Keanu Reeves and Drew Barrymore haven’t been in a lot of the same movies, and after seeing them in conversation, you might find yourself asking why the hell they don’t do more work together. Promoting the release of The Matrix Resurrections, Reeves appeared as a guest this week on The Drew Barrymore Show. The host related a story from their past, and Reeves’ reaction was powerful.
Early in their conversation, Drew Barrymore brings up a memory from her 16th birthday. She said she was marking the occasion at a club in Los Angeles when Keanu Reeves showed up, took Barrymore’s hand, brought her outside, and took her for an — in Barrymore’s words — “irresponsibly fast” ride on his motorcycle. Barrymore says the memory has a special place in her heart, describing it as “this moment where I just remember loving life and being so happy and I hold it so dear because the older we get, the harder it is to get to that feeling.” Barrymore gets out of her seat and skips as she walks, describing how wonderful she felt re-entering the club after the memorable ride. You can watch the clip below.
Keanu Reeves’ reaction to the tale is at first surprise, but eventually goes to a very profound place. When Drew Barrymore — who doesn’t remember the name of the club — tells Reeves the area of L.A. they were in, a mischievous grin appears and he says, “we probably went fast.” He laughs, gives a quick Shaka hand gesture, and continues, “if we were on third at night, yeah, we could get on it.”
After telling the story of when she felt the most free — in fact, the moment when she understood “what freedom is” — Barrymore asked Keanu Reeves if he’d experienced a similar moment. The actor’s response is both contemplative and powerful — powerful enough that he seems a little emotional by the end of it. Reeves says he has “a few” things that give him the freedom Barrymore describes, but since he’s there to promote a film, he decides to focus on acting.
Keanu Reeves turns the clock back to his teenage self when he realized he wanted to be an actor. He mentions doing school plays, and specifically brings up playing Mercutio in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. When it came to acting, Reeves says, “that sense of being free was play — like, it was fun. It was fun.” He points to what he sees as delightful contradictions in acting, calling it “Make believe, but reality” and “it’s private, it’s public, it’s together.”
“I love what happens after someone says ‘action,'” Keanu Reeves tells Barrymore. After the word is said, Reeves muses, everything is “in the moment.” He clarifes that yes, actors have lines prepared and their characters’ histories are at the forefront of their thoughts, but what happens when the camera rolls is still “in the moment.” Reeves reaches a point of unbelievable giddiness talking about it. He continues, “that moment of ‘action,’ or ‘let’s begin'” — after the word “begin,” Reeves lets out a literal “hee hee” as if someone had tickled him from behind. Perhaps it’s just our imagination, but just as Reeves begins talking about his gratitude, the guy seems just a little choked up.
You can watch Keanu Reeves enjoying that sense of play right now. The Matrix Resurrections released today both in theaters and on HBO Max. In the fourth film of the series, Reeves is joined by Carrie-Ann Moss, Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Matteen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Christina Ricci, and more.