Perhaps you’ve noticed something recently. A trend, even. Keanu Reeves, darling of early ‘90s movies, perennial utterer of the word “whoa,” and forever bullet-dodging icon Neo, has been in the news a lot. Fans have pointed out that Reeves respectfully doesn’t touch women in photos. He’s the subject of New Yorker homages entitled “Keanu Reeves Is Too Good For This World” and Buzzfeed videos in which he plays with puppies, to the collective swoons of YouTube commenters. In said videos, he offers immediately deep-yet-pithy responses to questions like, “What’s your secret for always staying down to earth?”
Reeves’ response: “Gravity.”
The actor and motorcycle company owner is out and about doing publicity because he’s in two films that will be playing concurrently in theaters come June 21: John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and Toy Story 4. He also plays an outsized, ridiculous version of himself in Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe, which was released at the end of May. In Toy Story 4, Reeves voices Duke Caboom, a Very Canadian Toy who — just like the real Reeves — rides a motorcycle and is very enthusiastic about being Canadian. And, like the real Reeves, Duke Caboom is sensitive and has endured traumatic events. The boy who received the action figure as a Christmas gift long ago didn’t want him because Duke couldn’t do the stunts featured in his commercial.
Duke Caboom is a toy with both machismo and melancholy. Keanu Reeves is a human capable of both machismo and melancholy. The people stan (this Reddit thread is overflowing with stories of Reeves’ generosity). His Speed co-star Sandra Bullock stans. He is the current reigning internet boyfriend, a title Reeves told People is “wacky.” He appreciates the positivity, though, now that he knows. (Obviously a reporter had to tell him — Keanu Reeves isn’t out here Googling himself.)
Keanu Reeves is currently all over the place with his hair that ever so gently brushes the collar of his monochromatic dark clothing. He’s in GQ, remaining enigmatic in a 2,000-plus word profile called — what else? — “The Legend of Keanu Reeves.” He’s announcing a long-awaited sequel to cult movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, proving he has a sense of humour about his earlier roles. Many outlets are even referring to Reeves’ reappearance in the cultural zeitgeist as the “Keanussance.” Hey, Matthew McConaughy rode the McConnaissance train to an Oscar.
There’s one small hitch: Keanu Reeves has been here the whole time. At a recent press conference for Toy Story 4 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, FL, a reporter asked Reeves about the Keanussance directly. And, in perhaps the most Keanu Reeves-ish move of all time, he poked fun at the question and managed to make the reporter — and everyone in the room — know that he’s able to be the butt of a joke and still come out on top.
“Keanu, we’re talking about all the movies you’ve been in this year: John Wick and Always Be My Maybe, and now Toy Story 4. You’re having somewhat of a Keanussance; a revival. I just wondered how you felt about that revival,” is what was inquired of our dark-haired Canadian stallion.
His response: “A revival? Well, I’m glad to be here, and I’m glad to be having a revival. And thank you.”
A perfect, humble reply from a gentle, humble man who’s been here all along, dipping in and out of the public eye. Perhaps we’ve turned the Keanussance into a thing because in the #MeToo era and general dumpster fire that the world can be these days, we so desperately want a celebrity who’s kind and well-meaning. And he’s okay with that. Reeves sees us; we see him.
He also sees his co-stars. At that same press conference, reporters were only asking questions of Reeves, Tim Allen, and the two male producers and male director of Toy Story 4. So Reeves took it upon himself to ask Christina Hendricks, the sole woman on the panel, how she came to be involved in the film. It was pretty much the first time she’d had a chance to say more than two words. Keanu Reeves: feminist and mensch.
And, in addition to witnessing Reeves’ magnanimity at that TS4 press conference, I can confirm Reeves’ prince among men status with this anecdote from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. She recently worked with Reeves on a video shoot.
“Keanu is a beacon of calm and kindness. We get a lot of celebrities on set that roll in with a huge team and don’t want to wear a mic. Or, they come late and then need 20 minutes of glam. Keanu came alone, sat down calmly, and was ready to go. This is perhaps because he had just finished napping, something we learned later from a fan’s junket photograph. We were nearly immoble because we were so enamored as he writhed in his chair telling us about trying to shoot a gun while riding a horse. The entire crew was in love."