Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele had a simple dream for their action-comedy “Keanu,” in which the two comedians search for a lost cat.
They wanted Keanu Reeves to be the voice of the cat.
Key and Peele, along with the film’s director, Peter Atencio, put in the ask through Reeves’ people and quickly received a polite “no.”
But then Keanu saw the trailer for “Keanu.”
“Apparently his sister showed him the trailer and said, ‘Hey, you gotta see this. You’re gonna love this!’ He flipped out and got in touch with us directly,” Atencio told the LA Times.
But the problem was the film was practically finished. Atencio was putting the final touches on it for its South by Southwest festival premiere back in March.
Then the director thought of a scene in which Peele’s character has a drug hallucination and the cat, named Keanu, guides him through his trip.
“We wanted to expand on that anyway, so we thought he could do the voiceover for the cat in that scene,” Atencio said.
Reeves was in Italy making “John Wick 2,” but he was able to get into a recording studio in Rome, and Atencio gave the “Speed” star direction via Skype.
“I spent an hour recording a bunch of dialogue,” Atencio said. “They hooked it up so that I could talk and he could hear it in his headphones. The studio [Warner Bros.] was wanting him to drop a bunch of references to his old movies. But we didn’t want to make it overt or too pointed. We don’t want him to do, like, his ‘Bill and Ted’ voice and beat you over the head with it. And he had great ideas for lines. He was having fun with it.”
“Keanu” opens in theatres on Friday. Check out the NSFW trailer: