Everyone loves Keanu Reeves these days. Here's the thing. Keanu has been in the game for years. Probably longer than surfers have said "whoa"...maybe not that long, but a long time. Along the way, Keanu has played many, many characters. Neo, Neo again, Neo once more, Ted "Theodore" Logan, Ted again...you get it. What Keanu has been doing under the radar that I find fascinating is...he has played a character named John a whopping 11 times over the span of his career.
Is it because he has one of the most unique names around and he just wants to have the most common name in all of history? Is it just a coincidence? Is it a DaVinci Code that can only be deciphered by Tom Hanks with a mullet?
Let's just take a minute to go through Keanu's John Filmography, shall we:
First, the obvious...
John Wick: Chapter 4 The Wickening (Not the actual title, but what if it was? What if it was?)
This is the most current and most obvious example to everyone and your grandma. Keanu Reeves is John Wick and John Wick is Keanu Reeves. If they (who is "they"?) try to reboot this series in ten years with Nick Jonas it will fail. Actually, probably not. We'll all go see it to complain about it and end up probably liking it, but let's just enjoy what we have now, shall we?
A video game with Keanu as a John. Johnny Silverhand to be exact. Did the world freak out when Keanu was revealed in the trailer for the game? Sure did. We'll all buy it. Ninja will beat it in 2 hours.
Ummm, I never saw this one with Keanu playing another John. Sorry, I need to get outside every so often to get some sweet sweet Vitamin D. I know. I'm surprised, too. Them's the brakes. Health over another movie with Keanu playing a character named John. That said, I'll watch it later this week.
I don't get why people hate on this film with Keanu playing John Constantine. Sure, it gets boring, but then eventually stuff happens and if you wait for it - SPOILERS - Tilda Swinton shows up as Gabriel the Archangel and steals the whole movie. Then Peter Stromare as the Devil...come on, people. Revisit "Constantine" and you'll be surprised you haven't shown this movie the respect it deserves even though John Constantine doesn't have blonde hair like he does in the comics.
I feel like people sleep on Johnny Mnemonic. Sure, it's not The Matrix, and it is very outdated....but it's AWESOME! First, Keanu is another John character. He's Johnny Mnemonic if you didn't know. You knew that, right? I hope. Henry Rollins as a scientist. Dolph Lundgeron as a Jesus freak. Kung Fu. Ice-T acting like Ice-T but in the far off future of 2021. Go watch Johnny Mnemonic!
I'm counting this one where Keanu plays Don John because...why not? Keanu plus Shakespeare...yeah, it happened.
Side Note: Anyone else think Don Johnson should do a one man show as Don John just so there can be a Playbill with "Don Johnson is Don John in Don John: The One Man Show Starring Don Johnson"? INTERNET, ASSEMBLE!
Keanu as Jonathan Harker faces off against Bram Stoker's Dracula in a film by the legendary director of Jack, Francis Ford Coppola. Gold, people, gold!
Another Side Note: Did you ever see the movie Jack? That is a weird, weird movie.
And finally, the Keanu Reeves John masterpiece that is...
Keanu plays Special Agent Johnny Utah who is...an...FBI...Agent! Kathryn Bigelow's Bromance Action Cinematic Masterpiece not only drove up sales of Ronald Reagan masks, but also solidified Keanu's on screen surfer persona that he's embraced all the way to bank...that was then robbed by the Ex Presidents, but then he went undercover as a surfer and got it all back. My nose is bleeding.
All of the times Keanu played a character named Jack.
Jock is the Scottish form of the name John. Its similarity to the common John derivative or nickname Jack is apparent. ... However, during medieval times, the name John was altered slightly in the Germanic tongues to Jankin or Jackin. Out of that, we get the nickname Jack.
And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
Pop quiz, hot shot. Keanu plays Jack Travern in Speed and he has obvious chemistry with his co-star, Sandra Bullock, so what does he do? What does he do?! They star together again years later in the film The Lake House.
Yep, this exists. Keanu and Drew Barrymore in a version of Babes in Toyland. It's streaming on Amazon Prime. You can watch John Wick before John Wick as he plays Jack Fenton/Jack-be-Nimble in Babes in Toyland and see how much things have changed and how much has stayed the same...or, you know, don't.
Honorable Honorable Mention
Keanu plays a character named Jjaks Clayton. I think this was the screenwriter just feeling witty, but that's his name in the film and now it exists.
This never talked about film was produced by Jersey Films...you know, Pulp Fiction? Did you know that's Danny DeVito? Did you? Yes, Danny DeVito produced Pulp Fiction.
So what does it all mean? What is Keanu's draw to characters named John? Why is this worth a long drawn out post? Why is Duke Kaboom so awesome in Toy Story 4? I don't know, but I'm fascinated. So, I guess the only thing we can do as we wait for Keanu to play a John in John Wick Chapter 4: The Wickening is...
Oh yeah, and if you want to see a random painting I made of Keanu check it out HERE!
And then just for the WHOA of it, I found this Keanu Ornament that should bring holiday cheer for all of the land to hear! And you can get it by clicking below.
Pop Quiz, hot shot. You CLICKED HERE for a Keanu Ornament, now what do you do? What do you do?