Everett; Getty Images; Everett
Ignorance is bliss. In the ongoing tale of Keanu Reeves’ 35-year film career, that ignorance was sadly actualized Monday when it was revealed that for nearly a decade, there were a number of classic movies we could have seen Keanu in, but we tragically did not.
An extensive GQ profile of Reeves alluded to the fact that the actor was in “movie jail”—which is very much a thing, apparently—for 10-plus years with 20th Century Fox, as fallout following his decision not to appear in Speed 2 (released in 1997). He wouldn’t work for the studio again until 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still.
Yes, it’s only one studio that he was off the reservation with. Yes, it was in this same time period where he appeared in all three Matrix movies, so you know he was doing just fine. Yes, he’s currently starring in the most exciting, grungy, campy, violent, enthralling action series of this generation. Yes, it’s nothing really worth thinking about. But still: Imagine if Keanu Reeves found his way into a Star Wars movie?
The possibilities are endless, and Reeves’ charisma could’ve lended itself to a number of movies on Fox’s roster, in a variety of genres. Below, we take a look at five that the king of “Whoa” truly could have excelled in.
Star Wars: Episodes I, II, III
While Ewan McGregor is far from the problem with any of the Star Wars prequels (in fact, he’s quite good), imagining Keanu Reeves in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi is simply a treat. The energy he would’ve brought would’ve been entirely different, and a cool surfer Jedi would’ve been an interesting creative choice by George Lucas.
Or, we could’ve thrown Keanu Reeves under the Jango Fett costume and had the entire clone army be Keanu doubles. Who says no?
The Devil Wears Prada
Reeves thrives in comedy and The Devil Wears Prada would’ve been a great place to flex his comedic muscle. You might not expect a laid-back guy like Reeves to fit into the high-fashion magazine world of Prada, but think again. Keanu would’ve been a brilliant choice for Christian Thompson, the sly-but-sleazy magazine writer played by Simon Baker, or even as a substitute Nigel, the eccentric and slow-to-warm magazine art director.
Dude, Where’s My Car?
This one is kind of self-explanatory. We were ROBBED of—at the very minimum—a Keanu cameo in this extremely dumb but somehow extremely nostalgic movie that at times pays clear, undeniable tribute to Bill and Ted. The parts in the movie don’t even matter: this movie should have written a role in just to have Keanu show up, be Keanu, and then leave. This one hurts.
While it’s hard to even imagine taking Brad Pitt or Edward Norton out of their iconic roles (though, man, Keanu could’ve crushed that Norton spot), why not throw Keanu a bone and give him Meat Loaf’s role as the affable Bob? Sure, Keanu doesn’t quite have the physical presence that Mr. Loaf has, but what’s the point of re-casting these roles if we’re not going to re-imagine? The warmth that Bob shows the narrator would’ve taken on a whole different vibe—more of a peer-to-peer love—with Keanu taking the helm.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Again, Reeves doesn’t get a chance to flex his comedy muscles nearly enough. Ben Stiller gives a comedic masterclass as the movie’s villain, White Goodman, but imagining Reeves in the same role brings such an against-type vibe that I can’t help but smile while thinking of it. Much in the spirit of another Ben Stiller movie—Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder—Keanu would’ve absolutely crushed it.
And one he should be happy to have avoided…
Planet of the Apes
I hate to say it, but Tim Burton’s dead-on-arrival 2001 Planet of the Apes is exactly the type of movie that a 2001 Keanu would’ve done. While there’s a chance that the movie powers that be did take some big time roles out of his grasp, all the Reeves fans should be thankful that Marky Mark fell on this sword instead.