Keanu Reeves began his career in Hollywood portraying characters whom few would describe as “profound.”
Yet in the years since, Reeves has earned a reputation as a rather down-to-earth, deep and thoughtful person who defies the stereotypes that made him famous. And his latest appearance on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show on Friday simply reinforces how and why Reeves found his way into our hearts like few, if any, other Hollywood celebrities have.
While making his rounds on late-night talk shows to promote the opening of John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum, Reeves dropped by the show to discuss his career and the filming of the blockbuster action film, as well as the plot of the upcoming new Bill & Ted sequel.
While chatting about the long-awaited sci-fi comedy, where the world faces its demise unless Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) and “Ted” Logan can write one more Wyld Stallyns song, the conversation takes a sudden turn toward philosophy and the fleeting nature of mortality.
The surprisingly reflective discussion takes place near the nine-minute mark:
“It’s the end of the universe” if they can’t write the song, Reeves said. “It’s the end of the time-space continuum.”
“So you’re facing your own mortality and the mortality of all existence. Wow.”
At that point, without warning, the deeply Catholic talk show host steers the conversation into very heavy territory, asking:
“What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?”
At this point, Reeves takes pause to consider the gravity of the question. In typically Keanu fashion, he then delivers a slam-dunk of an answer:
“I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”
For anyone who’s been faced with the death of a loved one, Reeves’ answer is sure to resonate. And so it does for Colbert, who—like Reeves—has had his life shaken by the loss of loved ones. Colbert sits there for a moment, pondering Reeves’ words, before breaking into a broad smile and extending his hand to his guest for a strong handshake.
Suffice it to say, audiences were won over by the exchange.
One online viewer commented:
“That last response was so BEAUTIFUL I had to go back and play it again, and then it made me cry. So beautiful!”
“I didn’t know I could like this man more than I already did.”
And one comment summed up what most of us likely think about Keanu:
“He may not be the best actor there is, but he’s a great dude who makes some great entertainment and, maybe above all, he’s sincere, humble, nice, and generous. There aren’t many in the business who come off as just all around great dudes as much as Keanu does.”
Whether it was his breakout role as an aloof teen headbanger in the 1986 drama River’s Edge, his iconic performance as the airheaded stoner Theodore “Ted” Logan in the Bill & Ted’s films, or his memorable role as a naïve accomplice in the crime thriller Point Break, most of us associate the actor with his iconic line “Whoa,” typically delivered in the gnarly accent of a Southern Californian surfer bro.
Yet Reeves has managed to carve out the reputation of a man who not only isn’t a goofball, but also doesn’t take himself too seriously. He simply hasn’t forgotten what it means to be a human—he hasn’t lost his heart.