It Took Some Convincing Before Keanu Reeves Would Do His Own Stunts For Speed

The appeal of “Speed” rests in its careful balance between realism and absurdity. A lot of the things that take place in the film only work if we suspend our disbelief a bit. In order to sell some of the more outlandish elements of the film, it was necessary that the audience feel connected to the characters through it all. To director Jan de Bont, that meant seeing those characters — and the actors that played them — doing their own stunts.

“I feel like my whole idea for [‘Speed’] was to be with the characters as much as possible, to let the actors do as much as the stunts themselves,” de Bont told The Huffington Post in 2014. To de Bont, “stunt doubles and covers” had their purpose, but they also took audiences out of the moment. Maintaining continuity felt “more realistic, but also, you can understand why the actor or the character reacts in a certain way … unlike when they anticipate something on a green screen.”

With de Bont’s encouragement, Reeves did end up performing a lot of his own stunts — for one example, the moment when his character Jack boards the bus from a moving car. “He said ‘It’s way too dangerous,'” de Bont recalled, “and I told him it was basically like stepping onto an escalator. You just move up!”

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