Keanu Gives Up 'Matrix' Money

ByABC News
September 7, 2001, 6:48 PM

Sept. 10 -- It may come as no surprise that Keanu Reeves, who opts to intersperse mega-hits like Speed with quirkier art-house fare like Little Buddha, isn't exactly motivated by money

The actor has even signed away a sizeable back-end deal for two Matrix sequels, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday in a profile of Reeves' erratic Hollywood career.

According to the paper, Reeves handed over his valuable profit-sharing points to the franchise's special-effects and costume-design team. Whoa, dude!

"He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate," an unnamed movie executive tells the Journal.

And it's not the first time that Reeves has shared his movie spoils. On The Devil's Advocate, Reeves shaved his salary by a few million dollars so that producers could afford Al Pacino, and he did the same thing on The Replacements to be able to work with Gene Hackman, according to the Journal.

Keeping Keanu Happy

But don't cry for Reeves' bank account: the actor was paid $10 million upfront for The Matrix and ended up earning $35 million from back-end deals when the film became a hit.If it were up to studio execs and doubtless, most moviegoers Reeves would be cast only in profitable, surefire action movies like The Matrix and Speed. Instead, says the Journal, Warner Bros. compromises with the actor, greenlighting movies like Sweet November or the upcoming baseball movie, Hardball, that no one particularly wants to see to secure Reeves' services for the big movies.

Still, the actor's quest for diverse roles paid off recently when he won unexpected praise for his turn as a redneck wife beater in the little-seen The Gift.