Keanu Reeves Discusses Turning ‘BRZRKR’ Comics Into Netflix Film, Recalls Anime’s Impact on ‘Matrix’ Role

Keanu Reeves couldn’t be happier to get to work on a project involving a warrior who is 80,000 years old and has a proclivity for punching people through the chest.

The star participated in a San Diego Comic-Con panel Friday for BRZRKR, the comic book series from Boom! Studios that he co-created and has co-written with Matt Kindt. During the discussion, Reeves explained how he came up with the character, who was introduced in the first issue in March 2021 and is known for literally ripping his enemies apart.

“I had this idea — I wanted a character to punch people through their chest and rip their arms off,” Reeves told the crowd. “And the idea of someone who was cursed with violence and trying to figure out who they are and how they came to be and kind of reclaiming their humanity.”

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The project had been previously announced as in development for a Netflix live-action feature film with Reeves in the lead, along with an accompanying anime series. As might be expected, Reeves has been quite hands-on with all of this.

Mattson Tomlin (Project Power), who is currently working on the film script, said that Reeves has been providing feedback on various aspects of the comics that should be included or omitted for the movie. Tomlin also relayed Reeves’ response after Tomlin described a moment when the immortal lead character, Berzerker, would deal with others around him.

“Keanu stopped me, and he said, ‘No, it’s not how he deals with them. It’s how they deal with him,’” Tomlin recalled. “That for me was a really critical lens perspective: OK, this is a force of nature, this character.”

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Tomlin said he has been influenced on the project not only by Reeves’ previous film work, but also movies with sweeping scope, including The Fountain and Tree of Life. The screenwriter added, “He can’t die, so what do you do with that?”

Reeves said that working on the comic book has been “some of the best creative days of my life” and described a lifelong passion for the art form. “I was that kid coming back with bags of comic books, and it was always a good day,” the actor said. Reeves remembered his elation on the day the first issue came out: “I was like, ‘I’m kind of an adult, and this is the best fucking Christmas I’ve ever fucking had.’”

The star also expressed the influence that anime has held on him over the years, dating back to his formative years as a boy growing up in Toronto. “I was watching anime on channel 79, and I didn’t even know what it was,” Reeves said. “And then when I worked with the Wachowskis on The Matrix, they were like, ‘You need to watch these.’ So it was Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and that’s pretty much the start of it. I’m not really up-to-date on current anime. A couple of my friends have some kids who can just spit anime, and I’m like, ‘That sounds amazing.’”

The project’s team teased a lot more BRZRKR to come, with the series’ final double-issue due out in 2023. Plus, a Random House representative announced in a pre-taped video segment that Reeves is working with a not-yet-disclosed writer on an upcoming novel about the character.

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Indeed, possibilities abound for a character with endless backstory, and Reeves is enthusiastic about where he can still take it: “I’m looking forward to exploring more of the character and different times, and that’s really rare.”

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