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“I am not really interested in that”: Keanu Reeves Seeked Avengers Director’s Help For His $283 Million Action Movie to Avoid Bruce Willis Comparison

"I am not really interested in that": Keanu Reeves Seeked Avengers Director's Help For His $283 Million Action Movie to Avoid Bruce Willis Comparison

Keanu Reeves’ road to superstardom kickstarted in 1994 with the thriller Speed. The film which also co-starred Sandra Bullock, gave Reeves his first huge recognition as a bonafide action star and paved the way for future cult projects like The Matrix and John Wick. Speed became one of Hollywoods’s most successful films commercially with a total box office collection of over 280 million dollars worldwide.

Hollywood star Keanu Reeves
Hollywood star Keanu Reeves

Interestingly, Keanu Reeves wasn’t too impressed with the initial script of Speed and asked for a tweak in its narrative despite finding the premise very promising. The reason for his trepidation involved a possible comparison with another cult movie that starred an iconic Hollywood actor in the lead role.

Also Read: “It didn’t go anywhere”: Sandra Bullock Nearly Replaced Her Crush Keanu Reeves in $1.79B Franchise That Made Him a Global Icon 

Keanu Reeves Changed The Script Of Speed

In the popular 1994 film Speed, Keanu Reeves played police officer Jack Traven who tried to save passengers on a bus that was rigged to explode. With frenetic action and nonstop thrills, Speed became one of the biggest entertainers of the year and catapulted The Matrix actor into the big leagues. Reeves though, did not connect with the script at the beginning due to the fact that it had too many similarities to Bruce Willis’s huge hit Die Hard.

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“The character [of Jack Traven] was very flippant. There were situations set up for one-liners and I felt it was forced — Die Hard mixed with some kind of screwball comedy. I said, ‘I’m not really interested in that. I think we can do better.”

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves in Speed

The film’s director, Jan de Bont took Reeves’ constructive criticisms positively and brought in filmmaker Joss Whedon to make the necessary improvements to the script. The final changes made the John Wick star’s character more honest and relatable while also portraying the lives of police officers in a more authentic manner.

Also Read: “I’m flexible but lazy”: Salma Hayek’s ‘Embarrassing’ Audition Stole Her Chance to Star in $3 Billion Keanu Reeves Franchise

Here’s Why Keanu Reeves Was The Perfect Choice For Speed

Speed cemented Keanu Reeves’ place among Hollywood’s A-listers and made him one of the industry’s top action stars. Director Jan de Bont listed some of the main reasons behind the celebrity’s perfect casting and why no one else could have portrayed his character in the film.


“What is nice about him as an action hero is that he’s vulnerable on the screen. He’s not threatening to men because he’s not that bulky, and he looks great to women.”

Keanu Reeves
Director Jan de Bont with Keanu Reeves

The director also mentioned that Reeves always portrayed young, cool, and hippie characters on screen until then. With Speed, de Bont cast him in a mature and serious role of a cop which was a departure from his earlier personalities, and the actor came out with flying colors. In addition, Reeves who became an action star in his 30s, was able to use his best years to carve a name for himself in the genre.

Also Read: “This man is just rolling and throwing me”: John Wick Star Keanu Reeves Left Ana de Armas “Sore” and “In pain” While Filming ‘Ballerina’

Source: Cheatsheet

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Written by Sharanya

Sharanya Sankar, Writer for Fandomwire
Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sharanya has a solid foundation in writing which is also one of her passions. She has worked previously with Book My show for a couple of years where she gained experience reviewing films and writing feature articles. Sharanya’s articles on film and pop culture have also been published on Film Companion, a popular film-based website. Apart from movies and pop culture, her interests include music and sports. She has contributed over 650 articles to Fandomwire so far.