Keanu Reeves Turns 47: Five Fun Facts You (Probably) Didn't Know About Him

From giving away gobs of money to his soda-commercial breakthrough, fast facts about the erstwhile Neo that'll make you say, “Whoa …”

 

For the amount of time that he's been in the spotlight, Keanu Reeves has managed to retain a remarkable amount of privacy. Charming but evasive in interviews, unwilling to court the paparazzi's flashbulbs for the sake of extended publicity, the "Speed" star has maintained an almost Sphinx-like aura of mystery.

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But despite Reeves' best efforts to remain enigmatic, a few details about the actor have managed to slip out.

As the actor prepares to turn 47 on Friday, let's look at a few little-known facts.

5) He's Extremely Generous
Rather than wring every dime he could out of the popular "Matrix" movie series, Reeves signed away his back-end deal for the two sequels to the films' special-effects and costume-design teams — an act of benevolence that cost him many millions.

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And it's far from the only time he's taken a financial hit in the name of his art — Reeves lowered his salary by a few million dollars for 1997's "The Devil's Advocate" so that producers could afford to bring Al Pacino on board as well.

"Money is the last thing I think about," Reeves has said. "I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries."

4) He's a Coke Man
Before "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" — before even "River's Edge" — Reeves built up his acting resume with a Coca-Cola commercial. Reeves, then 16, played a bicycle racer whose winning spirit is bolstered by the sugary, carbonated beverage. Watch him take the pause that refreshes in the video.

3) He's Ambidextrous
Though left-handed, Reeves played bass with his bands Dogstar and Becky in a right-handed manner. Despite this seeming advantage, neither band made much of an impression in the music world.

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2) He's Picky

"The Gift" notwithstanding, Reeves is actually pretty choosy about the roles he takes. He turned down the role of Pvt. Chris Taylor in 1986's "Platoon" (a part that eventually went to Charlie Sheen) because he wasn't happy about the movie's violence. He also passed on the role of Racer X in 2008's "Speed Racer," and famously — most would say wisely — declined to participate in "Speed 2: Cruise Control," the sequel to his hit "Speed."

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1) He Just Might Have the Coolest Name Ever

Named after his uncle, Henry Keanu Reeves, the actor's first name roughly translates to "cool mountain breeze" in Hawaiian. No wonder the guy's so laid-back.