If there’s one thing that at least a lot of people are generally happy to agree on, it’s that Keanu Reeves has always been a pretty great guy.
After overcoming tragic losses early in life, many have been amazed that Keanu has kept on and continued to produce work that brings so much joy to the lives of his fans.
It turns out that Keanu’s “I’m a good guy” vibe is just genuine and real. In a recent interview, Winona Ryder opened up about how great Keanu is. She claims that while filming Bram Stoker’s Dracula, director Francis Ford Coppola encouraged Winona’s male costars to yell misogynistic and sexist slurs at her to get her to cry.
Because, I guess, maybe he believed that the only way to get a professional actress to do her job is to be mean to her?
Winona says that Francis himself started yelling at her, and he encouraged Anthony Hopkins, Keanu, and Richard E. Grant to join in. Except they’re all decent dudes, and they weren’t having it.
Winona explained, “To put it in context I’m supposed to be crying. Literally, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu … Francis was trying to get all of them to yell things that would make me cry, but Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t. … It just didn’t work. I was, like, really? It kind of did the opposite.”
Francis Ford Coppola has spoken out and issued a flat denial of Winona’s claims. “While I think Winona is a wonderful actor, the incident she described is not how it happened, and shouting or abusing people isn’t something I do as a person or as a filmmaker.”
He continued, “In this situation, which I remember clearly, I instructed Gary Oldman — in character as Dracula — to whisper improvised words to her and the other characters, making them as horrific and evil as he could. I don’t know what was said, but improvisation is a common filmmaking practice.”
Gary Oldman hasn’t commented on the event, so right now it’s just coming down to Winona’s and Francis Ford Coppola’s very different memories. It’s worth noting that the director chose to sidestep the entire event by placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Gary Oldman.
Keanu and Winona have been friends since working together, and they even costarred in Destination Wedding in 2018. Keanu had all lovely things to say. “Winona is a lovely person and a talented actress. I think we make a good couple, and I liked that it’s a two-hander. To them, nobody else matters anyway, right? We did something like five eight-minute scenes, which you don’t often get a chance to do in films.”
Keanu really is notorious for being an awesome guy. There are numerous forums on Reddit devoted only to sharing stories about how great he is. One person shared a great story about how their mom’s determination helped them all meet Keanu in Paris:
“I was on vacation with my family in Paris and we had just climbed the Eiffel Tower. When we came back down my mom swore she saw Keanu go into a trailer nearby and she got super excited. She went and knocked on the trailer door (to much protest and embarrassment on our part), and a man that was definitely not Keanu came out. My mom asked if Keanu was in the trailer and he said yes but Mr. Reeves had had a long day of filming and was very tired. And then Keanu comes out and is like ‘No no it’s fine, always nice to see some friendly faces’. And then he says, in the coolest and chillest manner which my mom quotes to this day and has become a joke within our family— ‘How’s that jet lag treatin you?’— just dripping with swagger. He was incredibly nice to us and down to earth and took a picture and even signed a random piece of paper from our hotel.”
Another fan shared their own Keanu-is-great story:
“My boyfriend works next to Gold Coast Studios and they were filming part of John Wick 3 there. Keanu has a trailer, and every time he’d come or go from set, or come out and smoke a cigarette, he’d take a minute or three and take pictures with the employees at my boyfriend’s office who would be out there trying to get a glimpse of him. My boyfriend, knowing how much of a fan I am, tried for days to get a picture of him but kept missing him. Then one day, he and co-worker ‘Elle’ were the only two out there and they were told that Keanu wasn’t coming out. As they were walking away, suddenly there he is!”
“They hurry over, calling his name. Boyfriend said that the poor guy looked utterly exhausted and just DONE. At that point he’d been filming for about 7 hours and apparently it was a lot of action sequences. It was also one of the last days he was going to be on set there. At first he kept walking and very clearly didn’t want to be bothered by fans, and Boyfriend and Elle were turning around to leave him be when he stopped, Keanu waves them over, and let’s them each take a picture with him. He didn’t say much, but the fact that he stopped at all when he so clearly just wanted to go inside and just finish his day but did a picture instead was just so cool of him.”
Keanu himself even added to his own stories of greatness when he joined Reddit one afternoon six years ago for an “Ask Me Anything” session. One fan asked him to give a fun fact that a lot of people don’t know, and he offered a great one:
“For a long time in Los Angeles when I first moved there, when I was 20 years old, it was such a new world and so I saw some guys at a gas station once who had hockey equipment in their car, and I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were playing street hockey, so I asked them if I could play. So I became involved in a street hockey game that took place every weekend for over 10 years, every weekend, red versus black. We would take holidays off and sometimes summers, but the game was going on for over 10 years. That was cool to be a part of. It was a cool thing to have happen. Made some friends.”
And whatever did or didn’t happen on the set of Dracula, Winona has also shared that she and Keanu might actually be married. No, really. “We actually got married in Dracula. No, I swear to God, I think we’re married in real life.”
It turns out that an actual Roman Catholic priest was used in the film, and he performed a real ceremony. Keanu said it could be true. “Once in a while, I will get a text: ‘Hello, husband.’ I didn’t really believe her, and then Francis Ford Coppola, the director of Dracula, contacted Winona and said publicly that, yeah, that really happened, the priest did a full ceremony, and Winona and I got married.”