Keanu Reeves on ‘Sad Keanu’ Meme, Prepping for Nerve-Racking ‘Matrix Resurrections’ Stunt

Keanu Reeves sat down with Stephen Colbert and went deep on the new 'Matrix' sequel, the power of nostalgia, stunt prep, memes, and much more.

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The Matrix Resurrections, mercifully, is out later this month. And as we all finally get to experience the revival of the beloved franchise, complete with returning stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, we should probably keep in mind the great lengths the actors went to as part of a particularly daring stunt sequence.

Reeves, who returns as Thomas Anderson/Neo in the new film from director Lana Wachowski, stopped by  the Late Show on Monday night to discuss the “craziest thing” he’s had to do for the Matrix franchise and also reflected on the still-omnipresent “Sad Keanu” meme.

“I’m just eating a sandwich,” Reeves said of the latter around the 2:39 mark in the video above. “Man, I’m eating a sandwich.”

The meme wasn’t brought up out of nowhere, with Colbert broaching the subject due to its apparent reference in Reeves’ and Matt Kindt’s recently launched BRZRKR comic. Continuing, Reeves was asked to clarify whether he was “actually sad” in the famously memed photo, prompting an explanation of how the widely shared pic made its way into the comic.

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“I was thinking,” Reeves explained. “I had some stuff going on. I was hungry. So, life and art. So, that similarity [in the comic]. So, Ron Garney is the amazing artist who’s illustrating and drawing BRZRKR. I didn’t know he was gonna do that but that’s what he did, so I think it’s kinda meta.”

As for why he’s “so memeable,” Reeves didn’t have an answer. “I have no clue, sir, really,” he said around the 4:15 mark before launching into song. “Meme on me, when you’re not strong,” he sang. “And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.”

As for stunt matters, Reeves detailed in the video below a scene in which he and his co-star were tasked with jumping off a building he estimated to be around 46 stories tall. 

“Because it’s Lana Wachowski and it’s the Matrix and you need natural light and you wanna do it real,” he said of the decision to opt for a real-world stunt over more digital means. “I mean, there’s wires. So anyway, yeah. Carrie-Anne and I grabbed hands and we leapt off a building.”

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Around the 1:10 mark, Colbert asked Reeves how many times the two had to perform the building-jumping stunt. “Um, well, we wanted to do it in the perfect light in the morning and so we did it, I would say, around 19, 20 times over the first two days,” he said.

Getting ready for such a task, Reeves said, involved some mental prep work.

“To prepare for something like that, I mean, [Carrie-Anne Moss] speaks a lot about preparing mentally for it and I was doing that too,” he said. “And by the time you get there, I mean, my heart rate was a little raised but then after the first time you can’t think of the fear. You have to, not block it but deal with it, absorb it. And just be there and do. And that’s what we did.”

Elsewhere, Reeves went deep on the impact of nostalgia in anxious times, as well as reaffirmed that he “would love to play” John Constantine again. See more above.

The Matrix Resurrections, also starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jada Pinkett Smith, is in theaters and on HBO Max starting Dec. 22. Revisit the most recent trailer below.

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