Keanu Reeves Won’t Apologize for Being So Hard on Himself

Keanu Reeves movies boast some of the most impressive stuntwork thanks to the star himself. He trained in martial arts for the Matrix movies and continued his training into the John Wick films. He does many of his own stunts and he never settles for less. While making The Matrix Reloaded, costar Laurence Fishburne said Reeves was too hard on himself, but Reeves didn’t think so. 

Keanu Reeves closeup
Keanu Reeves | Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Reeves spoke about his work ethic at the Matrix Reloaded press junket in 2003. He explained why he always strives for more and never feels it’s good enough. 

Keanu Reeves always wants to improve every scene in his movies

The Matrix Reloaded had some outrageous fight scenes, including one where Neo (Reees) fights hundreds of Agent Smiths (Hugo Weaving). No matter what choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping had him do, Reeves couldn’t shake feeling like he could do more. 

“There was a lot of stuff with the weapons,” Reeves said. “I was like, ‘I wish I could have been better. I wish I could have done this move’ because the more I would get, the more That Woo-Ping and the [Wachowskis] would go, ‘Well how about this?’ It  was harder to get, it was harder to do and it was harder to come back. Some days, you’d finish a fight and then get new choreography and fight on weekends so that you could film on Tuesday.”

Keanu Reeves isn’t worried about pushing himself too hard 

Reeves feels a responsibility to his movies. The Matrix Reloaded was a good example.

“It’s important,” Reeves said. “It was my job to do whatever the [Wachowskis] asked me to do. So, I’m just trying to do that.”

Reeves is comfortable that he has a healthy sense of the line between a work ethic and obsession. 

The Matrix star Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves Toru Yamanaka/AFP via Getty Images

“I don’t think I need any therapy or anything,” Reeves said. “I am not so out of my mind, but it is an aspect of the piece as well as why we work so hard to try to get the emotional aspects right. In those scenes, in those sequences, there is something about symmetry and having those scenes so that you believe it. If I do something and I don’t hit it right or it doesn’t look right, you instantly feel it and see it and you go, ‘Aw, aw.’ You don’t want that. You want it to be perfect.”

He treated himself after a hard day of work

As hard as he works, Reeves knows how to treat himself too. He rewarded himself after tough fights. 

“I had a bottle of scotch in my trailer every day,” Reeves said. “It was actually symbolic. I swear to God I had a bottle of McCallan right there. “There were some Fridays when you would finish work and just a glass of scotch after some filming and some fighting is really good. You know what I mean? It’s like that beer after you’ve been lifting sh*t. You know what I mean? Like yeah!”

Keanu Reeves bearded
Keanu Reeves | Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

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And once Reeves completed filming, he stopped fretting over how good he was. 

“I didn’t like that when I was doing it,” Reeves said. “I just kept thinking this is what I have to do. Once I threw my last kick and my last punch it was like, ‘Okay, we did it. I hope I did it well enough.’”