”
Incidentally, this isn’t the only time that Reeves has garnered praise for being well-mannered around women. In June 2019 users of Twitter pointed out, for instance, that when Reeves poses with a female fan, he usually doesn’t touch her skin. “It’s not about not taking chances,” one person tweeted. “It’s about being considerate and respectful – qualities that Keanu carries in spades.”
Another story on the Reddit thread also tells of Reeves giving away extravagant gifts on set. “I had a few friends working special effects jobs on The Matrix movies,” one user explained. “[Reeves] bought all of them f**king Harleys for Christmas during the shoot for the second one.”
And Reeves himself backed up this heartwarming story. “We were all in this thing, and we were training together beforehand,” the star told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003. Apparently, he’d gifted the motorbikes in order “to give a bigger thank you” to the people who’d helped him make the standout fight scenes in The Matrix Reloaded.
But if the star’s chivalry and offers of free motorbikes aren’t proof enough, there’s even more evidence of Reeves being an all-round wonderful person. For one thing, the actor does a bunch of charity work – and he’s very humble about it, too. “I have a private foundation that’s been running for five or six years, and it helps aid a couple of children’s hospitals and cancer research. I don’t like to attach my name to it,” Reeves told Ladies Home Journal in 2009.
Given Reeves’ nice-guy reputation, then, it’s unsurprising that fans have fallen in love with him – so much so that he’s been labeled “the internet’s boyfriend.” And when the one-time Mr. Anderson discovered this flattering title, his reaction was suitably adorable. “I didn’t know that… That’s wacky,” Reeves said in June 2019 at the premiere of Toy Story 4 after People informed him of the moniker. He added, “The positivity is great.”
Speaking of wackiness, it’s actually Reeves’ quirky side that some of his fans are most obsessed with. And this certainly came to the forefront in June 2019 while the actor was presenting a panel for the video game Cyberpunk 2077 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. In fact, Reeves’ interaction with one of the audience members was so amusing and sweet that it spawned a meme.
Talking about the experience of playing the game, Reeves explained, “The feeling of being there – of walking the streets of the future – is going to be breathtaking.” In response, audience member Peter Sark shouted out to the Canadian actor, “You’re breathtaking!” And Reeves quipped back, “You’re breathtaking! You’re all breathtaking!”
As a result of the cute interaction at the gaming conference, then, the word “breathtaking” has become associated with Reeves. Memes referencing the moment began springing up within hours of the show ending, in fact. And Sark used the experience as a way of spreading his own positivity. When the fan was offered a free copy of Cyperpunk 2077 by the developers, you see, he turned it down in favor of a charitable donation.
So, what better way to get Reeves’ attention than with a sign reading, “You’re Breathtaking”? Well, this was the bright idea that one superfan from Slidell, Louisiana, had in July 2019. Reeves, you see, was in town shooting Bill & Ted Face the Music, which is going to be released in 2020. And while the actor was en route to set one day with scriptwriter Ed Solomon, he spotted the notice out on a front lawn.
According to Solomon, Reeves hopped out of the car and immediately went over to the sign. The family who’d made it snapped some photos of the star scrawling his autograph below their message, and Solomon subsequently put the pics up on Twitter. “So, yesterday this sign was out on a lawn on the way to set,” he wrote. “Keanu jumped out of the car and did this.”
The fans behind the stunt, it transpires, are the Hunt family. Apparently, 16-year-old Ethan had been thrilled to learn that Reeves would be in his area to film Bill & Ted Face the Music. He’d then asked his mom, Stacey, if they could put out a message for the star – and she was delighted to.
And after placing the sign on the lawn, Stacey had observed many people stopping to take a look at it. But she was, of course, amazed when Reeves himself showed up. “Three people got out of the car and were walking into my yard, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Keanu Reeves!’” she told Nola.com. “I probably said ‘no way’ about a dozen times.”
And not only did Reeves sign the placard, writing, “Stacey, you’re breathtaking,” but – being the true gentleman he is – he even asked permission first. “I could not believe that he was in my yard, and he was casual and like, ‘Can I sign your sign?’” Hunt told the website. “Ethan did the whole ‘You’re breathtaking’ bit – with the posture – and he did it back. It was just epic.”
Needless to say, Hunt was thrilled that Reeves had dropped by. “My heart has been racing for three days. Speed, The Lake House, Point Break – we’ve been watching Keanu Reeves movies for 20 years if not more,” the Louisiana resident said. “The fact that he was nice enough to take the time to talk to us and take pictures – everyone says he’s a nice guy, and it’s true.”
Solomon made a similar observation on Twitter after Reeves’ sweet act went viral too. “This thing, strangely, has gotten a lot of press. [I’m] not sure why,” he wrote a few days after the event. “It’s a good guy doing a kind thing. But I can’t help but think that maybe it shouldn’t be so odd.”
That said, the Hunt family were nevertheless extremely grateful for their brush with celebrity. And on July 26 Stacey posted a message on Twitter from her husband. “It’s been very surreal for sure. Keanu could have done the easy thing and passed the sign up, but he stopped and brought a lot of joy to my wife and kids. For that I am very thankful,” the post read.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Reeves’ touching gesture attracted a lot of praise. One internet user going by the handle keanu_is_my_muse wrote, for instance, “I have been a huge fan [of Reeves] for 33 years (since I was eight), and seeing things like this just solidifies it. [He’s] truly the kindest person I have ever met. A few minutes out of his day gave these people an experience they will remember for life.”
Yes, there’s no doubt that Reeves comes across as a legitimately nice guy. But his kindness to strangers is all the more remarkable when you know what a difficult life he’s led. In fact, the star’s troubles started when he was just a child. His father, Samuel, abandoned the family when Reeves was just three and later did time in prison for drug possession.
And Reeves had trouble at school, too. He was a self-confessed difficult child – even getting expelled from one institution. “I was just a little too rambunctious and shot my mouth off once too often. I was not generally the most well-oiled machine,” Reeves told Kevin J. Koffler in 1988. In fact, the star discovered later in life that he has dyslexia.
In 1993 Reeves also experienced heartbreak when he lost a good friend of his: actor River Phoenix. Phoenix was only 23 when he died as the result of a drug overdose. “I enjoyed his company very much and enjoyed his mind and his spirit and his soul,” Reeves told Rolling Stone in 2000 of his late pal. “We brought good out in each other. He was a real original thinker.”
Inevitably, Reeves has carried around his heartbreak all his life. In 2006 the actor told Parade magazine, “Grief changes shape, but it never ends. People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, ‘It’s gone, and I’m better.’ They’re wrong. When the people you love are gone, you’re alone.”
What’s more, since ex-partner Syme’s death, Reeves has continued to think about the family that was taken away from him. “I miss being a part of their lives and them being a part of mine,” he told the magazine. Plus, he mused, “I wonder what the present would be like if they were here – what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be.”
But Reeves being Reeves, he has thrown himself into helping the people in his life who are still here. In 1991, for instance, his sister Kim was diagnosed with leukemia. And the actor not only helped her through it, but he continued raising money for cancer charities even after she had gone into remission. In 2008, in fact, he answered phones during a Stand Up to Cancer telethon.
Yes, Reeves’ constant kindness despite the challenges that he’s faced is truly incredible. On Stacey Hunt’s Twitter thread, one internet user wrote, “[Reeves] has gone through so much [in] his life and always stays grounded and appreciative for the life he is blessed to live. We can all learn from his actions.”
And such is the power of Keanu Reeves that his kind actions have actually inspired other people to do the same. In June 2019, for instance, YouTube sensation PewDiePie announced that he would donate money to a leukemia charity for the sake of the “Keanu effect.” Internet users continue to spread the actor’s “life lessons” as well. It’s safe to say, then, that Reeves’ impact on others has been breathtaking.