Keanu Reeves couldn’t be happier to be working on a project involving an 80,000-year-old warrior with the ability to punch people through the chest.
The star attended a San Diego Comic-Con panel Friday for BRZRKR, the manga from Boom! The studio he co-founded and co-wrote with Matt Kindt. During the discussion, Reeves explains how he came up with the character, who was introduced in the first issue in March 2021 and is known for literally tearing enemies apart.
“I had this idea — I wanted a character to punch people in the chest and rip their arms off,” Reeves told the crowd. “And the idea of a person being cursed with violence and trying to figure out who they are and what they’ve become and discard their humanity.”
The project was previously announced to be in development for a Netflix live-action feature film starring Reeves, along with an accompanying anime series. As expected, Reeves has been quite hands on with all of this.
Mattson Tomlin (Power project), who is currently working on the screenplay, said that Reeves gave feedback on various aspects of the comics that should be included or omitted for the film. Tomlin also relayed Reeves’ reaction after Tomlin described the moment when the immortal protagonist, Berzerker, would deal with the others around him.
“Keanu stopped me, and he said, ‘No, that’s not how he deals with them. That was how they dealt with him,” Tomlin recalls. “For me it’s a really critical perspective: OK, this is a force of nature, this character.”
Tomlin said he was influenced by the project not only by Reeves’ previous work, but also by films of a wide range, including fountain and Tree of Life. The screenwriter added, “He can’t die, so what do you do with that?”
Reeves says working on comic books was “one of the most creative days of my life” and describes a lifelong fascination with the art form. The actor said, “I was that kid back with comic bags, and it was always a good day. Reeves recalls his excitement the day the first issue came out: “I thought, ‘I’m an adult, and this is the best goddamn Christmas I’ve ever had.’
The star also expressed the influence anime has had on him over the years, dating back to his founding years as a young boy growing up in Toronto. “I watched the anime on channel 79, and I didn’t even know what it was,” says Reeves. “And then when I worked with the Wachowskis on Matrix, they said, ‘You need to see these.’ So it was Akira, Ghost in the shell, and that’s the beginning of it. I’m not really up to date on the current anime. A couple of my friends have some kids who can only watch cartoons, and I said, “That sounds great.”
The project team teased even more BRZRKR coming, with the final dual edition of the series due out in 2023. Additionally, a Random House rep announced in a pre-recorded video that Reeves is working with an unrecorded writer. was revealed about an upcoming novel about the character.
Indeed, a lot of possibilities for a character with an endless storyline, and Reeves is enthusiastic about where he can still take it: “I look forward to discovering more about the character and other times. each other, and that’s really rare.”