Keanu Reeves is easily one of the finest talents Hollywood has. Known for the versatility and dynamic roles he has done, Reeves has achieved numerous accolades roles in his career in the entertainment industry spanning over four decades.
Being in the business as long as Reeves has, he must have had several learning experiences. Moreover, to enter and establish yourself in an industry as fickle as Hollywood calls for a lot of risk-taking. As Reeves once did, for his role as Neo in The Matrix. Reeves fell in love with the script and did everything it took to land the part. Even if it meant risking his life.
Keanu Reeves’s Passion for The Matrix
Keanu Reeves was launched to global stardom after starring as a computer programmer Thomas Anderson aka Neo in the 1999 sci-fi thriller The Matrix, which later became a franchise. The film had a major impact on pop culture and became Reeves’s career-defining project.
Before landing the role of Neo, Reeves had gotten his name out there with successful films like Chain Reaction, Devil’s Advocate, and Speed. The actor had an inclination toward the science fiction genre. His genuine interest in the intricacies of sci-fi films helped enhance his roles in such films.
So when Reeves was offered The Matrix, he fell in love with the script. As he told on Scott Adkins’ The Art of Action podcast:
“I met with the Wachowskis and I loved the script, and they showed me pre-vis for bullet time which was extraordinary.”
However, Reeves’s passion for the project could have brought trouble of a lifetime for him.
Keanu Reeves Went Above and Beyond For His Role in The Matrix
While chatting with Scott Adkins on The Art of Action podcast, Reeves talked of the preparation he did for his character. The actor shocked fans by sharing that he went through intense martial arts training after getting neck surgery.
The actor hid his pain and his medical condition from the makers because he was doubtful that this could cause him to lose his role. Talking about his medical condition, Reeves told Adkins on his The Art of Action: podcast
“One of the things they talked about in the meeting was training in Hong Kong-style martial arts and asked if I was okay with that, and that it was over four months and I was like ‘yeah, that sounds okay’. The only problem – I was dealing with a neck issue which was getting worse. I had a bulging disc and I had a fractured disc too, and I started losing feeling and balance.”
Moreover, Reeves had to keep his condition a secret for fear of losing his role.
“My spinal column was being sausaged basically, so I had to have a two level fusion on my spine before training, and they put a plate in my neck. But I never actually told anyone because I didn’t want to tell anyone I wouldn’t be able to do the film.”
Reeves trained for the film while still recovering from his surgery, wearing a neck brace. Such are the ways of the greats, it seems.
Source: The Art of Action