Keanu Reeves is seen as a demigod in the eyes of millions of cinephiles who simply can’t do anything wrong. The reality is that Reeves is harsher on himself, and there’s one role he deeply regrets taking.
The John Wick star’s acting career began when he was a child, following his mother marrying Paul Aaron, who worked as a Broadway director. Although they divorced after one year, Aaron remained close to Reeves and helped him break into theatre work as a youngster.
Reeves first appeared in an array of television films and eventually graduated into lead roles. His performance in the Oscar-nominated Dangerous Liaisons established Reeves as a star, and he hasn’t left the limelight since.
Over the last 30 years, Reeves has enjoyed plentiful time as a Hollywood darling and extended periods of life as a laughing stock after his projects flopped. He’s no stranger to hellish lows, and one point stands out to him as the ultimate nadir of his career.
Reeves is accustomed to his films receiving a battering from critics, and The Watcher was particularly loathed. Astonishingly, it only has an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and few hated the picture more than the actor himself. In fact, Reeves shockingly claimed he was tricked into appearing in the project.
“I never found the script interesting, but a friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement,” Reeves told the Calgary Sun. “I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film.”
Although it seems like a wild, unfathomable claim — seemingly Reeves was telling the truth. He came to an agreement with Universal, which meant he would stay silent for 12 months about the forgery following The Watcher’s US release and in return, they would allow him to do minimal promotion for the film.
Additionally, Reeves was under the impression that he’d only be making a short cameo, and he was bemused at becoming one of the leads. Eventually, they did increase his salary on the film to compensate Reeves, but he still felt short-changed from the whole ordeal.
Not only was The Watcher a terrible film that stained his CV, but it also highlights a dark side of Hollywood and how actors can often be held to ransom by studios.
Reeves had no choice but to take part in The Watcher, even though it was against his wishes, and he allegedly didn’t even sign a contract agreeing to take part. Even A-list actors don’t have the necessary financial muscle to take on Universal, as he discovered the difficult way.