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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Keanu Reeves: 6 offbeat roles where he channels his goofy side

On the superstar’s 58th birthday, we celebrate his versatility by looking beyond the Matrix and John Wick franchises

Agrima Tikader Calcutta Published 02.09.22, 05:21 PM
Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe.

Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe. IMDB

Not all Hollywood heartthrobs continue to be as likeable in their late 50s as Keanu Reeves, who has turned 58 today.

Known for his action roles in The Matrix and John Wick franchises, Reeves shot to fame with Speed (1994) and then continued to play the role of an action hero in Constantine (2005) and 47 Ronin (2013). He will return as hitman John Wick in the fourth instalment of the film series next March.

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On his birthday, we pick six movies where the Canadian actor went for offbeat roles, either by lending his voice to a character or doing something very different from what he’s famous for.

Toy Story 4 (2019)

Reeves lends his signature voice and style to the whimsical Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt-action figure toy that sports a moustache and loves to ride a motorcycle, in this computer-animated comedy drama. Duke Caboom thinks he is letting his owner down by not being able to perform the stunts shown in the toy’s advertisement.

Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), a cowboy rag doll, finds Duke Caboom in an antique store and the daredevil toy decides to help him rescue Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), another handcrafted toy from plastic spork.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

What is better than watching Reeves as Neo or John Wick? Watching the actor play a more dialled-up version of himself. That is exactly what we get in the Nahnatchka Khan-helmed romcom Always Be My Maybe.

The film shows the journey of childhood friends Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) and Marcus Kim (Randall Park) who eventually fall in love with each other in adulthood after going through a series of dating misadventures with other people. Reeves plays a cameo in the movie as Sasha’s celebrity boyfriend Keanu Reeves and does some insanely hilarious Hollywood celebrity antics, which we do not expect to see from Reeves in real life.

Destination Wedding (2018)

This is a middle-aged Reeves playing a romantic hero in this romcom directed by Victor Levin. As the name suggests, the movie revolves around a destination wedding attended by Frank (Reeves) and Lindsay (Winona Ryder), both single and not very social. Also, both share a complicated relationship with the groom — Frank is the groom’s half-brother, while Lindsay is the groom’s former fiance. Sparks don’t really fly when they meet, but the two slowly warm to each other into a will-they-won’t-they game of love (ending up in bed later, though that’s not where the film ends).

Reeves, who took a while to get into a relationship after the death of his partner Jennifer Syme in 2001, perfectly plays Frank who sees no point in falling in love.

Keanu (2016)

Reeves lends his voice to the kitten of a drug cartel boss in this buddy action comedy film directed by Peter Atencio. Starring comedians Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, Keanu is a homage to Reeves’s popular role, John Wick.

Rell Dresden (Peele) finds the cartel boss’ kitten and names it Keanu. But when Keanu goes missing, Rell and his cousin Clarence (Key) go on a mission to find the kitten. Reeves had initially refused to voice the kitten named after him, but he decided to come on board after the trailer of the movie came out.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Reeves was among the ensemble cast of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a gothic horror film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Gary Oldman played the role of Count Dracula, while Winona Ryder was cast as Mina Harker and Monica Bellucci as one of Dracula’s brides.

Reeves portrays Count Dracula’s lawyer Jonathan Harker, who visits Transylvania and becomes an unsuspecting victim of the vampire for a while. Jonathan transforms from a victim to one of the companions of vampire-hunter Van Helsing (played by Anthony Hopkins).

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Long before he became the face of several action franchises, Reeves, along with Alex Winter, starred in the science fiction comedy, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It follows Rufus (played by George Carlin), who is sent from the future to ensure that Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) pass their history exam and keep their music band together, so they can create the music that would be the basis of a future society.

The success of the film prompted two sequels, the latest of which, Bill & Ted Face the Music, released in 2020. After watching Reeves doing intense, lethal action in film after film, the comic and slightly clueless Ted is a refreshing change.

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