Keanu Reeves is known for his action movie chops and philanthropy, but he’s also known for being a pretty introspective, thoughtful guy.
We didn’t know his true depths until Reeves was on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show to promote his movie John Wick 3 and, when asked an impossible question with no true answer, answered with a single sentence that showed amazing thought on the subject of mortality.
Colbert asked: “What do you think happens when we die?”
Reeves responded simply with, “I know the ones who love us will miss us.”
The statement feels obvious and simple, but it’s also deep and profound.
Weirdly, the topic came up while discussing the other project that Reeves has coming up — the latest installation of Bill & Ted is due out in 2020, and in the sci-fi comedy, the world may end unless Bill and Ted can write one more Wyld Stallyns song.
“It’s the end of the universe if they can’t do it,” Reeves said. “It’s the end of the time-space continuum.”
Colbert said, “So you’re facing your own mortality and the mortality of all existence. Wow.”
That’s when the questions of life and death began. It’s a deep question for any of us but it’s especially relevant one for Reeves, who sadly knows tragedy all too well. The actor lost his best friend to a drug overdose in 1993, and then his girlfriend Jennifer Syme died in a car crash in 2001. There’s more: Syme and Reeves also had a child who was stillborn in 1999.
Since the start of his film career in the 1980s, Reeves has shown himself to be a more thoughtful and sensitive kind of movie star, despite often being stereotyped as the airheads or action heroes he plays on screen. His willingness to approach a talk show question during a press tour with simple sincerity is what sets him apart from so many other celebrities to whom we find it hard to relate.
Reeves’ raw responses left Colbert speechless for a moment, and we get it. It hit us all in the heart, and for one solid moment, we were all very much in that room with both those men, confronting life’s biggest questions – with the simplest, but truest answer.
We may have different beliefs on what awaits us after we pass, but one thing we can all agree on: we miss the loved ones we have lost and they will feel the same about us when we are gone.