Keanu Reeves' Pixar Adventure: Digging 'Deep' Into the Soul of 'Toy Story 4'

Keanu Reeves voices Duke Caboom in "Toy Story 4." (Pixar)

There's a reason that Keanu Reeves is this summer's internet icon.

The 54-year-old actor is handsome, funny, humble and self-deprecating in both his official and unofficial public appearances. But he also has roles in three much-buzzed about movies, two of which -- "John Wick 3" and "Always Be My Maybe" -- have already been released and earned him much praise for his undeniable screen presence.

Reeves' third film this summer is the highly anticipated "Toy Story 4," which hits theaters Friday. The latest installment in Pixar's animated series is likely to further prove his range as an actor. Reeves provides voice work for the film; his character, Duke Caboom, is a gung-ho Canadian motorcycle daredevil with a glaring Hulk Hogan-like mustache.

Granted, Duke is a supporting role to Tom Hanks' Woody and Tim Allen's Buzz Lightyear. But Reeves, as usual, took the opportunity to co-star in the "Toy Story" franchise pretty seriously, director John Cooley said in an interview last week at the film's Hollywood premiere.

In fact, Reeves took the role so seriously that he submitted to a blind audio test. Once he secured the role, he traveled to Pixar's Emeryville campus to meet with Cooley and the producers. He wanted to come to an understanding about Duke's identity and inner sense of self, producer Mark Nielsen told the Hollywood Reporter.

"(Reeves) was like, 'What is this guy about? What is he afraid of?'" Nielsen said. "He really wanted to dig deep into this character."

During a lunch meeting, Reeves also worked with the group to develop some of Duke's signature moves, including his compulsion for doing action-hero-type poses, Nielsen explained. In fact, Reeves got into serious improv mode.

"He climbed on a table and was striking poses in the middle of the atrium and we thought, that is Duke Caboom!" Nielsen said.

Perhaps Duke is another heightened version of the action-hero characters Reeves has become famous for playing in "Speed," and "The Matrix" and "John Wick" movies.

But Reeves already launched a thousand Twitter memes this summer playing a heightened, pretentious and aggressive version of his own person in Randall Park and Ali Wong's Netflix rom-com "Always Be My Maybe."

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This article is written by Martha Ross from East Bay Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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