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Ode to Happiness

The story of Keanu Reeves, who turned the worst moments of his life into fuel for an acting career.

Keanu Reeves. Reuters photo

At the end of the 20th century Keanu Reeves became a Hollywood star, and the main role in the fantastic film “The Matrix” put him at that stage of his career, when directors and producers themselves lined up for the actor. However, the subsequent series of personal tragedies destroyed Reeves’s plans. For many years he learned to experience the most difficult losses, then to return to the film business as an actor of persistent and courageous roles.

Dawn of the career

Keanu Reeves was born in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The father left the family when he was three years old, and later went to prison for selling heroin. Having spent most of his childhood traveling the world, Reeves for a long time could not understand what he wanted to do. The dream of becoming a hockey player dissolved when he suffered a serious injury. Later he was expelled from school, and then fate brought him to Los Angeles.

Punching his way through small roles, by 1986, Reeves received one of the main roles in the youth thriller “On the River Bank”, based on a real murder. The success of the picture among critics led to the fact that Reeves began to call for the shooting of other youth paintings. Then to it was 22 years, and such prospect quite satisfied him.

A year later, Reeves’s best friend died of an overdose. Four years later, in 1991, the actor moved away from the roles of adolescents and young people, playing the main role of the FBI agent in the action movie “On the crest of the wave.”

Shot from the film "On the River Bank"
Shot from the film “On the River Bank”
Successful in critics and viewers the picture brought the actor fame among the major producers, and the bonus was the nomination “The most desirable man of 1991” according to the version of the MTV channel. Success in the “Wave” attracted the attention of one of the most famous American filmmakers of the 20th century – Francis Coppola. Reeves was called to the “Dracula” for one of the main roles.

However, despite the loud box office and the success of the film in 1992, according to critics, including the influential Empire , Reeves did a poor job. However, at the same time, critics noted that very few people manage to keep the bar when Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins star in the same film with you. These actors at that time already earned a reputation for professionals who easily juggled with complex and unordinary roles.

Shot from the film “Dracula”
Reeves himself understood that it was time to experiment in his career. In 1994, he tried himself in the main role of the militant “Speed”, which received excellent marks. Then he played a leading position in the romantic drama “Walking in the Clouds” and took a break for the theater, brilliantly performing the role of Hamlet.

In 1997, the “Speed” appeared ransacked the critically acclaimed sequel, but Reeves was not there. In that year, he was filming next to Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate. With the shooting of the film is an interesting fact: Reeves agreed to cede more than half of his fee to the film called Al Pacino. And although the film’s ratings were different , with a budget of $ 57 million, he raised $ 157 million at the box office, reinforcing the already attractive status of Reeves as an actor.

In 1999, a fantastic action movie “The Matrix” came out, where Reeves played the role of the Chosen One named Neo, designed to save the world. The loud popularity of the film among the public and critics, with the subsequent construction of it in the cult work of the genre, created around Reeves that halo of glory that he is known to many now.

Shot from the movie “The Matrix”
Family Tragedy

The actor’s success turned for Reeves alongside tragedies. On the eve of Christmas, his lover Jennifer Syme, whom he met in 1998, had a miscarriage. The young couple lost a daughter, who planned to call Ava Archer Syme-Reeves. The tragedy drove Saim into a deep depression with alcohol and heavy drugs, and Reeves with his head went into work.

Soon the couple dispersed. Reeves could not afford to lose his acting career, and Sim simply wanted to forget himself. In April 2001, the girl died in a car crash, so plainly and without discussing with Reeves the pain of a total loss. She was buried near the grave of Ava.

Keanu Reeves at the funeral of Jennifer Syme. CBS photo
By 2003, Reeves had a new burden – sister Kim dying from leukemia. To stay with his sister, the actor changed his housing, invested more than five million dollars in the study of the disease and donated money to the hospital where the sister was treated.

Reeves so often postponed the shooting and disappeared in a medical facility, that rumors of his drug addiction spread in Hollywood. Reeves himself later saidthat even in the most difficult moments of his depression he came to the ward to his sister and supported her. Along the way, the actor founded his own fund to fight cancer and spent 75% of his earnings from the Matrix trilogy on fighting leukemia and studying the disease.

As of February 2017, Sister Reeves’s disease is in remission.

Photos of Splash News

Keanu Reeves in the ordinary life

In 2010, the Internet broke the memo “Sad Kiana”, arose from a picture taken by a photographer of the publication Splash News. On the photo, Reeves was sitting on a bench in the street dressed in disheveled clothes and eating a sandwich.

Against the background of the popularity of the meme, many people showed interest in the tragic events in the life of Reeves. A new wave of rumors has come that the actor is in a prolonged depression, including because he wears inexpensive clothing.

In 2011, the BBC journalists asked Reeves how he felt about the meme and whether he considered himself a “sad” person. In response, the actor noted that meme seemed ridiculous to him, but ignored the second question about his personal experiences.

It is difficult to say whether Reeves’ modesty is associated with hidden depression. As early as 2014 it became known that the actor, whose fortune exceeds 350 million dollars, lives in an inexpensive house by the standards of his earnings. Unlike many Hollywood colleagues, Reeves did not buy a mansion, he has four or five apartments in different cities across the country. Their actor acquired relatively recently, having spent the most difficult years, when his wife died and his sister was dying, in hotels and rented apartments.

“Money is the last thing I think about, 
 Reeves said in 2003, and since then he has hardly been more interested in luxury. In December 2011, a record appeared on YouTube, where the dressed in jeans and black jacket Reeves gives way to a girl in the New York subway.

Something like this can describe his entire life outside of Hollywood cameras. He mostly dresses in black and unremarkable clothes, does not follow fashion, gives part of the money earned for charity and uses public transport.

Talk about the “broad soul” Reeves went back in 2011. Then the user Reddit, familiar with one of the employees who worked with Kian, told the following story: after the success of the first film in the Matrix trilogy, the actor allegedly decided to give up part of the future earnings, which, according to external calculations, were about 80 million dollars. Reeves, based on the story, gave money to the team on special effects and costumes.

The story was repeatedly denied in the media, but this is just another proof that the financial modesty of Reeves made him in the eyes of fans a man who does not care about money. However, another story of charity actor was true: he gave each stuntman the first “Matrix” on a motorcycle.

In the same year 2011, Reeves together with the artist Alexandra Grant published a book “Ode to Happiness”. The illustrated book consisted of poems of an actor, and the images in the book looked as if they were washed away with tears. The end of the book, however, is inspiring : “It can always be worse,” wrote the author. Later, he said that the book was only a way to entertain, and it should not be taken seriously.

Shot from the movie “John Week”
After the trilogy “Matrix”, which ended in 2003, and “Constantine”, released in 2005, Reeves had a difficult time in acting career. While filming that in amateur films, then in disastrous films, he grew old, turning from a cult artist into “that actor from the” Matrix. “

However, the situation changed dramatically in 2014, when the actor starred in the militant “John Wick.” Reeves approached the role of the protagonist, the former hired killer John Wick, who lost his beloved wife because of a serious illness. This was noted by critics and spectators.

Now, after the powerful success of the first part in the rental of the second part of the “John Wick”, Reeves, apparently, early to stop. The ending of the action movie hints at the continuation, and it is difficult to imagine on the spot Reeves another actor who could have played so honestly a modest and generally noble hired killer.

On February 10, in honor of the release of “John Wick 2”, the British magazine Esquire published an interview with Reeves. Sweeping material, more like a short autobiography with quotations of the actor, basically gives a cheerfulness, especially when the author writes about the career success of Reeves.

Sad part of the life of the actor is already at the end of the interview: the death of an unborn child, the death of a beloved – the journalist recalls these episodes, and then asks when Reeves plans to settle down.

It is too late. Everything is over. I will not have children anymore.

I am the embodiment of all cliches. Fucking Mortality. Aging. I already get better [get old]. You have so much to do before you die.

I know that this is all cliche, it’s simple, Lord, where did the time go? Why does the world change? How much longer do I have left? What did not I have time to do? I’m trying to remember the line from the sonnet …

[Shakespeare’s 30th Sonnet]

I lead the account of the lost by me And I am terrified again of losing each, And again I’m paying a dear price For what I paid for once!

Keanu Reeves
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