Keanu Reeves‘ impressive range as an actor has earned him a variety of starring roles. From comedies such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Always Be My Maybe to hard-core action flicks like John Wick and Speed, Reeves always embodies the character he’s playing.
Earlier in his acting career, Reeves proved he was a committed actor when he decided to go bare-legged for a very small part.
‘John Wick’ star Keanu Reeves went method for a commercial
In an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Reeves described one of his first acting gigs in the 1980s when he scored a role in a Coca-Cola commercial.
“I had to play a cyclist who’s a young kid, my father’s my coach, it’s a big race,” The Matrix star told Corden in 2018. “It was like a three-day shoot.”
Cordon was surprised when Reeves mentioned that he prepped for the role by shaving his legs.
“You shaved your legs for this commercial?” Corden asked as the crowd laughed. “Yeah!” Reeves responded, adding, “’Cause I’m playing a cyclist.”
Keanu Reeves got practical experience from the 80s Coke spot
Though he was only on screen for 30 seconds, Reeves noted many skills he picked up on the shoot.
“For me, it was a great experience because you’re going from school and from study, to the real world, to practical.” Reeves explained. “So it was like hitting marks, we had to improv some scenes, we had to pretend it was hot and we were filming in the winter. You know, so it was real-world, working experience.”
The John Wick star had to consume plenty of the carbonated beverage during filming, as the director tried to help him get into character.
“I also went through that thing, when they have that line at the end… I had to drink so many Coca-Colas.” Reeves recalled. “But I had that thing with the director where it’s like, ‘OK, you’re thirsty, you’re dying, you’re on a desert island and you haven’t had anything to drink.’”
‘Matrix’ star Keanu Reeves likes to make his performance ‘superperfect’
Reeves has continued to go all in for roles, including when some physical combat is required. The Point Break actor tends to stick to more action-related challenges rather than stunts.
“There’s an incredible stuntman who doubles John Wick,” Reeves told Men’s Journal. “They hit him with a car. He’s standing there, and they hit him—that’s a stunt. Me? I’ll shoot some guns, flip some people—and that’s action. So, yeah, I do as much action as I possibly can, because I love it, and I love the opportunity to bring the audience along. … I want to be able to do everything.”
Always striving to fully take on a character, Reeves admitted he can sometimes go beyond perfectionism in order to achieve the best results.
“Since The Matrix, I’ve used this term, ‘superperfect.’ As in, ‘Can we get it superperfect?'” Reeves said. “That’s part of what makes [a great action film] a pressure cooker. It’s the intensity of just trying to do the best you can in the circumstances that you have.”