Keanu Reeves Was Told He’d Never Make It as an Actor, Right Before Getting Expelled From School

Keanu Reeves is one of the most beloved actors of our generation. He is the prime example of a celebrity who manages to stay down to earth, despite his status.

But even though he is one of the most cherished celebs, he was once told by his performing arts school that he’d never make it as a professional actor. Because of their lack of faith in Reeves, the school expelled him immediately.

Keanu Reeves discusses "Replicas" during 2017 New York Comic Con
Keanu Reeves discusses “Replicas” during 2017 New York Comic Con | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Keanu Reeves struggled in school

Reeves is a brilliant thinker, but he admits that he struggled a lot in school. Not only does he have dyslexia, but he also had trouble focusing on the subject matter.

When he was a teenager, The Matrix actor auditioned for a performing arts school, and was shocked when they accepted him. But over time, he admits that he had a hard time fitting in with his peers. Because Reeves was constantly asking questions, he was regarded as a bothersome student.

“I got into a performing arts school, but I didn’t fit in,” Reeves admits, according to his unauthorized biography. “I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff and the principal, and I didn’t see eye to eye with any of them.”

Reeves then explains that he was “one of those ‘why’ kids.”

He says, “I asked too many questions, about everything.”

The ‘John Wick’ actor got expelled from school and was told there was no future for him

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves | Aaron Rapoport/Getty Images

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According to Reeves, he was kicked out of his performing arts school because they saw no future for him as an actor.

As his unauthorized biography reveals,

“His dismissal was said to be due to his inability to concentrate and the fact that he asked too many questions. Bottom line, they saw no future for Keanu as a professional actor or, for that matter, much of a future in any aspect of his life.”

“It was a terrible letter to receive, saying you can’t come back to school next year,” says Reeves. “Getting asked to leave was very upsetting.”

Fortunately, Reeves didn’t need approval from anyone in order to give his dream of becoming an actor a shot. So instead of listening to the school’s discouragement, he took a chance and moved to Hollywood. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Reeves was able to find work because of his star quality.

Keanu Reeves was asked to change his name

1987: A young Keanu Reeves, star of 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure'
1987: A young Keanu Reeves, star of ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ | George Rose/Getty Images

The first day Reeves moved to Hollywood, he was asked by his agent to change his name. Sadly, he was told that his name was too “ethnic.”

“So I get there, and my manager and agent say ‘It’s great to see you, but we have to change your name,'” Reeves explains in his biography. “They did it the first day I got into town.”

So when Reeves was told he could come up with his own stage name, he decided to mess with his agent by coming up with the silliest names possible. The names he came up with were “Chuck Spandin” and “Templeton Page Taylor.”

It’s safe to say that sticking with “Keanu Reeves” was the best option for him.