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With all of the hubbub and commotion about Keanu Reeves being dream cast by the internet as Marvel's Doctor Strange, there's still a lot of love floating around out there for the older projects that made him such a star. One of those projects that is consistently showered with the love of its fandom (at least when it comes to its initial outing) is The Wachowski's 1999 classic The Matrix. With all of his catchphrases, his mannerisms, and his Kung Fu on display, it's hard to find a film as defining to Reeves' recent career as The Matrix.
According to his Reddit AMA earlier today, the role of Neo, aka "The One," was literally a perfect fit as The Wachowskis saw Reeves as just the guy to play a role that almost went to Will Smith. He recounted the story of how he met The Wachowskis in the blurb below.
"I was very lucky. I got a call from my agent, saying that these directors, the Wachowskis, wanted to meet, and they sent me the script, and the script was absolutely amazing, and I went in to meet with them, and they showed me some artwork, of their vision, and an early version of "bullet time," and it was very exciting and inspiring."
To see such amazing effects that were at the time cutting edge, but would later redefine film spectacle itself, must have been quite awesome for Keanu Reeves at the time. In fact, one could make a case that it stuck with him so long after the experience had passed that he was inspired to produce the documentary Side By Side, which chronicled the ever warring factions of film versus digital in our modern film-making process. Of course, it helps that he's still got some clout out there after his role of the man chosen to defend humanity from the machines, and surprisingly enough it only took that audition to land him the job instantly. Reeves continued to describe how he reacted when he got the part, and as you'll see below he was naturally quite thrilled.
"We ended up hanging out in a parking lot outside the offices just talking and riffing, and we basically just kinda shook hands - they told me they wanted me to train for 4 months prior to filming, and I got a big grin on my face and said: "Yes." That's how it happened."
While we may never get Bill and Ted 3, thanks to rights issues and who knows what else; it seems like if the Wachowskis ever asked Keanu Reeves to do more Matrix movies, we'd have a better shot of that happening. Reeves stated in his AMA that he'd love to work with the underrated siblings again, and with that motivation the Wachowskis could either cook up some sequels, or even better – a new idea, for the three of them to collaborate on. Whichever scenario pans out, if either pans out, it's good to know that sometimes all it takes is one perfect audition to form a lasting bond of professional admiration.
Though he may have spent some of his career as an inadvertent punching bag to humor that painted him as one note or even extremely sad, Keanu Reeves has had quite the track record when it comes to keeping his name out on the streets of Hollywood. If John Wick is any indication, he might make a Liam Neeson-esque comeback as an ass kicker of the highest magnitude. Then again, if you're a true Reeves fan, or just a person who keeps a keen eye on the happenings of Hollywood, you'll know the truth is that he never left.
John Wick is in conventional theaters and IMAX on Friday.