A star in Hollywood with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Keanu Reeves has nevertheless taken a few knocks for his acting chops. However, many of his characters and movies remain memorable – and word has it, he’s just about the coolest dude in Tinseltown.
Today he turns 51; so in order to wish him Happy Birthday M-Net Movies is bringing you ten facts about the man who must be Hollywood’s kindest actor.
- After the success of The Matrix, Reeves agreed to pare down his back-end profit sharing deal, because he felt the special effects team and costume designers deserved a share as well.
- His generosity doesn’t stop there. In order to let the studio secure Al Pacino for The Devil's Advocate, Reeves agreed to a multi-million dollar pay cut to help supplement his salary. He did the same for The Replacements, taking a 90% pay cut so that Gene Hackman could be brought on board.
- Clearly not interested in money, he turned down a huge paycheck for Speed 2: Cruise Control so that he could tour with his band and star in a production of Hamlet.
- He’s a bookworm! Not only has he read all of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, but also The Count of Monte Cristo and The Lord of the Rings, as well as work by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jim Thompson, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick and Don DeLillo.
- Another hobby of his is ballroom dancing.
- Keanu means “cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian.
- Born in Beirut, Lebanon, he also lived in Sydney and New York growing up. He eventually settled in Toronto and identifies himself as Canadian to this day.
- Part-time pasta? Before he started acting he managed a pasta shop, and also had a job sharpening ice-skates.
- During high school he was an avid hockey player, and was given the nickname The Wall due to his skills as a goalie. He wanted to play for Canada, but an injury put an end to those dreams. Instead he got to utilise his skills for the movie Youngblood.
- He’s still friends with his Speed co-star Sandra Bullock; and Alex Winters, his co-star from the Bill and Ted movies.
Feature image credit: Photo by Eddy LEMAISTRE/Corbis via Getty Images.