Keanu Reeves Cut 1 Line From ‘Point Break’ Writer Says Shows He’s a Great Actor

Keanu Reeves has finally earned respect. He is a beloved human being and popular star of movies like John Wick, The Matrix and Bill and Ted. Remember, back in the ‘90s, critics and moviegoers made fun of him. Point Break was the subject of some of that ridicule, though Reeves came back with Speed three years later. Point Break writer W. Peter Iliff knew Reeves was a great actor when he cut one of his scripted lines. 

'Point Break' star Keanu Reeves holds a microphone at Comic-Con 2022
Keanu Reeves | Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Lionsgate

Iliff was a guest on the Script Apart podcast on Nov. 16, 2021. Iliff said Reeves made the film even better by cutting one of Iliff’s scripted lines. 

Less was more for Keanu Reeves in ‘Point Break’

In Point Break, Reeves plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes undercover as a surfer to find a gang of bank robbers. Utah is a total newbie at first. Even Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) makes fun of him until he learns he’s a former college football star. 

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“I will say, Keanu did something brilliant with his acting in the film which is he didn’t say anything quite often,” Iliff said on Script Apart. “An example, when Swayze goes, ‘Oh, that’s a fricking big board’ or whatever the line is, ‘What, is your friend from Kansas?’ Utah just looks at him. That’s powerful.”

The silence was so good the writer forgot the original line 

The moment is movie history now. 30 years later, Iliff doesn’t even remember what he originally wrote for Utah to say in Point Break.

“I’ve seen that with a lot of good actors because you have to write them a line,” Iliff said. “I forget what the line was but he goes ‘Nah, I don’t need a line.’ He just looks.”

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Reeves is in good company with the great action movie stars. One year later, Iliff was working on Patriot Games and Harrison Ford did the same thing. 

I had that experience with Harrison Ford on Patriot Games where they take him into the CIA bunker where they’re going to watch over the satellites as the Special Forces take out a Libyan terrorist camp. After it’s done, James Earl Jones brings him out and goes, ‘What do you think about that?’ As a writer for a studio film I have to write a page about what he thinks. Harrison Ford goes, ‘Nah, just put the camera on me.’ He gives a look and it’s superstar Harrison Ford and the look says it all.

W. Peter Iliff, Script Apart, 11/16/21

In ‘Point Break,’ Keanu Reeves already knew how to become a fan favorite

Point Break, Speed, and The Matrix all worked. Finally, with the John Wick franchise and public confirmation of his real-life kindness, the world has recognized Reeves’ greatness. Iliff thought Reeves was ahead of the curve as a performer. 

“It’s these kind of lessons that are fun to learn,” Iliff said. “Now, as a writer, you pretty much have to write the line and shoot it and it becomes an editing room choice. Keanu had learned that and I think that’s what ingratiates a lot of his performance.”

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