Why Keanu Reeves Replaced Johnny Depp as Winona Ryder’s Love Interest in ‘Dracula’

Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves starred in Frances Ford Coppola’s gothic-horror film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although the 1992 film was met with poor reviews, it created a life long friendship between Ryder and Reeves.

But believe it or not, Coppola wanted Johnny Depp to play Ryder’s love interest instead of Reeves. This would have been fitting, considering Ryder and Depp were engaged at the time. Despite Ryder and Coppola wanting Depp for the role, they ended up replacing him with Reeves.

circa 1990: Actors Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder
circa 1990: Actors Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder | The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves have starred in multiple movies together

Ryder and Reeves have starred in a handful of movies alongside each other over the years. This comes as no surprise, considering how epic their chemistry is on and off-screen. Their first movie collaboration was in Francis Ford Copolla’s 1992 version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Later, they would star in A Scanner Darkly, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Destination Wedding.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Reeves portrays Ryder’s love interest. Yet the director was wary at first about casting the Matrix actor, considering he had his eyes set on a different brooding heartthrob for the role…

Frances Ford Copolla wanted Johnny Depp to Play Winona Ryder’s love interest rather than Keanu Reeves

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According to the Copolla, he wanted Depp to play Ryder’s romantic partner instead. (At the time, Ryder and Depp were engaged.) But despite Depp being the original contender, the Edward Scissorhands actor wasn’t given the role because he wasn’t “enough of a star” at the time.

RELATED: Why Johnny Depp Was ‘Never the Same’ After His Break Up With Winona Ryder

“Winona Ryder in those days was going out with Johnny Depp, and I wanted Johnny to have the part of Jonathan Harker,” Copolla revealed in an interview with Vulture. “The studio thought he wasn’t enough of a star. I was so embarrassed. So I said to Winona, ‘What do you think? Who do you think they would think is a star who would want to do it?’ And she said Keanu. I just thought he was a very nice person. I was so touched by his sincerity.”

Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves might legally be married from the movie

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While Ryder was supposed to be marrying Depp, she might have accidentally married her best friend, Reeves, while starring in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. According to the Stranger Things star, the film used a real Romanian priest during the film’s wedding ceremony. Because of this, Ryder believes that she is actually married to her longtime friend.

“We actually got married in Dracula,” Ryder told Entertainment Weekly. “No, I swear to god I think we’re married in real life.”

“In that scene, Francis [Ford Coppola] used a real Romanian priest,” she said. “We shot the master, and he did the whole thing. So I think we’re married.”

Ryder reminded Reeves that they even said their “I Dos.”

“We said yes?” Reeves asks.

“Don’t you remember that?” says Ryder. “It was on Valentine’s Day.”

“…Oh my gosh, we’re married,” Reeves concludes.

And according to Reeves, Ryder often refers to him as her “husband.”

“Once in a while, I will get a text, ‘Hello, husband,'” he tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t really believe her, and then Francis Ford Coppola, the director of Dracula, contacted Winona and said publicly that, yeah, that really happened, the priest did a full ceremony, and Winona and I got married.”