- Keanu Reeves turned down a sequel with a $12 million salary, which turned out to be a wise decision as the film flopped.
- Reeves rejected the sequel because he didn’t respond to the script and felt that it didn’t feel right.
- Two years later, Reeves landed the role in The Matrix, which became a massive success and a career-altering opportunity for him.
Throughout his career, Keanu Reeves has appeared in questionable films. He even took part in movies he did not want to make but was forced to shoot.
Keanu was a man of principle. If he wasn’t into a script, he wouldn’t have been inclined to take on the role. This took place with a certain film, as Keanu was the only man in Hollywood applauded for turning down a sequel with a $12 million salary. It was a bold move given the success of the first film, but ultimately, Kenau had his reasons.
We’re going to take a look back at why Keanu turned down the role, and why his decision was the correct one. We’ll reveal what other role came his way two years later, and how it completely changed his career.
Keanu Reeves’ Best Career Move Was Turning Down Speed 2, Despite Being Offered Millions
Back in 1994, Keanu Reeves changed his career thanks to Speed. The film had a budget of $37 million, but was able to bring in $350 million at the box office. Alongside Reeves in the film included Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, and Joe Morton.
Given the success of the first film, it only made sense that three years later, a sequel would take place. However, Reeves wasn’t into the plot. The actor turned down a ridiculous salary of $12 million for the film. His decision proved to be a correct one, and perhaps the best of his career, as the film tanked both at the box office, and from a critical standpoint.
Reeves revealed he really wanted to work with Sandra Bullock again, but had to turn down the project given the script attached.
The actor said, “At the time, I just didn’t respond to the script. I really wanted to work with Sandra Bullock, and I really loved playing Jack Traven.”
“It wasn’t against any of the artists that were involved in the project, but at that time — I’m sure we’ve all had this kind of feeling sometimes when things just don’t feel right, and that was how I was feeling,” Reeves said. “I loved ‘Speed,’ but… now it’s on an ocean liner?”
It was the right call for Keanu, who had a career-altering opportunity just two years after the rejection.
Keanu Reeves Landed His Career-Altering Role In The Matrix Just Two Years Later
In 1999, Keanu Reeves scored the opportunity of a lifetime, starring in The Matrix. The film was a massive success, bringing in $467 million at the box office. The film would turn into a huge franchise worth billions, and Keanu is still open to more films.
Keanu got the role, but there was stiff competition for Neo. Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Will Smith were among the other actors considered for the main role. Keanu Reeves still remembers exactly how he was hired for The Matrix.
He revealed, “I was very lucky. I got a call from my agent, saying that these directors, the Wachowskis, wanted to meet, and they sent me the script, and the script was absolutely amazing, and I went in to meet with them, and they showed me some artwork, of their vision, and an early version of “bullet time,” and it was very exciting and inspiring.”
“We ended up hanging out in a parking lot outside the offices just talking and riffing, and we basically just kinda shook hands – they told me they wanted me to train for 4 months prior to filming, and I got a big grin on my face and said: “Yes.” That’s how it happened.”
Once again, this proved to be a career-changing moment for Keanu, who saw the massive potential in the script from the start, unlike lots of other major stars who turned down the gig.
Sandra Bullock Agreed To Speed 2 But Completely Regretted Her Decision
Unlike Keanu, Bullock appeared in the sequel of the film. Looking back, Sandra still has regrets. She admitted to being embarrassed by speed and its idiotic plot.
She said, “I have one [that] no one came around to and I’m still embarrassed I was in,” Bullock said. “It’s called ‘Speed 2.’ I’ve been very vocal about it. Makes no sense. Slow boat. Slowly going towards an island.” “That’s one I wished I hadn’t done and no fans came around that I know of.”
Daniel Radcliffe was with Bullock at the time of her reveal. The actor said that the film had a cult following years later. However, Bullock wasn’t buying it.
“Very quiet! Like five people. Him and the other four 12-year-olds who were watching the slow boat going towards the tiny island.”
Although the film didn’t do much good towards her career, she didn’t suffer in the years that followed, appearing in several major films during the 2000s.