Keanu Reeves Asked His Mom for Permission to Become an Actor

Keanu Reeves became one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He was already a star in the ’80s with indies like River’s Edge and comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Reeves blew up in the ’90s with Point Break, Speed and The Matrix. But, when Reeves was only a teenager, he had to ask his mom for permission to follow his career ambitions. 

Keanu Reeves and his mother Patricia Taylor at the Oscars
Keanu Reeves and his mother Patricia Taylor | Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

Reeves spoke affectionately bout his naive teenage self at the press junket for the 2005 movie Constantine. Reeves was only 15, and he checked with his mother before taking his first acting class. Fortunately for fans everywhere, she said yes. 

Keanu Reeves: Age 15 Mama’s Boy

Reeves’ first several roles would tap into his teenage cool. It was during his real teenage years that he decided to give it a go, but he checked in with his mother first. 

“When I was 15, I went up to my mother and said, ‘Is it okay if I’m an actor?’” Reeves said. “She was like, ‘Whatever you want, dear.’ In three weeks I was enrolled in an acting class doing Uta Hagen’s Respect For Acting.”

Granted, Reeves said his mother couldn’t have stopped him, but he was glad to have her support.

Keanu Reeves' mother kisses him
Keanu Reeves and mother Patricia Taylor | Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

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“I was a good boy,” Reeves said. “It wouldn’t have mattered what she said by the way, but you know.”

How Keanu Reeves got into acting

Reeves took acting classes and studied the craft. He said it was a childhood experience, long before he was 15, that gave him the bug.

“I had an experience once in second grade. You know how people often talk about how they see a fireman or policemen. They see a fireman or a fighter pilot or something like that and they go, ‘Oh, I want to be that’ and they don’t know why. I remember this teacher and these two actors came from high school and they came to do a class with the second graders just to do improv’s and theater games. And I remember I was looking up at them and I was like, ‘I want to do that.’”

Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye in River's Edge
Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

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Years later and decades into a successful career, Reeves still couldn’t quite put his finger on the appeal those actors had on 2nd Grade Keanu.

“I have no idea what that means,” Reeves said. “Was it their bohemia? I don’t know. Maybe. I mean, I’m sure I’m obviously reacting with my eyes but I don’t know what it was about them.”

Working on his craft to this day

Reeves nevver stopped trying to improve, even when he made it. His John Wick movies are a testament to Reeves constantly adding new physical skills to his repertoire. However, he continues to improve simply by practicing his craft.

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“I’ve heard Anthony Hopkins say this,” Reees said. “You learn about doing it, and it’s like painting, I would imagine: the craft of it, the skill of it, the way way that you work the paint, the way that you can act. The more you do it, the more you know it, and for me, it’s what I love. A good day on the set, creating the work, the piece, the collaboration, expression, is a hoot. I love it. I love it. And hopefully it will continue.”