Last week, I wrote about how it came to be that Keanu Reeves is in Always Be My Maybe: because he’s a big fan of Ali Wong. She and Randall Park had the idea to cast Keanu as Marcus’s (Randall’s character) “worst nightmare” romantic adversary. Keanu wanted to work with Ali, he said yes and brought his own ideas to table – those ideas clearly being to lean into his image, to not take himself too seriously. And if you saw the movie this weekend, you enjoyed the results of that. Twitter clearly enjoyed it. That restaurant scene has launched a thousand memes. Hot off the success of John Wick 3, Keanu is now a comedy god. His performance in that restaurant scene is Oscar-worthy. I’m serious. Let’s unpack the beginning of it:
It’s not just how extra he is when he makes his entrance. That’s just the beginning. You know what kills me? It’s when the camera cuts to Jenny after he tells her that “the only stars that matter are the ones you look at when you dream” (LOLOLOL) – there are tears streaming down her face. This is when Jacek lost it. I lost it at the gesture Keanu makes after he tells Marcus that Tom Ford made his jacket. Go back and watch it right now. At the 2:09 mark. You see what he does with his arms? That douchebag double arm jerk-and-stretch? These are the small things that layer a really great comedic turn.
That’s due to Keanu’s willingness, of course, but let’s also give credit to Ali and Randall for imagining it – and going for it. As Ali told The Atlantic, “[Keanu] was flattered that we remembered he was Asian American”.
And from there Nahnatchka Khan directed the sh-t out of what she was given on the pages, setting up the shots so that all actors’ expressions were captured in the moment, as the Keanu parts are funny not just because of Keanu but because of how everyone else is reacting to him. And, of course, there has to be space for improvisation when you’re dealing with that kind of bonkers talent. More on the work of Always Be My Maybe, hopefully, on this week’s episode of Show Your Work. I’ve aggressively pitched it to Duana.
Netflix, as we know, is notorious for not releasing ratings. Given the online buzz generated by Always Be My Maybe this weekend though, it looks like, once again, they’ve produced another rom-com hit, smartly releasing it two weeks after John Wick 3, making wonderfully effective use of the biggest Movie Star of the summer. We’ll get to Keanu again later this morning.
Yours in gossip,