It might be hard to believe, but Keanu Reeves has been acting for nearly 40 years. The man we know as John Wick, Neo, and Ted Theodore Logan began his career back in 1984 and it didn’t take long for him to start making his mark.
But it was Reeves’s role as a troubled teen that started it all, so let’s take a look back at the long-forgotten television series that kicked off Keanu Reeves’ career.
Keanu Reeves Is Hangin’ In
In 1984, the future John Wick, who is Canadian by nationality, was a youthful-looking 20-year-old working as a correspondent for a Canadian youth television show called Going Great.
That same year, Reeves made his acting debut on a popular Canadian television series called Hangin’ In. The series ran for seven seasons and starred David Eisner, Ruth Springford, and Lally Cadeau as workers at a youth drop-in center. There they deal with the numerous issues affecting the young people of that generation.
Keanu Reeves made his acting debut, in the 14th episode of the series’ fourth season
When Keanu Reeves made his acting debut, it came on the 14th episode of the series’ fourth season. As you can see, the humor is what we in the business like to call “low brow.” Reeves does have a couple of lines and you can see a hint of Theodore Logan in his mannerisms. Take a peek at the clip below and see if you don’t agree.
We do apologize for the lack of quality in the clip, but that was television in the early ‘80s.
Keanu Reeves’s role simply called for him to be one of the many troubled teens who walked through the doors of the teen drop-in center. Although it was a small part, of his first acting gig, it wasn’t too cringy.
As it turns out, Reeves wasn’t the only young Canadian actor to make a guest appearance on the hit Canadian series. These included Jessica Steen, Mark Humphrey, and Eric McCormack who later came to be known as Will Truman in the hit NBC series, Will & Grace.
Although Hangin’ In was a hit in Canada and seen on the CBC, it was only on for a brief time in the United States. The series was briefly aired on Nickelodeon and was also seen for a short time in syndication across the United States.
This Was One Of His First Roles
Hangin’ In was just the beginning for Keanu Reeves. After being seen as the troubled teen in the sitcom, Reeves’ career began to move quickly. 1985 saw Reeves grab two episodes on the Canadian police series Night Heat and the TV movie Letting Go.
Keanu Reeves’s career got the jump start it needed in 1986 with his role as hockey player Heaver in the sports drama, Youngblood. The film starred Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Cynthia Gibb and tells the story of Dean Youngblood (Lowe) a talented and skilled hockey player who prefers to avoid fights on the ice. But if has any shot at making the pros, Youngblood will have to learn to physically defend himself on the ice. Reeves skates in as one of Youngblood’s teammates.
After Youngblood, the roles began to come to Keanu Reeves at a regular clip. There was Act of Vengeance, Teenage Dream, River’s Edge, and The Night Before. Towards the end of the 1980s, Reeves starred in a supporting role as Chevalier Dancey in the Academy Award-winning film Dangerous Liaisons which was headlined by Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Then, in 1989, Reeves became one-half of the Bill & Ted duo. It was the ultimate slacker comedy that co-starred Alex Winter and produced an animated series as well as two sequels. Reeves would follow that up with a co-starring role in the hit comedy, Parenthood, where he played pretty much the same character as he did in Bill & Ted.
Keanu Reeves’s career was on a roll and since that time, it has been non-stop. True, there have been a few misfires along the way, but most careers of his length have a few potholes. They have been nothing so detrimental that he hasn’t been able to climb out from.
And to think, all of this – the John Wick’s, the Neo’s, the Bill & Ted’s, even John Constantine and Shane Falco – it all began with Reeves playing a troubled teen on a long-forgotten Canadian TV sitcom called Hangin’ In.