Keanu Reeves obviously took the title of his movie “Something’s Got to Give” very literally.
However, the actor, who is said to have made upwards of $315 million as the hero of The Matrix films and the John Wick trilogy, is “somewhat embarrassed” that he has accumulated so much wealth in his 37-year career.
A family member told The Washington Post, “Keanu’s given away a lot of money and done a lot more for people than most will ever know. He knows how lucky he is. Unlike many Hollywood mega stars, he never takes any of this for granted.”
Although Reeves’ spokesperson denied a December story that he contributed 70% of his pay from the first “The Matrix” film to cancer research, he remains one of Hollywood’s most generous actors, lavishing gifts on coworkers, food-service personnel, his family, and charity.
“Keanu’s infamous for his generosity,” a Hollywood producer remarked, citing a report that the actor gave a $20,000 bonus to a “Matrix” set builder after learning of the crew member’s financial difficulties.
Many of the individuals with whom Reeves works benefit from his generosity.
When The Matrix Reloaded ended filming last November, members of the stunt team were given Harley-Davidson motorcycles, while his partners on John Wick: Chapter 4 were given Rolex Submariner watches.
According to his sister Kim, Reeves’ kindness has earned him the moniker “prince.”
He is one of the top performers to work with, according to another Hollywood insider.
“Trust me, stunt guys are all dying to work with Keanu. Not just for the gifts. It’s because he takes them so seriously and credits them with helping contribute to his success. Stuntmen, fight trainers — these people rarely get that.”
“The reason Keanu’s starred in 60 movies is that, on top of audiences, directors love him, co-stars love him, crews love him,” a casting director noted. “He’s always prepared, he’s always on time. Considerate, communicative, caring — there’s no one whose name he doesn’t know or hasn’t had a conversation with.”
Surprisingly, all that light and enthusiasm stems from a sad history, with sources claiming that a large part of Keanu’s desire to share the wealth stems from his own losses.
Reeves grew up with an absent father who was incarcerated for drug use. In 1993, he lost his best buddy River Phoenix to a heroin overdose.
Jennifer Syme, his then girlfriend, gave birth to their daughter a month early in 1999, but the baby, called Ava, was stillborn. The couple’s relationship was strained by the tragedy, and they split up soon after, only to reconnect in 2001.
Syme died after wrecking her Jeep while inebriated.
“If Ava’s death wasn’t devastating enough, he’d considered Jennifer his soulmate,” a friend remarked. “He had some seriously dark days after that.”
This series of catastrophes not only changed Reeves’ life, but they also affected his creativity, leading him to play the titular heartbroken assassin in the John Wick movie. According to the casting director:
“He really related to that character, passionately motivated by loss — of his father when he was a kid, of River, of his child, of a woman he spent several years with.”