Keanu Reeves has been a major Hollywood star for more than three decades. How old was he in his iconic role as Neo in “The Matrix”?
Keanu Reeves was 34 when “The Matrix” was released in 1999 and 33 during filming. He was 38 when “The Matrix Reloaded” released and 39 when “The Matrix Revolutions” released but would have been 36 and 37 during the movies’ concurrent shoots. He will be 57 on the fourth movie’s planned release date of April 1, 2022.
For more on Keanu Reeves’ early career and his age while making “The Matrix” movies, read on.
Keanu Charles Reeves was born on September 2, 1964, in Beirut, Lebanon. His parents were Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr, from Hawaii, and Patricia Taylor, a costume designer from England.
Samuel left Patricia and Keanu when his son was three years old and had very little contact afterward, last meeting when Keanu was 13.
Patricia remarried in 1970 to Paul Aaron, a director of Broadway and Hollywood productions. They divorced a year later but Paul made an impact on Keanu’s future career, using him as a production assistant when he was 15.
Reeves’ years in high school were tumultuous and he was expelled from the Etobicoke School of the Arts for, in his words, being “just a little too rambunctious”. He hoped to play ice hockey professionally but instead decided to pursue acting.
For a time, he tried to continue his education while acting but dropped out at 17 and moved to Los Angeles when he was 20.
Throughout the 1980s, Reeves worked in numerous TV and theatre roles. He was a correspondent on “Going Great”, a Canadian youth news show.
He performed in a 1985 production of “Romeo and Juliet”, as well as appearing in “Wolfboy” and doing various commercials.
The next step in Reeves’ career was appearing in TV movies and gradually earning supporting roles in Hollywood films such as “Dangerous Liaisons”.
His big break came in 1989 when he played Ted “Theodore” Logan in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and its 1991 sequel “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. The films were both successful and made Reeves a household name
The success of “Bill & Ted” led Reeves into more adult roles, such as “Point Break”, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Speed”. The mid-1990s were less successful and Reeves received numerous unkind assessments of his acting ability.
“The Devil’s Advocate” in 1997 was positively received and revitalized Reeves’ career but his next role would take him to new heights.
Reeves would star in the sci-fi action film “The Matrix” playing the protagonist, Neo. He and his co-stars underwent extensive martial arts and firearms training for the movie, performing the vast majority of action scenes themselves.
The movie released on March 31, 1999, making Reeves 34 at the time, though he would have been 33 during the film’s shoot between March and August 1998.
“The Matrix” was a resounding box office success and cultural phenomenon, influencing action scenes and movie aesthetics in numerous other films after its release.
The movie’s success prompted Warner Bros to greenlight a pair of sequels, “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions”, which were filmed concurrently and both released in 2003. Reeves was 38 when “Reloaded” released and 39 when “Revolutions” released but would have been 36 and 37 when they were filmed between March 2001 and August 2002.
“Reloaded” was a huge success, grossing $741 million and becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film until 2016, when it was surpassed by “Deadpool”. “Revolutions”, which had more mixed reviews, made $427 million.
A fourth “Matrix” movie began production in February 2020, 17 years after the previous film. Reeves will be 57 on its planned release date of April 1, 2022, but, as the “John Wick” movies have shown, he hasn’t lost a step.