From Bowfinger to X-Men: The films Keanu Reeves almost starred in

Keanu Reeves cashed in with The Matrix but he’s not always been on the money.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix
Neo The Matrix Image Picture Warner Bros

Ever since announcing himself as a Hollywood star in the brilliant Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Keanu Reeves has followed his own path, bouncing from blockbuster to indie film, box office gold to quickly forgotten flop.

Rarely typecast and always fascinating, Reeves’ career is choc full of memorable filmic highlights but what many fans don’t realise is that he came close to starring in a hell of a lot of other notable releases from over the years – here are just 10 for starters.


Bowfinger (1999)

Steve Martin’s wrote the film with Reeves in mind for Kit Ramsey. Having worked together on Parenthood, Martin envisioned the role going to an established action star like Reeves. It was producer Brian Glazer who convinced him to cast Eddie Murphy.


The Doors (1991)

Val Kilmer may have ultimately been cast as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s wandering biopic but Reeves was very much in the running for the part and read for the role on several occasions. It would not be the last time he crossed paths with Kilmer.


The Fly II (1989)

Keen to follow-up on the success of the Jeff Goldblum body horror classic, producers approached Reeves about starring in a film focusing on Brundlefly’s son. He ultimately rejected their overtures though, amid concerns over the script. Good call.


Heat (1995)

Reeves was original offered the role of Chris Shiherlis in Michael Mann’s moody crime classic but passed on the project in order to perform in a Canadian production of Hamlet. He was eventually replaced by…yep, you guessed it, Val Kilmer.


Platoon (1986)

Evidently on Oliver Stone’s radar from a young age, Reeves was actually approached to play the part that Charlie Sheen landed in this Vietnam epic. He said no though, citing the violence as his primary concern. This from the guy who did The Matrix.


Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

Though it seems hard to believe, there was a time when Reeves was keen on the idea of a Speed sequel. But after reading the cruise ship-set script, he got cold feet and not even the offer of a $12 million paycheck could convince him otherwise. A smart move in hindsight.


Speed Racer (2008)

Reeves had the chance to reunite with the Wachowskis for this big screen version of the popular game/cartoon series, in the role of Racer X. It was a no again though, with Matthew Fox stepping into the part and Reeves eventually breathing a huge sigh of relief.


Tropic Thunder (2008)

As with Bowfinger, the original Tropic Thunder was a very different prospect with Ben Stiller envisioning Reeves in the role of Tugg Speedman. When Keanu said no Stiller, who had previously planned to appear as Speedman’s agent, stepped into the main role.


Watchmen (2009)

Constantine remains Reeves’ only comic book movie to date but it could have been so different had he taken up Zack Snyder’s offer to play Dr Manhattan. This time round however it was scheduling conflicts, rather than the script, that prompted it.


X-Men (2000)

Reeves has always wanted to play the role of Wolverine but, despite lobbying for the role, was overlooked in favour of Dougray Scott who would ultimately drop out of the project to be replaced by a certain Hugh Jackman.

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