The Reason Keanu Turned Down The Lead Role in Platoon is Peak Irony

The Reason Keanu Turned Down The Lead Role in Platoon is Peak Irony
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Reading about what ifs and things that could be in Hollywood history is sometimes truly fascinating.

Take, for the example, casting for the role of US Army volunteer Chris Taylor in Platoon.

As we all know, Oliver Stone eventually selected Charlie Sheen, whom he deemed the perfect person for the role because he was "…perfectly wide-eyed and had a vaguely privileged look," as Stone noted in a Platoon anniversary interview.

But there were a number of other candidates for playing the soldier who was basically a reflection of Oliver Stone's own dramatic experiences during the Vietnam War. Those included Kyle MacLachlan (best known for his role in Twin Peaks ) and the two actors who later became really famous, but at that time (1986) had yet to reach the ranks of big stars – Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves.

Keanu, in fact, was only just starting his movie career by that point. Oliver Stone himself confirmed rumors that they were candidates.

While Charlie Sheen just happened to be a better Chris Taylor than the rest of people auditioned for the role, even before Charlie was selected, Keanu rejected the role for a reason that is ironic and hilarious in retrospect.

As Stone said in the above-mentioned interview, "Keanu turned it down because of the violence. He didn't want to do violence."

Well, that surely can raise a few eyebrows, given that today Keanu Reeves' most famous scenes are probably Neo's stylish fights in Matrix, and that his next most notable role after Matrix, which first made him famous, is that of the titular character in equally violent but grittier John Wick movies.

One of the best-known action actors of 2000s rejecting a role because he did not want to do violence!

It might be that at that point of his career Keanu Reeves, who still had quite limited acting experience, simply felt intimidated by the role and its demands.

And Platoon, a film with a fairly limited budget, directed by an already-acclaimed, but not yet especially famous director, was not a project that immediately looked like a box office success and a road to fame for everyone involved that it turned out to be.

In any case, Oliver Stone got the best man for the role, we got to see Charlie Sheen's excellent performance, and Keanu Reeves eventually got his own fame and stardom, even if much later.