Keanu Reeves is one of the biggest action stars of today, but he rejected a lot of projects in the past when the script did not appeal to him. One of the films he turned down was 1986’s Platoon, which included Pirates of the Caribbean’s Johnny Depp.
The movie was a smash hit among fans, earning $138 million at the box office against a meager budget of $6 million. It was also rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an 89% approval rating. Many actors were considered for the lead role, which eventually went to Charlie Sheen.
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Keanu Reeves Turned Down Movie Role Due To Violent Theme
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Oliver Stone revealed that John Wick’s Keanu Reeves was up for the role, but the Canadian actor had a change of mind:
“Keanu turned it down because of the violence. He didn’t want to do violence.”
Platoon was not the only movie Reeves turned down. He was supposed to star in the sequel to Speed alongside Sandra Bullock, but the script did not impress him. Appearing on The Graham Norton Show (via Yahoo! Movies), he explained:
“At the time, I just didn’t respond to the script. I really wanted to work with Sandra Bullock, and I really loved playing Jack Traven. It wasn’t against any of the artists that were involved in the project, but at that time — I’m sure we’ve all had this kind of feeling sometimes when things just don’t feel right, and that was how I was feeling. I loved ‘Speed,’ but… now it’s on an ocean liner?”
The host jokingly told Reeves that he dodged a bullet because the film flopped so badly, garnering a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Years later, The Matrix actor starred in Chad Stahelski’s John Wick franchise, the story of a broken man searching for revenge. The film almost did not happen due to movie executives repeatedly turning it down, but it ultimately revived R-rated action movies with Reeves on the lead.
More interestingly, the character was supposed to be a man in his 70s, but the actor loved the script so much that he managed to get involved in the project. Reeves spent two months re-writing the script to fit him for the role. The actor who avoided Platoon for the violent content is now known as the most dangerous assassin who can kill with a pencil.
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Keanu Reeves Finally Embraced The Brutality In John Wick
Despite his aversion to violence several years back, Keanu Reeves has fully embraced his role as the Baba Yaga. In fact, the lead star believes he is actually John Wick and not just an actor portraying a character, according to writer Michael Finch (via Polygon):
“It’s so grand and rewarding when you write a character, then you get an actor who actually understands it, and I think that part of the system is that Keanu believes he is John Wick while he’s making John Wick [movies]. He has to, for all kinds of reasons, mostly for the physical beating he’s taking.”
The success of the John Wick franchise lies beyond the incredible stunts and stunning cinematography. It was the entire cast’s conviction in their roles paired with a meaty storyline that speaks for itself even without explanations.
Platoon and John Wick are available on Prime Video and Apple TV.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo! Movies, Polygon
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