Keanu Reeves’ Performance In ‘Constantine’ Got a Bit Personal, Director Says — ‘There Is Something Kind of Tortured About Keanu’

Keanu Reeves is the consummate good guy, and fans have come to love him for it. With his laid back, surfer guy demeanor, and the seemingly endless stories about him being the nicest person ever, he’s an easy guy to love. It’s easy to assume a guy with that kind of reputation would be full of smiles and pure bliss.

However, it seems that there may be a little bit more to Reeves than meets the eye. As with many great actors, Reeves draws from an array of deep-running emotions to deliver moving performances for viewers and does exactly that in 2005’s hit thriller, Constantine. The film’s director, Francis Lawrence, believes some of Reeves’ inner battles are what made him capable of providing such a brooding, yet charismatic performance on screen. 

Keanu Reeves appears to be a universally-liked guy

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For years now, Reeves has carried a reputation of being one of the nicest men in Hollywood, and in the world in general. The 56-year-old actor is known for going out of his way to provide photos and autographs for fans, valuing their support. Reeves has even gone so far as buying ice cream just so he could autograph a receipt for a fan, according to Insider.

Apparently, SBNation writer and producer James Tador was working at a movie theater Reeves happened to be visiting in Australia and was unable to get an autograph. Reeves found out and came back to grant Tador’s wish.

“‘I realized you probably wanted my autograph,’” Dator said on Twitter. “‘So I signed this.’ He hands me a receipt from the concessions stand that he signed on the back. He then casually throws an ice cream in the trash can and sees his movie.”

Tador realized that Reeves had bought the ice cream solely to have something to write on. 

“I realize later that he bought an ice cream cone he didn’t want, just to get receipt paper so he could scribble his autograph for a 16-year-old idiot.”

Reeves literally played a tortured soul in ‘Constantine’

In 2005, Reeves starred in Constantine, a superhero film based on DC Comics’ Hellblazer comic book. In the film, he portrays John Constantine, a burnt out cynic with the ability to communicate with angels and demons in the real world. In hopes of earning forgiveness for a botched childhood suicide attempt, he hunts demons as he nears death from lung cancer.

Throughout the movie, Reeves had many moments where he stood in isolation, smoking a cigarette as he contemplated how things would end for him. He lived in solitude and had no friends, rarely interacting with anyone other than spiritual beings and a naive cop, played by Rachel Weisz. The solemn angst shown on Reeves’ face often seemed all too authentic. 

‘Constantine’ director believes Keanu Reeves’ performance came from his real feelings

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz and Francis Lawrence | Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)

Even though Reeves is seen by the public as a kindhearted, sweet guy, Constantine’s director Francis Lawrence thinks Reeves may be dealing with some emotions the public doesn’t know about. In an interview with Slash Film, he stated that those feelings may be what helped deliver such an authentic performance. 

“There are actors when you look in their eyes in a close-up … you can see a lot going on behind the eyes,” Lawrence said. “I think Keanu is one of those people. It’s really, really hard to explain why. I do think, and I think I said this back then, there is something kind of tortured about Keanu and something lonely about Keanu.”

Keanu’s lonliless definitely helped the film, with it grossing over $230 million at the box office.