Ever since Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key announced the name of Keanu, questions have cropped up about why they’d name their first post-Key & Peele movie (and the adorable, rampage-inspiring kitty contained within) after one of the world’s most bankable action stars. Now, director Peter Atencio has gone on the record about the decision, as well as the revelation that cat-Keanu will not only talk in the movie, but be voiced by his bullet-dodging namesake, Keanu Reeves, in a major coup for the talking cat movie world.
According to a recent L.A Times interview, Atencio says that the movie’s creators wrestled with the question of whether to invite Reeve to take part in the movie, which sees Key and Peele battle gangsters to recover their stolen cat. “We were like, ‘Should we? Is this a good idea?’” Atencio asked. “When John Wick came out, we were kind of like, ‘Oh, my God. This is crazy. There’s a movie that has a very similar process that stars Keanu.’” (For those who haven’t seen it, Wick also centers on an elaborate act of pet-based vengeance.)
Eventually (and with prompting from Warner Bros.), the director floated an offer to Reeves’ management, but was turned down. Apparently, though, the actor’s sister clued him in to the chaotic fun of the movie’s first trailer, at which point Reeves, to quote Atencio, “flipped out” and reached out to the production. He quickly put put himself at their disposal, recording dialogue for a drug hallucination scene via Skype. He also pitched his own lines, because if there are two things Keanu Reeves is good at, it’s improvising talking-cat commentary and shooting guns. Keanu Reeves seems like a pretty cool dude, actually.
Anyway, Keanu, featuring Keanu as Keanu, is set to hit theaters on April 29.