Keanu Reeves is one of the most identifiable and beloved figures in the movie industry, but the Matrix star revealed that when was first trying to make it in Hollywood, he was told that he should consider changing his name. And one of the names he (jokingly) considered was Chuck Spadina.
“So, I’m 20 years old, I’m in my first car, I wanted to be in movies, I went to Hollywood,” Keanu told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan. “And I get there and they’re like, ‘we wanna change your name.'”
Keanu then revealed that one of the names he came up with was Chuck Spadina, which sounds like a character from one of the ’90s action blockbusters that he would later end up starring in. While the idea of Keanu going by the name Chuck Spadina is funny, the reason why he was asked to consider changing his name is not.
It unsurprisingly boiled down to that old school Hollywood bigotry, as he was told that the name Keanu Reeves was “a little too exotic.” Keanu’s paternal grandmother is Chinese Hawaiian and the name Keanu is of Hawaiian origins meaning “Cool Mountain Breeze,” which is a perfect fit.
Actors changing their names to sound less “exotic” is, unfortunately, a time-honored tradition in the entertainment industry, as they are often told it will help them get roles they might not otherwise. Thankfully, after coming up with “ridiculous names” including Chuck Spadina, Keanu chose to stick with his given name.
And given his insanely prolific career and status as one of the internet’s favorite celebrities, it’s pretty clear he made the right choice. I mean, Chuck Spadina is a cool name and all but it doesn’t hold a candle to Keanu Reeves, which remains one of the most badass names in Hollywood.