Keanu Reeves was shunned by the Fox movie studio for a solid 14 years, he’s revealed, after he turned down Speed 2.
Profiled in the latest issue of GQ, the Matrix actor said that decision meant that he was sent to ‘movie jail’.
The reason he turned down the role, though, is absolute classic Reeves.
Rather than reprise the role of LAPD SWAT officer Jack Traven from the first Speed movie in 1994, and cash an inevitably massive pay cheque, he elected to go and star in a production of Hamlet instead, for the Manitoba Theater Centre in Winnipeg.
“I didn’t work with [Fox] again until The Day the Earth Stood Still,” he says.
It’s no wonder Fox was peeved with Reeves, however, what with the first movie pulling in $350 million from a $30 million budget.
But the fact that the second movie went on to become an abject disaster probably cemented Reeves’s fate.
Speed 2: Cruise Control cast a new lead, Lost Boys star Jason Patric, opposite Sandra Bullock, and while it made $165 million at the box office, it reportedly cost director Jan de Bont roughly the same amount to make.
It was also pummelled mercilessly by critics, and was nominated for a hefty eight Razzies (winning for Worst Remake or Sequel).
Since then, Reeves has steered clear of major studio movies, not making one since 47 Ronin for Universal Pictures, which bombed horribly.
Read more: Keanu Reeves confirms Bill & Teds 3
But he’s embraced a newly-rekindled love of the action movie in recent years, cementing a new fanbase through the John Wick movies, the third of which is out next month.
As for continuing in the character, he tells GQ he’ll go ‘as far as my legs can take me, as far as the audience wants to go’.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum finds his world-weary assassin now with a $14 million bounty on his head after breaking hitman rules in the second movie by killing someone on the premises of the Continental Hotel, a refuge for hired guns.
He then has to escape from New York, with the help of fellow assassin Halle Berry.
It lands in the UK on May 17.