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Keanu Reeves Is Latest Movie Star to Go TV

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 18, 2014 at 1:41PM

When in doubt, go TV. That is the new Hollywood mantra, as every working producer, director and actor is checking out alternatives to green screen comic-book movies. It's been a while since Keanu Reeves hit his stride as an action star in "Speed" and the "Matrix franchise. Reeves is not going gently into his 50s with Hollywood fare (see long-delayed "47 Ronin," his directing effort "Man of Tai Chi," and indie "Generation Um,
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Reeves with China Film Group's Sanping Han
Film Biz Asia Reeves with China Film Group's Sanping Han

When in doubt, go TV. That is the new Hollywood mantra, as every working producer, director, writer and actor is checking out alternatives to green-screen comic-book movies. Matthew McConaughey, Clive Owen and others are seeing the wisdom of taking a detour from Hollywood formula fare for often lucrative and image-enhancing roles that give them a chance to display their chops.

It's been a while since Keanu Reeves hit his stride as an action star in "Speed" and the "Matrix" franchise.  Reeves is not going gently into his 50s with Hollywood fare (see long-delayed "47 Ronin," his directing effort "Man of Tai Chi," and indie "Generation Um," and coming up, Eli Roth B flick "Knock, Knock" and indies "John Wick" and "The Whole Truth").

 
Hence the turn to television. Slingshot Global Media has attached Reeves as executive producer and star of the television series "Rain," based on Barry Eisler's New York Times best-selling series.  Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (Summit's "John Wick") will produce with Eisler. Slingshot Global Media will executive produce and distribute the show. In the action drama Reeves plays globe-trotting John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American contract assassin who specializes in taking out his targets by making their deaths look natural. A lonely outsider, Rain knows that being a hitman prevents him from bringing intimacy into his life. Eisler’s novels featuring Rain include "A Clean Kill in Tokyo," "A Lonely Resurrection," "Winner Take All," "Redemption Games," "Extremis," "The Killer Ascendant," "The Detachment," and "Graveyard of Memories." 
 
Rain will be Reeves’ first major starring and producing role in a television series, and Slingshot’s first officially announced project since the company formed in February.  Slingshot Global Media wants to use this series as an entry into the "expanding television space," the company stated. Their plan is to work closely with talent to develop series and limited-run programming for both traditional broadcast and cable networks, in addition to on demand and premium pay services.

This article is related to: Television, Television, Television, Keanu Reeves, 47 Ronin, TV, TV News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.