Keanu Reeves Reveals How He Ended Up in “Movie Jail”

Keanu Reeves
Actor KEANU REEVES falling asleep at the press conference in Los Angeles for The Matrix Revolutions. October 27, 2003 Paul Smith / Featureflash - Image

Keanu Reeves reveals how turning down a movie role landed him in “movie jail” for over a decade

Keanu Reeves was an A-list actor in the 1990s thanks to his hit movie “Bill & Ted” movies and roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Point Break,” but it was Jan de Bont’s 1994 action thriller “Speed” that turned the actor into an international superstar. The film was a hit at the box office making $350 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget and won multiple Oscars. The film’s success made it an easy decision for 20th Century Fox to develop a sequel, although Reeves believed it would be difficult for a movie to be that successful a second time around.

Keanu Reeves on “Movie Jail”

In a new interview with GQ MagazineReeves said his decision to turn down “Speed 2: Cruise Control” led him to placed put into “movie jail” by 20th Century Fox. During that point in time, Reeves surprised many in the industry by following up the blockbuster hit movie with working at a regional theater playing the lead role in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.

The choice to work on a smaller production booted him from being 20th Century Fox’s leading action star and Reeves said he remained in Fox movie jail for over a decade. “I didn’t work with [Fox] again until ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ [in 2008],” Reeves said.

Keanu Reeves John Wick
Bangkok, Thailand – April 21, 2019: John Wick Model With a beautiful standee of a movie called John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum display showing at cinema – Image (chingyunsong / Shutterstock.com)

You would assume the hit movie “The Matrix” was enough to get him back on Fox’s good graces, but it was not. When the actor finally did return to the studio with Scott Derrickson-directed “Day The Earth Stood Still” remake, Reeves’ was no longer as popular as he once was as the movie made only $233 million worldwide, which was a major let down for the studio.  Reeves’ next movie, “47 Ronin,” was a box office flop in 2013 and is currently the last movie for the actor at the studio. Since then, Reeves has worked on indie productions including “The Neon Demon” and Lionsgate franchise “John Wick.”

“He’s got this beautiful, tragic conundrum—these two selves,” Reeves told GQ about the reason he keeps coming back to Wick. “The John who was married, and John Wick, the assassin. John wants to be free. But the only way he knows how is through John Wick. And John Wick keeps fucking killing people and breaking rules. We’re really watching a person fight for their life and their soul.”

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” hits theaters nationwide May 17th. Reeves told GQ he’ll keep making these films “as far as the audience wants to go.”

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