My Serendipitous Run-in With Keanu Reeves

I met Keanu Reeves last week.

By now, if you read my blog, or follow me on any social media account, you’re well aware that my husband and I have been hosting a Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon all September long called #Keanuthon. I’ve been live tweeting the films with friends and followers every wednesday.

#KeanuthonBonus

So when we serendipitously ran into and MET Keanu Reeves last week, I guess people wanted to know the story.

To begin, we unknowingly kicked off #Keanuthon on his birthday. 

Some luck!

And on the sunday before we were to watch Speed, my husband and I decided to go hiking. This usually doesn’t end well for us as you’ll see here and here.

At the end of our hiking trip, we decided to grab a beer and then get dinner because it was still the weekend after all, and beer is delicious.

Do you believe in signs? Cause this is the part where shit gets crazy.

The first bar we went to was near the bluffs we were hiking in, but when we got there we learned it was closed. Like really closed. The place was condemned.

Okaaaaaaay…

Our second stop was to a new brewery in town, which neither of us had yet tried. Also closed. (Not also condemned.)

At that point, we got out of the car and decided to walk around downtown and just bum til we found a place. So we find a bar we’ve frequented aplenty, buy our drinks and head upstairs for a table by the window.

Now, we’re in the bar approximately a half hour, chatting about our hiking trip, making future plans, blah blah blah, when I look across the street and start watching this guy standing outside a restaurant.

“You know, my contacts are a bit dirty, but that guy looks like Keanu Reeves,” I said.

“Oh yah,” said Joe, turning around.

We stare at the man. We watch him take a drag on his cigarette and run his hand through his hair.

“It’s uncanny,” said Joe. “Even his mannerisms.”

“Huh,” I agree, nodding.

We go back to talking about whatever else we talked about.

Once we finished our drinks, we headed out to get dinner down the block, but the Keanu Reeves lookalike was still outside. We started to wonder…

Joe suggested we cross the street “for a better look.”

Mid-street crossing I was in the mindset that this was just an extreme lookalike situation, and I bet he gets asked this all the time, but I’m going to ask for a picture because I’ll tell him about #Keanuthon and how funny it would be if I posted that I met Keanu Reeves (but it was just a lookalike).

Understand that at this point I’m walking up with full confidence. 

And when we’re 3 feet away…

*laughter* “That’s really Keanu Reeves,” Joe said. 

Everything after this happened SO FAST. I halted in my tracks. I thought Joe was pushing me forward, he thought I was pushing him forward. The REAL Keanu Reeves heads inside the restaurant and I hear Joe say, “We’re eating here.”

The entrance to the restaurant has a few stairs down to the floor and again, we’re pushing one another.

All Joe can say is “It’s really him.”

And all I can say is “BUT WHY???”

Why is the REAL Keanu Reeves inside a restaurant in my city when we’re in the middle of hosting #Keanuthon???

We walk further into the restaurant, past the bar, looking around for confirmation. Surely others are freaking out like we are. It’s KEANU REEVES, Duuuuuuuuuude!

Nothing. There’s no response.

The bartender directs us to the hostess desk for a table. We ask the hostess if we can sit in the bar.

“Can we sit at THAT table?” my husband asks. She nods.

You guys, we sat at the table NEXT TO Keanu Reeves!

There’s no chair for me, so I walk a few tables over to move one and slide it to our table, right next to Keanu – who turns and looks to ensure I have plenty of room to fit.

HOW SWEET ARE YOU, KEANU?!

We get our menus and we’re both acting like crazy people, giggling and muttering “BUT WHY?”

Joe keeps telling me to “make my move.”

I’m feeling like a creep, but I figure it’s now or never and I gotta just say hi and that I’m a fan and we’re hosting this marathon. (And that I’m NOT an axe murderer.) 

I literally turn in my chair and tap Keanu on the shoulder. He’s a foot away or less. He turns around, extending his hand, and says…

“Hi, I’m Keanu.”

HOLY AJF;AII$%@^%!!!

I lose it again. I’m laughing. I can’t believe I’m in real life right now. I’m shaking Keanu Reeves’ hand and laughing.

I pull myself together enough to say that I’m a fan and that, it might sound crazy, but my husband and I have been having this movie marathon with all of his films and we’re live tweeting his movies.

I also show him the #Keanuthon poster I made on my phone so he believes me. 

“You’re doing what?! That’s crazy” Keanu said. “What films are you watching?”

I read him the lineup.

Keanu: “Constantine! Nice!”

Jess: “That’s my favorite one!”

Keanu: “You should do one of the weird ones. You should watch A Scanner Darkly.”

Jess: “Ok. This is just so crazy. Could we get a photo? No one’s going to believe this.”

Keanu: “Yah, let’s get a photo.”

More Examples of How Lovely Keanu Is

I introduce Keanu to my husband and we ask a friend of his to take our photo. Afterwards, I’m totally ready to slink away. I’m stunned and fangirling and don’t want to take up any more of his time. I don’t even look at the photo, I’m just grateful for what has happened.

KEANU TELLS ME TO LOOK AT THE PICTURE AND SEE IF I LIKE IT!

It ends up looking really hazy for some reason. I show it to Keanu.

“Let’s take another one. Here we’ll move this way. Jess, you get in the middle.” Keanu is allowing us a second photo op and he remembered my name!

Soooooo, long story short, that’s how we got this baby.

Jess Witkins Meets Keanu Reeves

There you have it. That’s how I met Keanu Reeves. And he was wonderful. As he always is

(Oh yah, I did ask him why he was in town and he was here for S & S Cycles – there was a conference or show going on and he’s into motorcycles. So I wished him a great trip. And a belated happy birthday.)

With that said, #Keanuthon is going strong with a bonus feature this week.

Today at 4pm CST we’re watching A Scanner Darkly (requested by Keanu Reeves). 

This is “one of the weird ones.”

It’s an animated movie set in the not too distant future and tells the story of an undercover cop who gets too close to the world of mind-altering drugs. Reeves costars with Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder.

Fun Facts: 
  • the filming of this movie took 23 days, while the animation took 18 months
  • Robert Downey Jr wrote all his lines on post-it notes and stuck them around the set so he could read off them, then they were edited out during the animation process
  • In Arctor’s kitchen there is a drawing of a head in a box next to the phrase “Time to thaw Walt out!”. This is a reference to the urban legend that animator Walt Disney had himself cryogenically frozen.
  • This is the highest-grossing digitally rotoscoped animated feature, grossing $7,659,918.

Also this week…

We’re watching The Matrix on wednesday night at 8pm CST.

Co-starring Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving, Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who’s about to learn about multiple realities.

Fun Facts
  • It took the actors six months of training and four days to shoot the opening action scene
  • In the first half of the movie, half of Keanu’s lines are questions, averaging roughly one question per minute
  • For my literary nerds, the room that Neo is in at the beginning is room 101, and is a tribute to George Orwell in 1984, where room 101 is where a prisoner gets placed to face their worst phobias

Tune in and live tweet with us using #Keanuthon to follow the fun!

#KeanuthonBonus

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84 responses

  1. I am so jealous. Brilliant story. Fabulously nice man. And a lovely girl called Jess. xxx

    1. Um, I’m still waiting for you to arrive. I thought you were on your way over. I know a place you can bung your bags.

  2. Suddenly, you have me believing in fate. 😉

    1. I have myself believing in it too. What are the chances, right?

      Laura, may the odds be ever in your favor! 😉

  3. I am sooooo glad to get to read the story about meeting Keanu! How freaking crazy is that?! And what an amazingly nice guy! So excited for you that you had this ridiculous experience. xoxo

    1. If I’m ever in Sweden, I hope to serendipitously run into you and Lina! We can get into all kinds of fun. You two can take beautiful pictures and make a soundtrack for it. And I’ll just try my best to make you both laugh. 🙂

      1. Deal! Sounds like a definite plan!

  4. I’m extremely jealous and really happy for you … All at once!!!

    1. Thank you Pascale! I think we were extremely in shock and really excited all at once.

  5. Wow. I was gonna joke on your husband about how he’s Clegg’s twin (Eastbound & Down) but after reading your post, you are my new best friend! Thank you for posting.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you in the #Keanuthon stream. It’s always a good time.

  6. Oh I love this story so much! I would have died. Good for you for having the courage to talk to him. It was fate! I mean, what are the odds?’

    1. What. Are. The. Odds?????

      1. Gazillion bazillion trillion?

      2. To one. Sorry the last comment made no sense…I’m watching the Patriots and have had waaaay too many beers at this point…I have to tell you I read your entire post to my husband who is a big Keanu fan (point break) and he is just in awe

        1. You guys should celebrate #Keanuthon with us! We’d love to have you. Just give your hubs your twitter account and let him go wild. LOL T minus 1 hour and 15 minutes til we watch A Scanner Darkly and then Matrix on wednesday night!

  7. Wow. Just wow, Jess. I saw that pic and knew I had to hear the story behind it! So glad your run-in was a great one. Enjoy the movies!

    1. It was epic. Thanks Julie!

  8. Oh my gosh, that is the craziest story EVER! I can’t believe you met Keanu and it’s great to hear how down-to-earth he was!

    1. Yah, we could not believe the chances. We spent the rest of our dinner giggling and swore we were never washing our hands again. (It’s cool, we did.)

  9. This is so whooooaaaaaaaa-worthy, I don’t even know what to say.

  10. I just can’t…I mean…how does this stuff HAPPEN? You’ve been talking about watching all the movies, then there he is. Like fate or something. Wow.

    1. What would happen if I started watching all Cary Grant movies? I’d really like to meet him too! 😉

  11. That’s amazing. A friend I have lives in WI posted something about Keanu Reeves being up there. I was like no way..so I googled it and found you from your twitter post. Then I saw the #Keanthon movie line up and thought that’s an awesome idea (wish I thought of it!) So now I follow you because of that same interest – Keanu Reeves. Then now to hear how it went down, that’s amazing. I think he’s a talented guy and he’s doing something he loves to do which not everyone in life gets to do that. Plus his own motorcycle company! How awesome is that. Sorry haven’t been up to date with the movies, life has been a bit busy but I’ll have to check out “A Scanner Darkly!” “The Matrix” movies rock. Have you ever seen “Johnny Mnemonic”?

    1. The way this post has spread has been crazy. I love connecting with fellow Keanu fans. Thanks for tuning in to Speed! Hope you can join us for The Matrix. I haven’t seen that movie in so long. I’m really looking forward to it.

      I watched A Scanner Darkly for the first time today. You know, since Keanu requested it. I do think the movie itself was really good. But it’s trippy and weird as all get out. I haven’t seen Johnny Mnemonic. Do you like that one?

      1. Johnny Mnemonic is one of those movies that you can’t stop watching. It’s a Keanu film. Strange but interesting flick. Give it a go when you can.

  12. No River’s edge? Devil’s advocate? Private Idaho? can’t blame ya… he’s done a lot of good. cool story.

    1. There were only 5 Wednesdays. And we wanted to pick popular films that people would own so they could watch along and comment. Otherwise, I agree, those are great films too. I’d add Permanent Record.

  13. Great story!

    I think there are some more serendipitous links from you to Keanu.

    For instance your hiking story about choosing the wrong colored road. Watch this interview of David Letterman with Keanu: https://youtu.be/t_FQScFXbcA?t=319.

    Also there’s the Dolly Parton connection: https://youtu.be/A5zjTa9kNjE?t=238

    1. What??? Whooooooooaaaaa.

  14. I am screaming laughing. This is so just unbelievable, yet so believable that it happened to you guys during Keanuthon! If this were a book, an editor would say–that’s too unbelievable and coincidental–I’m so glad it’s your real life!

    1. We were screaming laughing. We seriously couldn’t stop laughing. It was just so bizarre. So crazy. So amazing. And he was truly such a nice, wonderful guy. A pleasure.

  15. Thank you for expounding upon the story. I don’t believe in coincidences, so this was all meant to be – for whatever reason. It’s good to hear he’s a nice guy in real life. Doesn’t sound at all standoffish. Maybe you should continue the Keanuthon in October!

    1. Well, I left out that we went home and watched John Wick. And of course we added A Scanner Darkly this past Sunday. I also just rented some of his romance films – like A Walk in the Clouds from the library. 😀

  16. I love that clicking 5 stars on this post results in a little tab popping up with “excellent!” on it.
    It’s lovely to hear about famous people being nice human beings, and I’m glad you guys had such a crazy meet-up. Makes me think I’ll watch “A scanner darkly” if the man himself reccomends it!

    1. LOL. That IS excellent. Too funny.

      I do recommend A Scanner Darkly. It was really good, but word to the wise, it is trippy as all get out. It is definitely “one of the weird ones.”

  17. I’ve been waiting for the story behind the story. The timing of this is so uncanny. Glad you had it documented because no one would believe you Jess. It is just too crazy! I have heard that Keanu is a gentleman and apparently it’s true. Sounds like you blew his mind as much as blew yours. What are the chances? You’ll be riding high on this one for a long, long time. Right on girl! 🙂

    1. We’d always heard that too. The guy lives modestly, rides the subway (gives up his seat for others on the subway), and donates a lot to charity. He really was very genuine and kind.

  18. Love your back story!

    S & S motor are used in his bike company’s [co founder not vanity project] Arch Motorcycles. Likely planning other model bikes for a KRGT-2 or 3.

    Great photo of all three of you.
    Met him a few times, he is sweet and very ‘normal’ [so normal my daughter didn’t realize it despite an introduction and handshake – cause what 11yr old listens to their mum? Obviously not my own] all pretty random over the last 20yrs; on two continents and 2 different states. Just one of those people I run into. Staying in the same hotel? I didn’t book it or filming near my parents house? Info came out just before I got there [outside New Orleans in St Bernard Parish] while I’m there the same month every year….

    Heard some women will fly from Asia to France to see him at a film fest or similar just to maybe talk to him. Never anything like that… I have *some* self-respect 😀
    some..

    maybe next time I’ll get a photo but if it takes away from time chatting? Guess who doesn’t get a photo!? [again! 1st time 20yrs ago? I didn’t have flash and lighting wasn’t great, brought the wrong camera inside; the one that was allowed to get trashed in the rain was on me, the good one was in the car! d’oh]

    1. Maybe serendipitous run-ins with fans are kinda his thing. That’s pretty cool. 2 continents even! I’m impressed, Sandy!

  19. Um, this is just SO cool, gave me goose bumps reading it. I don’t know you, but saw a friend of mine post this on FB. You also write really really engagingly. Love it! Keep on.

    1. Why thank you! And yes, I can’t explain it. But it rocked. LOL

  20. How crazy is that! What an awesome life story to add to your Keanuthon =)

    1. I don’t think we can top this. We’re just going to keep watching and enjoying his movies.

  21. This is one of the funniest fan encounters I’ve read. I actual laughed out loud at the part about you just laughing when he said Hi. Lol. And did I see Outlander AND Jane Austen on your blog too? AND I’m married to a nerd, too. What the.

    1. Clearly we should hang out and nerd out and go Fangirl together! That’s spectacular!

  22. How utterly cool to run into the man you’re marathon-ing! Not at all surprised that he turned out to be both awesome and down to earth. He’s always struck me as that type. 🙂

    1. We were floored that he was so nice and remembered both our names.

  23. This story makes ordinary serendipity look like simple circumstance. You’ve inspired me to start my own JanuaryJonesathon. I fully expect to bump into her on the pork rinds aisle of the dollar store any day now.

    1. Bahahahaha! I sincerely hope this happens. All of it.

      1. She’d let me check the picture too, wouldn’t she?

  24. He sounds like such a lovely guy. That is a crazy story; I’m well jealous over here. Well done, Jess.

    1. You need to watch his movies with us!

  25. Reblogged this on Fan Actuel and commented:
    In which Keanu Reeves is nice and not freaked out by fans running a Keanuthon. Details as told by Jesse (with pic and what a sweet encounter).

    1. It’s just Jess, but thank you! He was extremely nice and I’m so grateful for that little bit of time. I hope he did enjoy his stay in town.

      1. You’re so lucky, and he sounds nice and funny. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I liked how you told the story too, we could share your mix of emotions.

  26. Good Lord, he is a good-looking man.
    I always have fantasized about meeting him! Been a fan since Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (saw that in junior high). I even wrote a character in a sci-fi novel that I thought he’d be perfect for. Maybe someday if the book gets published…

    1. That’s cool. Keep working on the book!

  27. Well this is just awesome! I adore that man and this just makes me adore him more! Very easy on the eyes too! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome adventure!

    1. He made me adore him more too.

  28. This is SO awesome and ironic. I LOVE Keanu Reeves ever since I was a little girl. I am so jealous. What a great story and opportunity!

    1. Isn’t it though? It still seems surreal. What crazy, magical odds.

  29. […] not as big, or serendipitous as #Keanuthon, we’re still having movie nights every wednesday, and October is all about the scary movies! […]

  30. That was such a funny and awesome story! If you think A Scanner Darkly is weird, you should read Philip K. Dick’s books! He is one of my favorite authors and If you’ve ever seen Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau then you’ve seen Dick’s work. He’s brilliant and so is Keanu. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oooh yah I like all those movies. Thanks for the recommendation.

      1. You’re most welcome! ❤ BTW I forgot to mention that your #Keanuthon is most Righteous! *grins*

  31. […] of you now know about my serendipitous run-in with Keanu Reeves. I still don’t understand quite how that happened, but I’m glad it did as it was […]

  32. […] Jess wrote once of a serendipitous meeting with a favorite actor. Read it here because I don’t want to spoil it. You must read this. […]

  33. Nice one, Jess. Are you still floating? I know I would be 🙂

    1. We were just giggling that our photo might be this year’s Christmas card. Hehehe

  34. Reblogged this on WONDROUS TALES OF A NIGHT OWL and commented:
    Ummmm, because it’s Keanu. Enough said. 😍

  35. That was definitely fate! How cool to have met him! I have been a fan of his forever and named my oldest daughter after him. Lol! Love your blog! 😄

    1. Aww thanks Veronica. He is just a stellar human being. It was such a fun event and meeting!

      1. I will have to mark this event on my calendar! So much fun! 😄

  36. I am visiting via Veronica at Wondrous Tales of a Night Owl. I am a HUGE Keanu fan. HUGE, HUGE, HUGE … and I was soooo jealous reading this post.

    I have read from multiple sources how he is very friendly, generous, and personable. I can add your post to that list 🙂

    *sigh* … the truth is I would be too shy to consider doing anything but admiring from afar.

    1. Nothing stopping you from hosting your own Keanuthon!

      1. I like your thinking 🙂

  37. Great Story!! You are so BRAVE!! I think I would have totally lost it and not been able to ask him for an actual picture!!
    And- I TOTALLY talk about Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure. DUUUUDDe!!! hehee… I cannot watch the Marix though..
    Loved your post on Coach Daddy!!!
    Vicki

    1. He was so unbelievably nice. It was such a pleasure. My favorite pick from our marathon was Constantine.

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