How Keanu Reeves Convinced River Phoenix To Be His Co-Star in ‘My Own Personal Idaho’

Keanu Reeves is identified for his extensive wide range of roles. From the not-so-shiny teen in Monthly bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to an motion hero in the John Wick franchise, Reeves has more than verified his range as an actor.

In the 1991 movie My Possess Personal Idaho, Reeves co-starred with River Phoenix in the haunting tale of two avenue hustlers from reverse backgrounds. Evidently, the Velocity star travelled a few thousand miles to make confident Phoenix was on board.

Keanu Reeves | J.Sciulli/WireImage

Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix had earlier worked jointly

Right before signing on for My Individual Private Idaho, Reeves and Phoenix had now starred together in the 1990 film I Enjoy You To Dying. The two had also fulfilled by means of Phoenix’s ex-girlfriend Martha Plimpton, who performed Reeves’ pregnant girlfriend in Ron Howard’s Parenthood.

According to Paper Journal, Gus Van Sant had the two actors in brain when he wrote the script for My Have Non-public Idaho. The director wasn’t positive if they would be comfortable using on these kinds of delicate material, but went ahead and sent the script to their agents. Reeves was open up to the plan, but apparently Phoenix’s agent didn’t want her client to look at the story.

Van Sant suggested to Reeves that he pay out the Operating on Vacant star a stop by in individual at his spouse and children ranch in Florida. Choosing his 1974 Norton Commando motorbike as his mode of transportation, Reeves manufactured the trek from Toronto to the Sunshine Condition to discuss the movie with Phoenix. The two dedicated to the movie.

Similar: Why Keanu Reeves Turned Down Starring Roles in These 2 Hit Films

River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves ‘shook hands’ on having the roles in ‘My Have Personal Idaho

The tragic plot showcased Phoenix in the role of Mike Waters, a drug addict and male prostitute who suffers from narcolepsy, and Reeves as Scott Favor, the son of a mayor who rebels from his father by turning tips. The two actors understood the roles were being a little bit risky at the time but needed to challenge themselves.

“We had been fired up,” Phoenix explained to Interview at the time. “It could have been like a bad dream—a desire that in no way follows by way of for the reason that no one commits, but we just forced ourselves into it.”

Reeves and Phoenix created a pact to take the roles as a group. “We reported ‘OK, I’ll do it if you do it. I won’t do it if you really don’t,’” Phoenix recalled. “We shook palms. That was it.”

Keanu Reeves identified as the movie an ‘intense experience’

Equally actors ended up gaining level of popularity at the time, specifically among a more youthful demographic. When questioned if he feared the complex position would harm his picture, Reeves admitted to some first apprehension due to the significant subject issue alternatively than any concern in excess of appearances.

“I’m an actor,” The Matrix star spelled out. “That wasn’t a problem. But taking pictures was a pretty intensive expertise. I had just finished Place Break and was however into my character – I felt a bit of anxiousness about Idaho. I was overcome at what I had to do—it was like, Oh, no! Can I do this? I was frightened. But Gus and River produced me healthy in. Claimed, ‘Let’s do one particular b*tchin’ movie.’”

Reeves was grateful for the part, sharing how a lot he realized portraying these types of a layered character.


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“I was launched to so several elements as a result of the man I was taking part in,” he remarked. “Real persons. My creativeness. Gus’ interpretation. Shakespeare. It was rich! And it was just bottomless, guy.”

Unfortunately, Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993 at 23 several years old. In 2019, Reeves talked about his friendship with the late actor.

“Definitely [one of] my closest close friends from that period,” Reeves described Phoenix, according to the Irish Occasions. “We shared an inventive sensibility. River was just so down to earth, religious and a unique artist. Yeah, I miss out on him.”

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