How Key & Peele got Keanu Reeves to take part in Keanu

Keanu Reeves Keegan-Michael Key Jordan Peele

This Friday the world will experience the most expensive cat video ever made once KEANU hits theaters. After his adorable new kitten Keanu is stolen from his home, Rell (Jordan Peele) and his friend Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) team-up in order to seek out those responsible, but soon find themselves in over their heads dealing with violent gang members. Although many first saw KEANU as a JOHN WICK parody, the film was already in the middle of production by the time JOHN WICK was released. Due to the success of JOHN WICK the studio was keen to find out if they could get Keanu Reeves involved in KEANU.

Peter Atencio, director of KEANU, recently spoke with the LA Times about how they got Keanu Reeves onboard.

We were like, “Should we? Is this a good idea?” When “John Wick” came out, we were kind of like, “Oh, my God. This is crazy. There’s a movie that has a very similar process that stars Keanu." In a way, that almost kind of deterred us. We didn’t want to see like we we were making a “John Wick” parody. But the studio kept asking, “Can we get Keanu? Can we get Keanu?”

They eventually reached out to Keanu's management but found that their offer was "politely declined." That was that, or so it seemed; once the first KEANU trailer was released, Keanu Reeves' sister insisted that he watch it and Reeves apparently thought that it was great and got in touch with Key & Peele saying "if there's anything I can do, let's make this work." As the film was almost finished by that point, it became a matter of figuring out where they could fit Keanu Reeves, but Atencio decided that the best fit was having Reeves voice his feline namesake.

We had a scene in the movie where Peele’s character is on a drug trip, and a cat kind of leads him through his hallucinations. We wanted to expand on that anyway, so we thought he could do the voiceover for the cat in that scene. He was in Italy making “John Wick 2,” so we had him go to a recording studio in Rome. I was on Skype with him, and I spent an hour recording a bunch of dialogue. They hooked it up so that I could talk and he could hear it in his headphones. The studio [Warner Bros.] was wanting him to drop a bunch of references to his old movies. But we didn’t want to make it overt or too pointed. We don’t want him to do, like, his “Bill and Ted” voice and beat you over the head with it. And he had great ideas for lines. He was having fun with it.

KEANU will hit theaters on April 29, 2016.

Source: The LA Times



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