It Looks Like 2019 Is The Year Of Keanu Reeves
As actor Keanu Reeves blows out the candles on his 55th birthday today, let's hope that he's not only taking a well-deserved break from being one of Hollywood's biggest names - kicking back with a nice, big steak and a whisky, perhaps - but also basking in the glory of what has been a truly incredible year.
In fact, Reeves has played such a blinder over the past 12 months or so, that fans have even dubbed 2019 the 'Keanussance'.
While his work as an actor has always been praised, more recently he's started to get more credit for generally being a top bloke, and that he's a very special man who must be protected at all costs.
For starters, there was this delightful exchange with a heckler at the 2019 E3 games expo in Los Angeles earlier this year:
The actor has also been the subject of much praise over on Twitter recently, where people have started sharing anecdotes of his altruism to prove just how great a guy he is - like the time where Reeves bought an ice cream he didn't want, just so he could sign his autograph on the receipt for a 16-year-old kid.
He was also widely praised for not laying his hands on women whenever they ask for a picture with the John Wick star. Such a gentleman and respecter of physical boundaries.
But where's all this recent attention come from? Sure, there's no denying it's deserved, but he hardly a new kid on the block. Keanu is a seasoned star with movie credits stretching back across three decades.
Keanu had his breakthrough in acting back in the late 80s and early 90s, when he starred in films like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (and its 1990 sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey), Parenthood, Point Break and My Own Private Idaho.
Following his turn as Jack Traven in 1994's Speed, which proved to be something of a career high for the 54-year-old, he went on to star in the likes of The Devil's Advocate, Something's Gotta Give and Constantine.
Oh, and then there's small matter of the Matrix trilogy, which saw the Beirut-born actor turn his central role of Neo into something truly iconic.
What we're currently experiencing isn't a new-found appreciation of Keanu - more of a celebration of his general awesomeness.
What we have on our hands is being dubbed the 'Keanussance' - the 'Neo-Classical Period', as my colleague put it.
So lucky to be alive during the keanussance
- Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro) June 9, 2019
I'm calling this era we live in the Keanussance.
- BrokenFiction (@BrokenFiction) June 10, 2019
This year is to Keanu Reeves as 2013-2014 was to Matthew McConaughey.
We're out of the McConaissance and we've now entered... the Keanussance.
- J. E-D (@HebrewHeMan) June 10, 2019
I'm glad I lived long enough to be around for the Keanussance. https://t.co/5DJlY6nHCy
- Adam Hughes (@AH_AdamHughes) June 10, 2019
Of course, the Keanu Reeves-vival mostly stems from the fact that this year, the dude has appeared in serveral big titles, including John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellu; Netflix film Always Be My Maybe and, of course, Toy Story 4.
He'll also reprise his legendary role as Theodore 'Ted' Logan in next year's Bill & Ted Face The Music, along with video game Cyberpunk 2077.
Basically, he's pretty much everywhere - but the hype arguably reaches further than his acting credits, as Keanu generally seems like an absolute top geezer.
He's managed to battle through something of a difficult past, which has involved not only a tough childhood with an absent father, but also the tragic overdose of co-star and friend River Phoenix, the miscarriage of his daughter and, later, the death of ex-girlfriend Jennifer Syme.
Known for being polite - almost shy - in interviews, it looks as though Keanu has managed to maintain a grounded, fairly elusive life despite being one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
"I think actors and actresses are maybe a little more private than other celebrities," he told Esquire in an interview a couple of years ago.
"I don't know. I'm a pretty private person. But I don't have anything to tweet, or say, or anything."
And when he's not busy telling crowds of people that they're 'breathtaking' at games expos, he's also quietly giving loads of his money away and working with charities.
Along with manning phones at Stand up to Cancer telethons and supporting PETA, over the years he's also been harbouring a 'private foundation' that helps aid children's hospitals and cancer research - something he doesn't ask to be associated with.
"I don't like to attach my name to it," Keanu said in a Ladies Home Journal article from 2009, according to Snopes.
"I just let the foundation do what it does."
Other stories relay Keanu buying his mum a house, gifting Harley Davidsons for stunt crews on The Matrix, and taking pay cuts so that films could hire other actors, as he reportedly did for Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate.
Whether those are all true or not, it seems Keanu really is as generous and humble as we'd like to believe - having previously admitted to Hello back in 2003 that he could easily live on what he's already made 'for the next few centuries'.
"Money is the last thing I think about," he said.
We're all thinking it: Keanu for president?
Happy birthday, fella!
Featured Image Credit: PA