Keanu Reeves Was a Reluctant Action Star: Why He Had to Be Convinced to Star in ‘Speed’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Keanu Reeves attends the John Wick special screenings at Ham Yard Hotel

Keanu Reeves has had a wide range of movie roles in his profession, but it surely seems that starring in an motion film wasn’t a simple promote at first. Jan de Bont, who made his directorial debut with Speed, mentioned that Reeves was “afraid” of the position.

Keanu Reeves attends the John Wick special screenings at Ham Yard Hotel
Keanu Reeves | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves wasn’t on board with ‘Speed’ at first

In a July interview with Vulture de Bont defined the rationale why Reeves needed to be satisfied to do Speed, saying, “he hated action.”

Reeves, based on the director, hoped to do extra dramatic roles and the actor’s supervisor needed to persuade him to tackle the half. “He hated stunts, and he hated action! He was afraid of it. He was more like a happy-go-lucky guy at the time, with high aspirations of dramatic theater,” de Bont mentioned.

He continued, “Let me tell you this, it took me a lot of effort to get him to do the things I wanted him to do. But then near the very end, he finally started to enjoy it, because I showed him some footage and he realized, ‘Oh my God, that is such a different thing now. That is not a stunt person. People can see it’s my face. It’s not over my shoulder. It is in my face while things are happening around me.’ And then he started to enjoy it.”

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Keanu Reeves’ reluctance appealed to the director

Reeves’ fear about stunts and motion scenes have been interesting to the director as a result of it added a dose of actuality. “But it took him a long time, and he was always a little grumpy about it,” de Bont famous. “He said, ‘Oh, I’m not an action hero. I don’t like it. I don’t know how to do it.’ Initially, of course, that’s what I liked about casting him, because I didn’t want those gung ho action heroes.”

He added, “I wanted a guy who happened to be thrown into a situation that is not normal to him, too. And seeing him respond to tough situations that he physically and mentally had to really respond to instead of act is a completely different work experience.”

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‘Speed’ had numerous actual moments

The director additionally revealed a few of the parts that added to the realness of Speed, together with a few of the folks on the bus. “I only cast people who actually had ridden buses in LA and knew what it was to sit on a bus for hours and not get bored with it,” de Bont mentioned. “They never got bored. They were talking to each other. They were looking outside. And you always got really interesting-looking actors. They were always involved in what was going on. You could never get that with the professional cast extras.”

Additionally, Sandra Bullock, who co-starred within the hit motion film reverse Reeves, was actually driving the bus. “Those reactions as things are happening around her, hitting whatever structures around her — quite often, it is her driving the bus,” the director revealed.

He assured, “Of course, there is a safety stunt driver laying on the top of the bus with a steering wheel and brakes as a first assist, who can immediately respond if something started to go wrong. But Sandra doesn’t know that, in a way; she knows that he’s there, but she doesn’t know if it’s her driving, because she still has to steer, she still has to push the gas pedal and brake.”

It allowed the actors’ reactions to be extra genuine, deBont mentioned. “In Speed, there’s by no means a tow automotive pulling the bus. It’s all the time an individual within the bus who’s driving. And what you obtain is that the folks on the bus, all of the extras, too, they really feel like, ‘Man, we all are on our own here.’ Because they by no means see the driving force. They simply see Sandra driving the bus. The reactions are so actual, and that energizes nearly the whole lot instantly.”

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