How Keanu Reeves Inspired 'Keanu'

by Anna Klassen

He's a well-known action star, he's a man who seemingly doesn't age, and now, his name inspired a movie about a kitten. So what does the original Keanu, Keanu Reeves, think about Keanu , the film? According to Keegan Michael Key, one half of the comedic duo who stars in the film, the actor has been "wonderfully supportive."

"We know he knows about it," Key says. "When we released the redband trailer, his sister apparently enjoyed it very much, and she sent him the link. He was interviewed recently in Canada, and he said, 'I love those guys, they're wacky.' I was like, 'I've never heard him say the word wacky, that's great. He just said the word wacky!'"

Reeves told Entertainment Tonight in April: "I was like, 'Fellas, don't you want to change the name?' I have friends showing me pictures like, 'Look at the cat! And there's you!' I keep writing back, 'Wacky.'"

The film surrounds two friends, played by Key and Jordan Peele, who go on a mission to find their newly adopted cat, Keanu, but their simple plan turns outlandish when the duo end up posing as gangsters in a street gang. And while the film involves plenty of violence — they're surrounded by gangsters, after all — Keanu the kitten is always far from harm's reach.

"I think the first rule of any entertainment is if you hurt an animal, you've lost the audience," Peele, who co-wrote the script with Key & Peele writer Alex Rubens, says. "We wanted this to be a fun, feel good movie. We like pushing the envelope and walking the line of what's appropriate, but you've got to take care of Keanu."

"If you hurt an animal, you better do it in the first ten minutes of the movie, and then it better be a bloody revenge story called John Wick," Key adds, referencing the 2014 Keanu Reeves film.

While sweet, purring Keanu is the catalyst of the protagonists' adventure, the pair's desire to adopt Keanu isn't alone. Everyone — from murderous gangsters to drug cartel lords — wants Keanu to be theirs, and therein lies the conflict.

"Keanu is the Helen of Troy," Key says. "There weren't a bunch of people sitting in a room saying, 'Let's put the animal in the most amount of danger possible!' He's seldom in danger past the beginning of the film. Everybody reveres him. Nobody wants him to get hurt."

And these feelings of admiration for the fictional cat translate to the same warm and fuzzy feelings for the actual actor of the same name, according to the comedic pair. "The moment I had the idea to make him a kitten, he was Keanu," Peele says of naming the animal. "Let's make him an iconic kitten. Something about that just kind of worked: the alliteration, the fact that there's only one other Keanu out there — now there's a second one, and now hopefully the more relevant one. Obviously, we're Keanu fans."

See the drop dead adorable kitten — who will surely give the real Keanu a run for his money — when Keanu hits theaters April 29.

Images: Giphy; Giphy