The first feature film from Key & Peele stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, titled Keanu, already looked like a lot of fun, following two men trying to retrieve a stolen kitten.
And of course the first thing you think of when you read the title is Keanu Reeves. So finding out Reeves actually voices a cat in the movie makes it all the more amusing. Thought this wasn’t always the plan. In fact, it wasn’t until Reeves actually saw a trailer for the movie that he reached out to see if he could help out at all.
You can read the story below.
Keanu director Peter Atencio talked to the LA Times about how the collaboration came to be. They first asked Atencio if the plan was always to have Reeves involved:
“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 seem like we were making a John Wick parody. But the studio kept asking, ‘Can we get Keanu? Can we get Keanu?'”
But when they first approached Reeves about doing it, his people said no:
“Yeah, they politely declined. Who knows if he ever even heard about the offer. But then we got a call after the trailer came out “” apparently, his sister showed him the trailer and said, ‘Hey, you gotta see this. You’re gonna love this!’ He flipped out and got in touch with us directly to say ‘If there’s anything I can do, let’s make this work.'”
But before anything could happen Reeves understandably wanted to talk to Atencio to make sure the movie wasn’t making fun of the actor at all:
“He wanted to talk to me before he agreed to make sure that wasn’t the case. So I told him about the movie and talked him through the story. His personality has just transcended life, in a lot of ways. You wouldn’t have ever guessed that the guy from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure would turn out to be this thoughtful, kind man.”
After he agreed to join the movie, it just came down to setting it all up:
“Well, 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. He is credited in the end credits, but those weren’t ready at SXSW.”
You can read more about where Reeves comes into play during the movie and if the movie ever explains why the cat was named after him over at the LA Times.