Sensible and conflict-free guy Keanu Reeves in the early 2000s turned out to be in a film in which he did not want to appear. All due to the fact that Reeves did not want to get involved in litigation with his former friend.
In the mid-nineties, Reeves, already a big star, decided to help his friend Joe Cherbanik. Cherbanik, who really wanted to become a director, after playing hockey with Keanu Reeves, showed him the script of his future film. The tape was supposed to be small and independent.
Keanu Reeves decided to support a friend and agreed to star in his directorial debut in a small role. As Reeves later said – he just wanted to support a friend by stopping by for a couple of days to shoot. It seems that the name of the superstar would help raise interest in the picture and Cherbanik’s career would go up.
However, when the Matrix was released, Universal Studios acquired the rights to the small painting Observer. The script went quickly to change and the role of Keanu Reeves greatly expanded. The budget of the tape has grown to $ 50 million.
Keanu Reeves, who claimed that he only verbally agreed to shoot in the film, tried to refuse to participate, but it turned out that Cherbanik had Reeves’s signature on the contract.
Reeves himself has always stated that this signature is fake. With his lawyers, he even thought of suing Cherbanik. But Reeves was convinced that proving a fake would be very problematic due to the fact that everyone knows about the friendship that connected Cherbanik and Reeves. As a result, such a thing can last for several years and it’s not at all a fact that it will end with Reeves victory.
In the end, Keanu Reeves decided to star in the film in order to get rid of obligations and forget about this story.
Universal Studios, which, it seems, was completely unaware of such frauds, paid $ 5 million for the rights to rent the film. Not wanting to argue with Keanu, she agreed with him that they would practically not show him in the trailers of the film and would completely free him from the advertising campaign.
And Reeves had to sign an agreement under which he was obliged to remain silent about this whole situation for a year after the release of “Observer” for hire. Which Keanu did before 2001.
The funniest thing about this situation is that Keanu Reeves’s fee was completely tiny. His participation in the film was paid under trade union agreements for aspiring actors. Reeves often freaked out, because James Spader and Marisa Tomei, who also played in the film, received a million dollars each.
Having been in cinemas in September 2000, the Observer completely failed at the box office and received devastating reviews, both from critics and from viewers. Keanu Reeves earned a nomination for Golden Raspberries.
Cherbanik’s career did not work out. After the failure of the “Observer”, no one else wanted to work with him. And the maximum that he could count on was small roles in films that went straight to the video.