Inside Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock's Enduring Friendship
By Antoinette Bueno
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Spike TV
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock's close bond is still going strong after 25 years.
Reeves and Bullock, both 54, first met when they were cast in the now iconic 1994 action film Speed, forming one of Hollywood's most beloved friendships. Reeves plays LAPD Jack Traven in the film, who's attempting to rescue passengers on a bus rigged with a bomb that's programmed to explode if the bus isn't going 50 mph or above. Bullock plays Annie Porter, a passenger on the bus who eventually becomes in charge of driving it, and later becomes Traven's love interest.
Despite Speed making Reeves and Bullock permanent A-listers, the two weren't actually the studio's first choices to play the lead. Stephen Baldwin was the first choice to play Jack, and screenwriter Graham Yost has also said that Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson were also considered. Director Jan de Bont eventually cast Reeves after being impressed with his performance in 1991's Point Break, and similarly, Bullock has said that de Bont was also integral to her casting, after Halle Berry turned down the role.
"I knew the studio wanted a busty blonde with long legs, but the director, Jan de Bont, fought for me," Bullock is quoted as saying in her 2011 biography by Sandy Gade Algra.
But Reeves and Bullock's obvious chemistry was evident from the start.
"I had to read for Speed," she told Entertainment Weekly in 1994 about auditioning. "Just to make sure the chemistry was OK between me and Keanu. We had to do all these really physical scenes together, rolling around on the floor and stuff. At one point Keanu stumbled into me and sort of grabbed my butt. I asked him, 'Are you copping a feel?' He got all panicky and was like, 'Nooooo! I wasn’t!' I was like, 'Relax, Keanu. Just kidding.'"
During a viral throwback interview from 1994, Reeves lights up while gushing about Bullock, before she crashes the interview by jumping into his arms and giving him a huge hug.
"My dress sort of kept flying up and I said, 'Whatever you do, just keep my dress down,'" she recalled about doing the film's stunts. "The whole stunt he just made sure my dress [stayed down]. It was very sweet."
She also admitted to DeGeneres that she had a crush on him.
"I think about how sweet Keanu Reeves was, and how handsome he was," she gushed. "It was hard. It was really hard for me to really be serious. He'd look at me and I'd [giggle]."
Ultimately, she said the two never dated.
"There was just something about me that I guess he didn't like," she said with a laugh. "I think it's true."
"I think we're probably friends for that long because we didn't..." she continued.
During Reeves' own appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last month, he whipped fans into a frenzy when he said he didn't know about Bullock harboring a crush on him, and revealed his own crush on her at the time.
"She obviously didn't know I had a crush on her, either," Reeves said after DeGeneres played back Bullock's clip.
When DeGeneres questioned why they never dated, Reeves exclaimed, "We were working!"
"It was nice to go to work," he added of his time with Bullock, agreeing that their chemistry was real. "She's such a wonderful person, such a wonderful actress."
"It was a great experience to make that film," he said. "[I] got to meet Sandra Bullock, got to work with her, it was fantastic. It was a great role. Point Break was really a big break for me in action films and Speed was the second one, and a chance to do as much action as I could. With the help and support of all the stunt people and everything, that film was a lot of fun to do."
As for his favorite memories on the Speed set with Bullock, Reeves recalled, "It was just her talent in all of the environments. We had to pretend some pretty wacky stuff and she was so authentic and her humor and intelligence, authenticity. It was just a joy to be around and to perform with."
Bullock and Reeves clearly remained close after filming Speed, choosing to reunite in the 2006 time travel romance, The Lake House. Bullock plays a doctor who begins exchanging love letters with her house's former resident, an architect played by Reeves.
"I can’t explain in words why Sandra and I have chemistry on screen or why we work well together," Reeves told Entertainment Weekly in 2006 about their bond. "We just do, and I'm glad because I like her tremendously as a person. I always enjoy watching her work. She is funny as all heck, smart as whip…. It was great to have some life under our belts since the last time we worked together."
"We kept in touch over the years -- I actually wrote him letters to see how he was doing," Bullock also revealed. "Every time I heard he had an accident I’d call to make sure he was OK. We have some mutual friends and we had a few dinner dates ... I am glad to work with him again. I don't know what it is, but I love being around Keanu. I really do. He is such a good person."
In a 2006 interview with CinemaBlend, Bullock talked about feeling safe with her close friend.
"There's an ease,” Bullock said about filming The Lake House with Reeves. "I don't want to say it's a comfort, but it's an ease for me to look at him directly in places when I'm not comfortable with myself, I can look him in the eye and feel that I have a place there. There's other people, you can look in their eyes and not feel that you are supposed to be there. I think that was a nice luxury for me. I know what it's like to remember him. We have a nice history. There's a great level of comfort that I have."
Clearly, Reeves feels the same way. Though fans have recently pointed out the respectful way the actor takes pictures with his female co-stars and fans -- he has a tendency not to wrap his arms or hands around women's waists, instead leaving them hovering behind their backs -- he's had no issue touching Bullock in smiling photos over the years.
... Or having her touch him.
It's also telling that although the notoriously private Reeves rarely steps out to public events, he's been supportive of Bullock over the years, showing up at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards to playfully accept the Choice Liplock award with her, as well as posing on the Oscars red carpet with her that same year.
In 2013, he prepared a speech for her while presenting her with the Decade of Hotness award at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards alongside two of her other leading men through the years, Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey. Reeves' words brought Bullock to tears, as he shared, "Sandra, your heart, your soul, your light, your talent that you share with all of us is amazing and wonderful and extraordinary. You are one of a kind and you are definitely, definitely hot!"
In a 2014 Reddit AMA, Reeves was asked to reveal the biggest movie star he's friends with, and named Bullock.
"Yeah, through the years we kinda get together, have a dinner, catch up, see how it's going," he shared.
And the two definitely want to work together again. Reeves told People in 2017 that he was actively looking for more projects for the pair.
"Oh my gosh, yeah I've been trying," he said. "I've been looking for [film projects] with Sandra -- not with her, but for us."
ET recently spoke to Bullock at he 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles, where she acknowledged Reeves having a resurgence in popularity with fans thanks to the massive success of his John Wick films and his likability off-screen. When asked if she had any special contenders in mind for the still single Reeves, she explained why she wasn't setting him up any time soon.
"He doesn't need anybody's help!" Bullock exclaimed. "Nope. He's good."
She also joked about the idea of a Speed reunion.
"Maybe [when we're] 67, 69 years old," Bullock cracked. "We'll be old and in the bus where they have that lift for the older people."
"We'll be an old married couple," she added of the potential plot. "We'll have the walker and it will be about how we can get to the old people home before curfew. So, that will be the [new] Speed. It will be a slow film, but a play on the word 'speed.'"