Keanu Reeves Came up With Ridiculous ‘Hollywood’ Names When He Couldn’t Get Roles Because of His ‘Unusual’ Real Name

Keanu Reeves has a lengthy filmography, although his performances in The Matrix franchise and John Wick stand out for many mainstream audiences. There was a point in the actor’s career where he had difficulty getting roles because of his “unusual” real name. As a result, Reeves came up with a few “Hollywood” names that would help him get his foot in the door.

Keanu Reeves played teenage roles in TV movies

Keanu Reeves wearing a suit in front of a step and repeat
Keanu Reeves | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Critics panned Reeves’ performances in the early stages of his career, although that didn’t stop him from working to get to the top. Some of his earliest roles were in TV movies like Moving Day and The Brotherhood of Justice. A young Reeves was fresh in Los Angeles and was taking on various roles playing teenagers.

However, Reeves was praised for his performance in Under the Influence alongside Andy Griffith. The young actor found it difficult to make time for things outside of movie sets during this time. Unfortunately, he lost out on some of these roles for having the name “Keanu Reeves.”

Keanu Reeves came up with ridiculous ‘Hollywood’ names to win roles

Brian J. Robbs’ Keanu Reeves: An Excellent Adventure explores the actor’s past and many of the folks that knew him growing up. His managers pointed out that his “unusual name was in fact getting in the way of him winning roles.” This was a difficult phase that Reeves himself called a “terrible, terrible phase that lasted about a month.”

During this month, Reeves considered changing his name to something a little bit more “Hollywood” sounding.

“I was informed that my manager and my agent at the time were having trouble getting me in to see some casting agents because of my name,” Reeves said. “It had an ethnicity to it that they found was getting in the way. And so they said I had to change my name. That freaked me out completely.”

Reeves continued: “I came up with names like Page Templeton III. And Chuck Spidina, from my middle name, Charles. Eventually, they picked K.C. Reeves. Ugh, terrible. When I would go to auditions, I’d tell them my name was Keanu anyway.”

Fortunately, Reeves stuck with his name. He now has a very successful career with his real name that is instantly recognizable.

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ and ‘John Wick 4’

Reeves recently hit theaters and HBO Max with The Matrix Resurrections. This brings him back to the role of Neo/Thomas A. Anderson for the first time since 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions. Critics and audiences are divided on the movie’s meta addition to the movie series, although many reviews praise Reeves for his performance.

However, The Matrix Resurrections isn’t the only project that has Reeves in the news. He recently completed filming on John Wick 4, which is one of the most popular modern action franchises around. The unlikely hit is also expanding into a television series called The Continental, although Reeves’ movie title character won’t be at the forefront.

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