Keanu Reeves’ ‘Severe Haircut’ and ‘Boyish’ Body Type Almost Postponed ‘Speed’

The Matrix actor Keanu Reeves is now an iconic action star. However, his career didn’t begin that way. Reeves’ filmography is a roller coaster ride of various projects, including Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Teenage roles initially put him in the spotlight. When Reeves officially got cast in Speed, his haircut and “boyish” body type nearly made studio executives postpone filming the movie.

Sandra Bullock was glad that Keanu Reeves wasn’t a typical action star

'Speed' star Keanu Reeves wearing a black blazer and dress shirt
Keanu Reeves | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Brian J. Robb wrote about Speed and other films in Keanu Reeves: An Excellent Adventure. It explores the actor’s life and career through some of the most pivotal moments of his life. Jan de Bont directed Speed, which was written by Graham Yost. Reeves and Sandra Bullock signed onto the 1994 movie, although both weren’t quite huge stars at the time.

Reeves offered a different type of action hero than Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a result, de Bont and Bullock really liked him for the part. Reeves and Bullock developed a strong friendship while filming Speed.

“I liked it that Keanu wasn’t always the capable male, he couldn’t always keep it together and depended on a woman just as strong as he was,” Bullock said. “It didn’t make him less masculine. It just made him human.”

Keanu Reeves’ haircut and ‘boyish’ body type nearly postponed ‘Speed’

Robb’s Keanu Reeves: An Excellent Adventure details how a big issue leading up to Speed was Reeves’ new haircut. De Bont wanted the star to have a different hairstyle for the movie. However, not everybody agreed with Reeves’ new haircut.

“I had what they call a one cut,” Keanu joked. “And then I took the ‘one’ off on the clippers! Some people thought it was too extreme because they could see my scalp.”

The studio executives hated the hairstyle so much, they wanted Reeves to wear a wig immediately.

“They saw him walking on the lot and they called me right away,” de Bont said. “They said, ‘Who told him to cut his hair? We have to get him a wig – now!’ I said, ‘No way are we going to get him a wig.'”

De Bont continued: “They called his manager, they called his agent, they said, ‘We’re going to have to postpone this movie now,’ and I said, ‘No, we have two more weeks, and in two weeks his hair will grow this much. It’s great, it’s what I want.’ They were totally upset.”

However, Reeves’ haircut wasn’t the only issue leading up to Speed. De Bont also brought up the actor’s physique.

“The thing with Keanu is that he looks very boyish and I wanted him to be like a young adult,” de Bont said. “I didn’t want him to be like a kid – and he loves to be like a kid.”

As a result, Reeves worked out to get his physique to “the right side of believability.”

The ‘Speed’ legacy

Speed was a critical and a commercial success at the box office on its release. It earned over $350 million on around a $30 million budget. Additionally, Speed won two Oscars for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Sound. Multiple critics even placed it on their year-end best movies of the year lists.

Speed 2: Cruise Control hit theaters a few years later, although it didn’t come close to the same level of success. It went down in history as one of the worst movie sequels of all time. Fortunately, Reeves declined to return for the sequel, which wouldn’t have fared well for his career.

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