This is the first of the 2 promised Keanu Reeves pieces. Take it for what it’s worth.
Read. Enjoy. Share. Repeat.
Have a great day.
I once read a piece on the internet (and I wish I could find it again, but I can’t…) that put forward the idea that a hypothesis for why Keanu Reeves has been so popular in his movies.
Even though people seem to constantly comment that he plays the same role in every movie, and thus has “no talent,” “no personality,” or whatever, the author of that piece said that it is precisely Keanu’s seeming lack of personality or emotion or whatnot that makes him so successful.
Keanu is successful because he is so bland (the piece’s idea, not mine), not despite his blandness. It is in being a blank slate for the audience that Keanu is able to assume the role of Ted “Theodore” Logan, Neo, John Wick, etc. He allows the audience to project onto his blank canvas their expectations for that character, without interfering with that perception by bringing any of himself to it.
This would seem to define him as an everyman. Someone who finds himself in any role, and who embodies that role because the audience can see themselves in him.
I would argue, however, that this doesn’t make Keanu and Everyman, but rather an Anyman; someone who becomes the role he is playing because there is nothing of himself to get in the way.
Matt Damon, on the other hand, is more of the Everyman type. He looks like he could be your neighbor. He’s opinionated, popular, but dorky/geeky/nerdy at the same time. He is Matt Damon, and you can see him in the roles he plays, whether it’s Jason Bourne, Elysium, Ocean’s 612, etc, and that’s okay, because: Matt Damon.
Not so, Keanu.
I don’t want this to come off like I am dogging him. Far from it. I, along with most movie-goers, enjoy a great many of Keanu’s films, precisely because of this (and can’t wait for John Wick 2, by the way.).
Because, seriously, how much talent does it take to convince the audience that there is no Keanu, only Neo/Ted/John Wick/Johnny Utah? How much?
But that doesn’t mean that simply having no personality or bringing none of your own personality to a role makes you a great actor.
Don’t believe it?
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
It takes skill to seem to be nothing, while embodying everything that the viewer wants to see, in a way that the audience wants to see it.
And that’s why Keanu kicks ass.
Goodnight! I promise, the second piece on Keanu is coming soon!