Keanu Reeves is one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, having worked on hit movies such as The Matrix, John Wick, and Speed. However, despite his tendency to pick banging roles, there was one Academy Award-winning film that Reeves surprisingly turned down – the 1986 war movie Platoon.
Platoon is the first of filmmaker Oliver Stone’s cinematic trilogy detailing the horrors and stories of the Vietnam War. Based on the director’s own personal experiences as a US infantryman during the time period, Platoon follows Stone’s fictional alter ego (played by Charlie Sheen) going through harrowing experiences and gut-wrenching loss. The film won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is often praised for its realistic battle sequences and powerful performances.
However, in a past interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stone revealed that Sheen wasn’t his first choice for the leading role of Chris Taylor. In fact, Tinseltown’s sweetheart and viral ‘good guy’ Keanu Reeves was considered for the part, but ultimately turned down the shot to lead the acclaimed flick.
“Keanu turned it down because of the violence,” Stone said. “He didn’t want to do violence.” Apart from Reeves, Kyle MacLachlan, and Johnny Depp were supposedly considered at some point for the part of Chris. But, ultimately, the role went to Sheen, who Stone clarified turned out to be the best man for the part.
“Charlie was a dumb-struck 17-year-old the first time he came in for the film, back when we were going to make it in ’84. And in those two years, he’d grown and seemed perfectly wide-eyed and had a vaguely privileged look,” he explained.
“I think he did a great job. He was perfect for the movie. He conveys the horror of the place. I like his performance.”
Reeves’s aversion to violent roles during his early career, in retrospect, is now somewhat ironic. The actor has since starred in many R-rated flicks such as Point Break, Speed, and of course, the science fiction movie The Matrix. And, let’s not forget he is the face of the action-packed and bullet-happy John Wick franchise too.
While a war movie is a very intense brand of violence steeped in realism, it is curious to think if given the chance now, would Reeves make the same decision to skip the project.
Fans can next see Reeves in the upcoming thriller movie John Wick: Chapter 4, which is set to hit theatres on March 24, 2023.