The Canadian star, Keanu Reeves became a successful celebrity who kicked off his acting journey in theatre productions and television films. From his breakthrough role in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, he went on to star in films like Speed which established him as an action hero in the industry. His work in the 1999’s Matrix rose him to greater prominence.
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Before the actor gained international stardom through Matrix, he starred in the 1997 horror film, The Devil’s Advocate alongside Al Pacino. Though the movie received mixed reviews, their acting was well received by the critics. However, the veteran actor initially hesitated to star in the movie.
Al Pacino Rejected The Devil’s Advocate Three Times
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In an article published by The New York Daily News months before the release of the 1997 American horror film, the people involved shared some behind the scene facts about the production of the movie.
Taylor Hackford, who helmed the film described it as “a modern-day morality play.” As per the article, the director always wanted to hire Al Pacino for the role of John Milton/Satan. However, the actor was not much interested in the movie at first and rejected the offer thrice.
Pacino told the outlet, “But the very first time I saw the script, it wasn’t complete.”
Even after continuous rejections, Hackford was steadfast in casting him for the lead role, which is why he kept on developing the script with the writer, Tony Gilroy.
“Then that thing Taylor was reaching for, it finally started manifesting itself in the script,” Pacino stated at the time.
The Godfather actor continued,
“And suddenly it became a challenge. You want a challenge in this business, you want to see if you can reach what you’re going for. As Lee Strasberg used to say, ‘Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what is heaven for?'”
He eventually accepted the role and made the role completely his and was widely applauded for the same.
Keanu Reeves Took Salary Cut to Get Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate
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Not just the director, but Pacino’s co-star, Keanu Reeves also sacrificed his paycheck so that the Heat star could join the film. Pacino was a great shot back then too, which could be the reason why Reeves did that, however, he chose to simply not discuss his paychecks. Not just for Pacino, he has often done the same for many so that talented people could get on board with the projects he worked on.
At a 2019 press conference, the actor stated,
“I’d rather people didn’t know that. It was a private transaction. It was something I could afford to do, a worthwhile thing to do.”
The actor even praised his co-star by stating,
“I knew by working with [Al Pacino] I could only raise my game, so to speak. We work in totally different ways but our relationship was, for me anyway, fantastic. I had some of the best times of my life with him.
Other than the actors, the movie also starred another gem of Hollywood, Charlize Theron, who played the wife of Reeves’ character.
The Devil’s Advocate is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Source: The New York Daily News