John Wick 3 and The Matrix actor Keanu Reeves recently declared he was interested in playing Wolverine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Reeves’ interest in the character might make me rethink the list of actors who could take on the role of Wolverine. That list included what I think could be shoe-ins for the role like Scott Eastwood or Kit Harington. However, I also included some odd ones like Walton Goggins and Shia LeBeouf.
Reeves recently spoke to BuzzFeed about his interest in playing Wolverine. He was asked, “if you could choose any superhero or villain to play in the Marvel or DC Comics universe who would it be and why?”
He responded, “I don’t know. When I was a kid, I always wanted to play Wolverine. So Wolverine.”
A Busy Schedule
Keanu Reeves is practically everywhere this year. He recently appeared in the trailer for CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. He just starred in John Wick 3 and Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe. He has an animated voice role in Toy Story 4 and he’s working on a new Bill and Ted movie. Not to mention he will be working on a John Wick: Chapter 4 as well as a TV Mini-Series called Rain. He’s also rumored to play the villain in the upcoming Eternals film.
All I’m trying to say is that it looks like he’s got a full schedule for a while.
If Reeves was going to become Wolverine it’s more than likely Marvel Studios would want to lock up the actor in a long contract to help prevent costs from going overboard. Robert Downey Jr. put on the Iron Man armor for 10+ years. Brie Larson is slated to reprise her role as Carol Danvers for a rumored seven more films. Given the popularity of the Wolverine character and his involvement in other teams in comics, it would be a near-lifetime commitment. That’s not to say Marvel Studios isn’t open to featuring different versions of Wolverine that will allow them a little bit more flexibility. They do seem to be fully embracing the multiverse with Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Reeves has wanted to play the Logan/James Howlett character ever since he was a kid. Back in December, Screen Geek asked him about playing Batman or Wolverine, he responded:
“Of the two, I’d love to play Wolverine. I don’t have another [role I would rather play], to be candid.”
But let’s look at some of the roles Keanu Reeves had over the years. Remember his role as Don John in Much Ado About Nothing? He was also Paul Sutton in A Walk in the Clouds. How about Alex Wyler in The Lake House? Let’s not forget Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
These were not heavy action roles, but roles where the actor was required to dialogue and act the heck out of the scene. However, it was like he was Ted Logan trying to act the part of these characters for these films.
On the flip side, whenever the role requires action-packed sequences and very little dialogue, Reeves shines. Or, when the action moves the story along and the progression of the character is through the action. John Wick is a brilliant example. His iconic role of Neo in The Matrix is another. Then you look at his character in Point Break as Johnny Utah. And Johnny Mnemonic, which to be honest was his gateway into playing Neo.
Playing Wolverine would be an action-filled role to be sure. But given Keanu’s acting presence, I believe his portrayal of Wolverine’s character depth would be lacking. For all that James Howlett is, the character is more than just shiny claws and cigars throwing down with a random baddie of the week. Howlett has an unrequited love for Jean Grey. Logan has watched his loved ones get killed by villains over the years: Mariko, Silver Fox, Charlemagne, Atsuko, Itsu, Rose O’Hara. He’s been tortured, but lived longer than most humans. Brainwashed, yet survives to see the end days.
As we saw in Logan there is a deeper character that Hugh Jackman was able to bring out on screen. It’s really the first time we get to see this version of James Howlett in live-action. And it was beautiful. For it to digress into something less that what it was for the first X-Men film would be a step backward for the character.
But what do you think about casting the role of Wolverine to Keanu Reeves? Does he have the acting chops to fill the role? What about his age? He’s been good with guns, but can he do the stabby-hand-knives of the Wolverine well enough? Sound off in the comments below or let’s talk about it on social media!