The Matrix’s Keanu Reeves Reveals Why He Finds Deepfakes 'Frustrating'

Keanu Reeves Jessica Henwick and Yahya Abdul Mateen II in The Matrix Resurrections
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

As the star of some of the best action movies ever, Keanu Reeves can be seen doing pretty much anything on screen. With the power of deepfake technology, the limit does not exist for the potential moments and movies the right artists can drop The Matrix legend into. In some scenarios, actors like Tom Cruise have made peace with deepfakes. But there are still holdouts, like Reeves, who find the whole situation “frustrating” thanks to very solid reasoning.  

In conversation with Wired, the man who brought Neo to live through four Matrix chapters made an astute observation on the more negative side to the practice of virtual performers. Properly comparing deepfakes to actual film editing, Keanu Reeves fleshed out the difference between the two in the following case against deepfakes: 

What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency. When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, sociological impacts, and the species is being studied. There’s so much “data” on behaviors now. Technologies are finding places in our education, in our medicine, in our entertainment, in our politics, and how we war and how we work.

This isn’t just a case of Reeves being philosophical and predicting something he hasn’t personally experienced. Just last month, a TikTok filter was dishing out impressive Keanu Reeves deepfakes, which were good enough to fool users into questioning how real the experience was. 

What’s even spookier is this isn’t the first time someone connected to The Matrix has had some concerns that feel very connected with The Wachowskis’ futuristic dystopia. Back when The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were casting, Jet Li turned down the Matrix sequels because he didn’t want his moves stored in a mo-cap library. Just as the martial arts legend was worried his unique fighting style could be doubled by a CGI actor, Keanu Reeves is concerned that some day audiences may watch a Neo that looks and sounds like him, but isn’t.

Exploding his worries to a larger sociological concern, the technology that brought Peter Cushing’s likeness back for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story seems like a pretty scary concept. Like any emergent process, the key to deepfakes working properly will be the moral compass of those behind the processes. 

What's important to remember is that the same technology that could make Jim Carrey into James Bond might be used for sinister aims if people don’t heed the warnings of Keanu Reeves and others. Then again, are we completely sure it’s Reeves issuing these warnings? In this case, yes, we definitely are. 

What’s not fake is the deep ass-kicking action of John Wick: Chapter 4. That very real Keanu Reeves adventure is getting ready to mount up for its next round of chaos, starting on March 24th. Catch up on the first three John Wick adventures on streaming thanks to the franchise’s current home for those with a Peacock subscription

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.