When Keanu Reeves took a huge pay cut to work alongside Al Pacino


When Keanu Reeves took a huge pay cut to work alongside Al Pacino



Keanu Reeves is known as one of Hollywood’s most likeable stars, remaining humble and charitable despite his impressive list of acting credits. After receiving his breakthrough role in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the actor has gone on to star in some highly commercially and critically successful projects, including The Matrix franchise, Constantine, the John Wick series, and My Own Private Idaho.



Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino | Keanu reeves, Actor al pacino, Al pacino

Born in Lebanon, Reeves moved around as a child, living in Sydney and New York City before settling in Toronto. In New York, Reeves’ mother married a Broadway director, Paul Aaron, who inspired Reeves to begin acting. At age nine, he took part in a production of Damn Yankees – his first taste of a career that he would come to excel in. The mid-1980s saw Reeves act as a correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s kid’s show Going Great. Shortly after, Reeves made his acting debut in the television show Hangin’ In.


best of al pacino on Twitter: "Al and Keanu Reeves at the world premiere of  Devil's Advocate in Los Angeles, 1997. https://t.co/LxRkhpZ1H6" / Twitter

Soon, the actor started to receive more significant roles, such as a supporting part in the Oscar-winning period drama Dangerous Liaisons in 1988. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure came the following year, and soon enough, Reeves became an established name, landing roles in films such as Point Break, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and eventually the leading role in the blockbuster series The Matrix. The 1990s cemented Reeves as one of the decade’s biggest names, granting him opportunities he’d never have predicted just ten years before.

In 1997, Reeves was given the opportunity to work with one of his cinematic idols – Al Pacino. The pair starred alongside each other in Taylor Hackford’s supernatural horror film, The Devil’s Advocate. Based on Andrew Neiderman’s 1990 novel of the same name, the film follows Reeves as young lawyer Kevin, who moves to New York to work for a prestigious law firm. However, upon his arrival, his wife (Charlize Theron) begins having visions, and Kevin discovers that the owner of the firm, played by Pacino, is actually the Devil.


Although the film received mixed critical reviews, most people agreed that The Devil’s Advocate was an entertaining piece of cinema. The film grossed over $153 million at the box office and won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. However, Reeves was paid substantially less than he was initially offered – at his own suggestion. The actor had been a massive fan of Pacino since his days as Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, so did whatever he could to have him attached to the project.

Thus, to ensure that he could work with the legendary actor, Reeves offered up millions of his salary so the studio could afford to hire Pacino. He even turned down the chance to star in Speed 2 so that he could be in the film. The Hollywood veteran had been approached to star in The Devil’s Advocate multiple times before he finally accepted the offer. Instead, he had suggested that actors such as Robert Redford and Sean Connery take the role. Pacino’s problem was the cliche nature of the character. Luckily, after a few rewrites, the actor decided to star in the film.

This isn’t the only time Reeves has offered up a large chunk of his salary. Just three years later, the actor reportedly took a 90% pay cut so that he could star alongside Gene Hackman in The Replacements.


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