Before he was training under Rocky Balboa as Adonis Creed or ruling Wakanda with an iron grip as Killmonger in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan got his big break playing Jamal opposite Keanu Reeves’ Conor O’Neill in Brian Robbins’ HARDBALL. Much like The Bad News Bears or The Mighty Ducks, Hardball focuses on a ragtag group of young Chicago ballplayers who discover their hidden talent for the game under the guidance of a new and unconventional coach. Now, everyone’s heard lovely stories about what an amazing human Keanu Reeves is, but in this day and age, who couldn’t stand to hear another?
Taking place 20 years ago, Jordan was only 13 when he auditioned for Hardball. Not long after landing the part, he would soon bear witness to Reeves’ good nature first hand. As it happens, Hardball went into production a year after The Matrix‘s 1999 release, which is right around the time when Reeves’ star truly began to rise.
“The Matrix was such a big thing,” Robbins recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “The kids would goof around with Keanu, re-enacting scenes, like dodging bullets in slow motion. They were in awe of Keanu. All these kids were new and raw and had never made a film before.”
Jordan then lent his perspective to the conversation by adding: “While we were in production, Keanu took the whole cast out to dinner and we had a chance to meet [his Matrix co-star] Laurence Fishburne. To this day, I still remember thinking to myself in astonishment, ‘I guess this is what movie stars do — take their casts out to dinner with other big actors.’ So much respect for Keanu and Laurence. It really was such a cool moment with two of my heroes.”
Of course, this is just one of many occasions where Reeves was celebrated for being a “breathtaking” individual. Not only has he donated large sums of money to children’s hospitals, but he’s also been known to take pay cuts if it means that talented actors can join the production. He’s gifted crew members with motorcycles, has taken stranded flight passengers on a fun road trip, and is famously known for being kind and respectful to his female co-stars.
There are days when I’m not sure if the world deserves Keanu Reeves, though I certainly think we’re better for having him as a counterbalance to our many misdeeds. Thank you for being a lighthouse in the fog, Mr. Reeves. You are truly one of the good ones.