“I want them to think of him as an adult actor”: Keanu Reeves Had to Sacrifice His Trademark Feature for $350M Movie That Almost Starred Tom Cruise in Lead Role

Who could ever erase the memory of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock racing through the bustling streets of Los Angeles aboard a city bus with a ticking bomb? Speed, which hit theaters in June of 1994, raked in a staggering $121 million in box office earnings.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed
Even after more than two and a half decades since its debut, this film still stands as an enduring classic that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Here are some lesser-known tidbits about this iconic blockbuster that might shed light on its lasting popularity.


Keanu Reeves Wasn’t The First Choice For The Role

As per Screenrant, Stephen Baldwin was presented with the opportunity to play Jack Traven but turned it down, expressing that the character bore too strong a resemblance to John McClane from Die Hard. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, screenwriter Graham Yost delved into the process of narrowing down the roster of possible male leads. He mentioned how action superstar Tom Cruise was also in the running for the role.
Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven

Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven
Yost told EW:
“We went to the Toms first — you know, you go to Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks — and I think Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, who were going to do Money Train. We went down many different avenues,” Yost said. “The way I recall it, someone’s kid at the studio said, ‘What about Keanu Reeves? He’s hot.’ And we all looked at each other and said, ‘Well, Bill & Ted?’ And then we said, ‘Well, wait a second, he was great in Parenthood, let’s meet him.’”
Director de Bont insisted that Keanu Reeves trim his long hair. De Bont’s reasoning was clear: he aimed to transition people’s perception of Keanu from his Bill and Ted persona and “think of Keanu as an adult actor.

Keanu Reeves Shared Great Rapport With Speed Co-star

In Speed, Keanu Reeves took on the role of Jack Traver, with Sandra Bullock portraying Annie Porter. The film’s antagonist, Howard Payne, was brought to life by the late actor Dennis Hopper. For Reeves, collaborating with the legendary Hopper was a standout moment in his career. 

The late actor held an immensely influential position in the realm of Hollywood. Sadly, Hooper bid farewell to the world on May 29, 2010.
Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper bts of SpeedKeanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper bts of Speed
Bullock and the Canadian actor developed a strong bond while working together on the set. Although they never pursued a romantic relationship, rumors swirled that both of them harbored mutual crushes. The 59-year-old actress fondly reminisced about her experiences working with Reeves during the filming of her 1994 movie.

The actress also mentioned that, in her opinion, Reeves maintains amicable relationships with all the women he has been involved with, and she believes that nobody likely holds any negative opinions about the Canadian actor.

Speed is available for streaming on STARZ.


Source: EW

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