June 13, 2010

Keanu Anew

I've never been a fan of Keanu Reeves.   For the most part, I've never really been a fan of his filmwork, primarily because his acting is sub-par at best.   The films I have enjoyed him in, The River's Edge, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and The Matrix he's either playing a stoner, a dumb kid or a someone totally astonished all the time.   That's the problem.  No matter what role he plays, he comes across as a dumb, stoned person who's mind is constantly blown by everything he sees.   This means that some pretty decent movies, like Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula or The Devil's Advocate get dragged down every time Keanu appears on screen.  But I just learned something - that actually happened years ago but I never heard about - that completely changes my outlook.  While I still think he's an actor with incredibly limited range; I've become a much bigger fan of the person.   Shortly after wrapping the Matrix trilogy, Reeves had become wealthy well beyond even his wildest dreams.  He had negotiated a deal that gave him fifteen percent of the gross of the movies on top of his lofty salary and when those movies churned out hundreds of millions of dollars, Reeves income entered the stratosphere.  Hollywood has shown us that anyone can become a mega-millionaire regardless of talent, ability or worthiness, so what's really interesting is not who gets the millions but rather, what they do with them.  And what Reeves decided to do with his windfall is really truly amazing.

Reeves chunk of the Matrix trilogy netted him just over $101 million (excluding his actual salary) and he soon determined that money was now something that he had more of then he would ever need. "Money is the last thing I think about.  I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries," he said back in 2003 after wrapping Matrix Revolutions, the third and final installment in the series.  Reeves identified who he felt were the "unsung heroes" of the Matrix triology, people primarily made up of the special effects and wardrobe departments, and he divided up $76 million of his money.  When he was done, he had made 29 staffers multi-millionaires over night by giving each of them a little over $2.6 million.  This act of generosity on his behalf is truly staggering; and it really changes the way I see the man.

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