Keanu Reeves is publishing 'esoteric' books under his own new imprint

David Canfield
This film is bone-crunching proof that you should never count out a movie star who seems past his box office sell-by date. John Wick, and the alternate universe of assassin cabals it fleshed out with giddy ingenuity, was the movie no one saw coming and didn’t know we needed until it arrived in all of its adrenalized glory. The plot is ridiculous, by-the-numbers revenge flick pulp (they killed his dog — big mistake!), but Reeves’ stoic, Easter Island-statue screen presence works like violent, whiplash gangbusters. Plus, you get Ian McShane at his Ian McShane-iest! !

What do Keanu Reeves and Sarah Jessica Parker have in common — that is, besides starring together in the 1989 PBS film Life Under Water? (Really!) As of 2018, they’re now both running new publishing imprints.

But while Parker is targeting the mainstream literary sphere, making a splash earlier this year with the acclaimed A Place for Us, Reeves is going in a more, well, idiosyncratic direction. In a T Magazine article, the actor confirmed he’s launched X Artists’ Books with his business partner, visual artist Alexandra Grant. Here’s how the report describes the new company: “Since the summer, X Artists’ Books … has been producing aggressively esoteric titles of the kind that wouldn’t fly at larger imprints.”

The pair have been collaborating on book projects for a full decade, going back to 2009’s Ode to Happiness. And the commitment to spotlighting niche, experimental fare indicates this isn’t just some celebrity vanity project, as T notes. “Not that we’re reinventing anything,” Reeves told the magazine. “But the idea of a quality book is definitely our ambition.”

Of books that X Artists’ have released so far is (Zus), “a visual essay by the French photographer Benoît Fougeirol with text by Jean-Christophe Bailly … that presents the Brutalist peripheries as a failure of both the state and imagination.” The imprint’s titles thus far have primarily been stocked in select art bookstores around the world, and there’s also a subscription program in which $130 covers the company’s first four releases. (Per T, there are five more in the works.)

And lest you thought Reeves wasn’t actively involved in X Artists’ decision-making process, think again. He makes most every business decision together with Grant, and rather than evaluate submissions or work with agents, they’re in the process of bringing “secret books” out into the world.

So yes, getting your book published with Keanu just got that much harder.

Read the full T Magazine article here.