Keanu Reeves, known for his roles in action films like “The Matrix” trilogy, and more recently “John Wick”, has branched out into a new role: that of a small kitten.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the comedy duo famous for their sketch show ‘Key and Peele’, star in a new comedy where they search for a lost cat named Keanu. The film is inspired in large part by Reeves’ latest film “John Wick”, where his character seeks vengeance on those who killed the dog that his wife gave him before she passed away from cancer.
They had originally hoped to cast the real Keanu as the voice of his kitten counterpart, but Reeves’ representatives declined the role for him during the film’s initial production.
Fast forward to February, when the film’s trailer was released. Reeves’ sister showed him the trailer and insisted he get involved in any way possible. The film had already been completed at this point, and was about to premiere at the SXSW film festival in March.
‘Keanu’ director Peter Atencio told the LA Times the story of how the real Keanu ended up joining the cast after all.
“The studio kept asking, “Can we get Keanu? Can we get Keanu?”, Atencio recalled. “They politely declined. But after the trailer came out…his sister showed him the trailer and said, “Hey, you gotta see this. You’re gonna love this!” He flipped out and got in touch with us directly.”
Reeves was filming “John Wick 2” in Rome when this fortuitous turn of events took place. And where there’s a will, there’s a way. Atencio described the quick turnaround that led to Keanu’s voice-over addition.
“We had him go to a recording studio in Rome. I was on Skype with him, and I spent an hour recording a bunch of dialogue,” Atencio said. “They hooked it up so I could talk and he could hear it in his headphones.”
Atencio also acknowledged the inspiration that Keanu Reeves had on the film, before he was ever involved.
“The cat was named after him as an act of love for his movies, and especially the kind of movies that he makes,” Atencio described. “He has become an iconic movie star on a level that most people don’t ever attain.”
“Keanu” is in theatres now.
(Images from Comedy Central Youtube, screen-grab)