Cyberpunk 2077 Keanu Reeves casting wasn’t because he was a big star

The Cyberpunk 2077 Keanu Reeves reveal took a lot of people’s the breaths away at E3 2019. The actor lends a lot of genuine star power to CD Projekt Red’s upcoming first-person RPG. That said, the studio didn’t pick Reeves simply because he was a big name actor.

In an interview in the latest issue of OXM (via GamesRadar), Cyberpunk 2077 story director Marcin Blancha discussed why they chose Reeves. Simply put, the studio felt that the actor had a connection with the character of Johnny Silverhand, based on his previous roles.

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“Keanu Reeves has this history of playing characters who fight for something and Silverhand is definitely fighting for something. Or at least he was in 2020,” stated Blancha. “When we thought of an actor for this role, we didn’t approach it on a ‘who’s the biggest celebrity right now’ basis — the actor had to have a connection with the character, so it made sense.”

Looking at both Johnny Silverhand and Reeves’ previous characters, there are some connecting threads. Silverhand’s history as a former soldier who deserted his post, while having a loved one die somewhat mirrors that of John Wick. Meanwhile, his position as a charismatic “Rocker Boy,” while being part of the rock group Samurai — a symbol of resistance in Night City — has shades of Neo from The Matrix Trilogy, given how Neo fought against the system.

Blancha stated that Reeves’ performance has helped make Silverhand a more compelling character in Cyberpunk 2077.  “A good actor — and Keanu is a great actor — will infuse their character with a bit of their own special thing,” stated Blancha. “I think, thanks to Keanu, Johnny is more relatable and complex, but at the same time has not lost any of his original rebelliousness and punch.”

Of course, there’s still a lot to be discovered about Silverhand. Blancha mentioned that he plays a critical role in the game’s plot, but that players won’t know exactly how at first. Whatever this is, players will find out, while getting to enjoy Reeves’ performance, when Cyberpunk 2077 hits PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 16, 2020.