Keanu Reeves might be a secret genius

Keanu Reeves is really deep. And complicated. And smart. Well, secretly smart. At least that’s what Details magazine wants you to think. I’m not sure I can buy that from anyone who still says, “Dude” as frequently as Keanu seems to throughout the interview. He has a long interview in the upcoming issue – where he and a Details reporter spend most of their time in a bookstore talking deep stuff. Keanu rattles off a litany of books he loves. And I’ll admit, it’s an impressive list, but there’s something so overly laid back about his approach that it can come off as a little put on.

“He is the opposite of dumb,” says Scott Derrickson, who directed him in December’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. “That is a word that has no application to him. This is not just a director trying to defend his actor and say, ‘No, really, he’s not dumb.’ He’s fiercely intelligent.”… So could it be? Is Keanu Reeves some kind of . . . stealth genius? “I’ve swapped a lot of books with him in the last nine months. He is one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever met,” Derrickson says. “He’s very unpretentious about it. Nobody really knows, and he doesn’t really care that nobody knows.”

No. It becomes clear after 30 seconds of watching Keanu pinball around the aisles of Book Soup that he approaches the printed word as both a glutton and a gourmand: He inhales a lot, and he’s game to order off-menu. He tells me he just finished all of the novels in John Updike’s Rabbit series. “So fantastic,” he says with a reverent hush. I mention another work about suburban crisis, Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, and he rears back and slides the helmet onto his head so that he can free up his left hand. “Oh, YES!!!” he shouts. “Let’s high-five on Revolutionary Road!” We slap palms. This prompts a rumination from Keanu on the primary characters in that book, Frank and April Wheeler, and “the identities that they’re wearing—you know, their authentic self and then their external self and that dialogue that’s going on.”

As we pass Proust, Keanu reveals that he devoured every page of the meticulous colossus that is Remembrance of Things Past. “It took a couple of years, but I did it,” he says. The grin has straightened itself; it’s ear-to-ear now. “I didn’t do the Moncrief, I did the newer translation. Some books would come in between. But I found that it was a thread—like time—that you could walk away and come back to. I didn’t feel like I had lost the momentum of the story at all. It was like meeting a good friend or someone that you like, and you’re like, ‘Hey, dude! How’s it goin’?'”

[From Details]

The article goes on with an analytical discussion of the word “dude,” and an epic trip to a deli for a sandwich that is said to be incredibly good, because, as Keanu notes, “‘I was told that it’s got the shredded lettuce,’ he rhapsodizes. ‘It’s like, you know, a good sandwich.’” Only it is Monday and the deli is closed Mondays, but Keanu has forgotten what day it is until he and the reporter make the 45 minute trip just for this miraculous shredded lettuce-filled sandwich.

The guy is clearly without much pretense, and I think that’s why he doesn’t make a big deal of his love of literature. Combined with his lingering “Bill & Ted”-like persona, it’s hard to take him seriously, but it’s pretty clear he’s actually really smart, and has a deep passion for reading. Not something you hear a lot of celebs talking about unless they’re trying to sound deep. However when you’re reading the article you can tell it’s something real for Keanu. But somehow it’s hard not to get stuck on that shredded lettuce.

Here’s Keanu leaving his home in L.A. on a motorcycle on November 5th. Images thanks to Bauer-Griffin.

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43 Responses to “Keanu Reeves might be a secret genius”

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  1. Kaiser says:

    Well, I do think Keanu is deeper and smarter than his public “DUDE” persona, but I doubt he’s a rocket scientist or anything.

    Mostly he just seems like a nice, quiet, decent guy. *swoon*

    Also: Shredded lettuce? Is it really such a rarity that they have to make a pilgrimage to get a sandwich with shredded lettace?

  2. Shane says:

    I read an autobiography of River Phoenix one time, and there was a section of the book that talked about what a good friend Reeves was. One time River was kind of depressed when he was living in Gainesville Florida, Reeves got on his motorcycle and drove all the way down there from Canada. In February…

  3. geronimo says:

    OMG, he reads books so he’s a genius?? 🙄

    And the ‘shredded lettuce’ sandwich story isn’t helping the genius claim one bit. Apologies to his fans but he sounds as interesting off-screen as he is on-screen.

  4. wow says:

    Keanu really ought to teach a class on how to maintain a private life and still be an A lister – *cough, cough Brangelina, Tomkat.

    If all things personal are off-limits, you wax on about shredded lettuce and remarkable deli sandwiches. Fools them everytime.

  5. Lore says:

    He’s adorable. It’s a plus he’s not dumb.

  6. Megan says:

    He’s hot, what else do we need to know?

  7. clmco says:

    The fact is people have confused Keanu’s “hippiness” for “dumb”-which is way off. If you read the article-which I did-The books he read most of us would never get thru the first page let alone the whole book. I love that he got you naysayers so confused about who he really is. Its fantastic. And yes shredded lettuce is a rarity in California sandwiches .

  8. Syko says:

    We need more shredded lettuce on sandwiches in this world.

  9. vdantev says:

    He’s achieved astonishing popularity and film success in spite of his mediocre acting range. So the boy has something going on.

  10. Dubdub2000 says:

    Since when does reading books make you a genius?

    In that case there are billions of geniuses in this world.

    And this whole nonsense about Proust. Highschool students read Proust too all over the world… 🙄

    I’ve never understood this obsession that journalists have with Keanu’s brain. In every single interview they always talk about the same 3 and half subjects:
    1-Is he dumb? (why they would ask that is beyond me- as Forrest Gump would say “Stupid is as stupid does”)
    2-Why does he not have a girlfriend?
    3-His life is a long tragedy (father jailed, sister dying from cancer, child still born, fiancé killed in car accident, etc)
    1/2-Is he dumb?

    I dont know how he puts up with that shit.
    He’s not the greatest actor on earth but when cast right (see the Matrix & Street Kings) he does a fine job.

    In the end I think its lazy journalism…it’s sad when the national enquirer can regularly “reveal” more about public figures than bona fide “journalists”. Once upon a time Vanity Fair, Details and Rolling Stone magazine were known for their interviews and articles about famous folks, that provided a fair and balanced portrait of the person behind the celebrity mask. Not anymore, the art of the interview is just about dead. Now its all about PR or lazy journalism.

    Sorry about that tirade, but these mazagine folks irritate me and then wonder why no one wants to pay 5 bucks anymore for their rag: cause you can find better crap on blogs! HA!

  11. daisy424 says:

    Thanks for the dose of Keanu.

  12. geekaziod says:

    Hod I have aaaaalways had a crush on thi guy since I saw him in speed.

  13. Maritza says:

    He and Natalie Portman would make a great couple, they both love to read, plus they are actors and very cute.

  14. gia says:

    i am not impressed…lots of people read tons of books, even intellectual ones, and arent that intelligent. just because he read them doesnt mean he understood them….not to say that he is a moron. he could be bright, but genius? doubtful.

  15. Orangejulius says:

    Who cares? He’s insanely hot….Well, I guess I’d rather have a smart hottie than a dumb hottie…

  16. Granger says:

    Genius is a strong word, but I can’t understand why people are still trying to figure out whether or not Keanu is smart. I knew he was smart when he turned down the sequel to Speed. True, not all of his films since then have been stellar, but still, that was a pretty intelligent move.

  17. Shameless Troll says:

    He sure is aging well.

  18. Tess says:

    Good Grief—-it must be such a strain to look as serious as he does. I just want to ask him to chill a bit.

    The smart angle reminds me of all the chatter about Sharon Stone’s “genius” I.Q.

  19. abbizmal says:

    Secret genius? Maybe. But he is definitely HOT! I’d hit it.

  20. Steve in Greensboro says:

    By Hollywood standards, he is not dumb. IQ = 32

  21. Viggolover says:

    just because he says Dude alot doesnt make him dumb and just because he reads doesnt make him a genius.

    He’s hot, he’s a good actor, he seems like an all round nice ‘dude’

    so really, why are they wasting paper on this?

  22. Hollz says:

    *goes to make a sandwich!*

  23. RaraAvis says:

    Give me a piece of duct tape long enough to cover his mouth and I’d do him.

  24. xiaoecho says:

    clmco……..shredded lettuce is a rarity in California? Seriously, I’m shocked. You have to ask them NOT to put it on here. 😯

    …apart from the shredded lettuce thing he gave a chunk of his profits from The Matrix to the little people that worked on the movie. That alone makes him hot.

  25. elisa says:

    What I want to know is where the best sushi in America is 😀

  26. Christina X says:

    I like Keanu Reeves a little bit more.

    Why is it that he can have a private life? He’s a pretty well known actor. You don’t see him crying, “OMG GUYS JUST LEAVE ME ALOOOONE!” and getting all defensive over questions all the time.

    And, yes, I loved Constantine, and Dracula. I also had a vague crush on his characters in those movies.

  27. Larissa says:

    Dubdub2000 : he does have a girlfriend (what difference that makes anyways?)and theres no mention in the article about him being a genious because he reads books! In case none of you noticed! lol

    heres an well rounded guy who has been through a lot in his life and still knows how to separate his private life from his somewhat successful acting career(he is been around for no less than 23 years!!!), period.

  28. Ruby says:

    I officially *love* this man.

  29. Marketa Linden says:

    Hi from Basra, with slow broadband.People read books here, when on base, pornie mags – boys or learn something.Keanu Reeves is smart man who had one semester of Phoenix Uni cos he wanted and he reads enough and he is talkative too much, but dumb?Sure not.If Georgie Porgie Clooney moans his good looks stole his audience’s attention for his work, he is also all time in tabloids, or he was with plenty of women and what he said.Big difference between similar womanriser like Keanu Reeves, he hides what he can.Both are intelligent, good looking, but way of expression towards press is different.Sorry, I don’t kiss ashtrays, but looking on Clooney’s ,staring on goats’, sorry, girls when he tries kiss, and Reeves’s fast I will pull your head out from your neck, how he pressed poor Sandra Bullock, or George Clooney in another movie is really funny.

  30. Ophelia says:

    @ Marketa Linden

    This too, may get lost in translation, but after reading that I’ve concluded.

    I love you.

    Your english is still better than it is in the southern u.s., it’s mangled beyond recognition around here.

  31. Roma says:

    I’ve mentioned it before on here but I’ve spent a lot of time partying with Keanu in Toronto and I think he is one of the nicest, funniest men I’ve ever met. He likes to drink hard but he’s an awesome guy. I’ve talked books with him and he loves to dissect characters; he is a lot deeper than his casual attitude portrays.

    On of my favourite blind items ever (from CDAN) was about Keanu:

    And this blind I was out drinking for:

    Love him. I think anyone who meets him in person does.

  32. jsan says:

    A couple of years ago he was in Tokyo playing with his band. My friend was walking along an alley-way and heard bouncers talking about Keanu being inside. So he got a disposable camera from the convenience store, came back and went in. Sure enough there he was cuddling up to a non-japanese woman and sitting with a bunch of non-japanese. My friend asked Keanu if they could take a photo together and apparently he was really friendly about it and there were half-a-dozen photos. Apparently he was really laid-back and cool – oh and plastered!

  33. kate says:

    i’m not interested in his mind 😉

  34. ff says:

    He’s not stupid. You think his career and how long it’s lasted is a fluke?

    Give the guy some credit for kicking of genres: Speed, The Matrix, My Own Private Idaho – even Bill & Ted all watershed moments.

    He’s iconic.

  35. mark says:

    It would have to be a secret.

  36. JaundiceMachine says:

    I’d spot him a spliff.

  37. wow says:

    That drunk blind vice is questionable. If he was so drunk he couldn’t stand or comprehend what a burrito was, how the F did he manage to ride his motorcycle to the set? I’m not saying he doesn’t drink, but riding a motorcycle in LA traffic requires coordination and alertness. Dontcha think?

  38. aleach says:

    i want keanu. 😆

  39. Samantha says:

    I don’t care what anyone says. He is a great actor, he is absolutely gorgeous, and I bet he is far more intelligent than most movie stars out there. I absolutely love this man! I would have his babies if he would let me. And if my husband would let me.

  40. Jenni says:

    Keanu is gorgeous and seems in touch with his feminine side – an old soul who has been here many times before. God bless him! 🙂

  41. JimmyJohnsonGirl says:

    Keanu is very fasanating,he is quite and live’s his life out of the public eye.He’s an amzing actor and I think losing his girlfriend and there child really pushed him over the egde.

  42. Mugsy says:

    Great cover – he looks all kinds of hot

  43. Danny says:

    Wow. I’m trying to find some dirt on this guy but all I keep reading is that he’s an awesome dude. My friend actually made a website to thank him. The stories are crazy. You’d never expect it from a millionaire hollywood actor.