- “John Wick” star Keanu Reeves was told his name was “too ethnic” at the start of his career.
- The star said he nearly changed his name to Casey Reeves.
- Reeves recalled the experience during a recent episode of the “SmartLess” podcast.
Keanu Reeves has collected a number of iconic roles under his belt over the last 30 years, starring in the likes of “Bill and Ted,” “Speed,” and “The Matrix,” to name a few.
Audiences are currently lavishing praise on the star for his return as the titular stoic assassin in Chad Stahelski’s “John Wick: Chapter 4,” in which he goes up against new characters played by Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgård.
Because of his lengthy career, Reeves has also looked back on the past during the “John Wick” press tour, and during a recent appearance on the “SmartLess” podcast, he recalled what it was like when he first started acting in the mid-1980s.
During the interview, Reeves revealed how his agents at the time asked him to change his name because it was “too ethnic.”
Reeves said: “I got my first car when I was 20, and I drove to Hollywood. Of course, when I got here, they wanted to change my name. Yeah, they were like, ‘Keanu, it’s too ethnic.'”
He added that he was pretty annoyed about the remark, saying: “I remember I had driven across the country and I remember they told me… I was driving up and down along the beach in Santa Monica going, ‘What the fuck?'”
The “Point Break” and “Constantine” actor said he tried a different name using the initials of his first and middle name: Keanu Charles.
Reeves explained: “I was like, ‘OK, well, what’s my name going to be?’ And I was like, ‘Templeton?’ So, eventually, I came up with my first and middle initial, so I was Casey Reeves. Oh, my god.”
However, the Canadian star said the name didn’t stick because he didn’t even respond to it during auditions.
He said: “But then I had auditions and they’d be like, ‘Casey?’ and I like wouldn’t even look up. Eventually, I went back to my agents and I was like, ‘I can’t change my name.'”
“One of the first plays I ever did, I was playing John Procter and one of the lines is like, ‘Because it is my name, because I can have no other,’ and that was just running through my head,” Reeves added.
Reeves previously opened up about changing his name for Hollywood when appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” five years ago.
The actor explained that he did some soul-searching by the ocean to figure out a new name.
He said: “I go to the ocean, because this is a big deal for me, right? It’s my name. It’s my name!”
Reeves then joked that the ocean gifted him a new name: “Chuck Spadina!”
Reeves pointed out that his managers weren’t impressed, and that he tried again with Templeton Page-Taylor, but they didn’t go for that either.