Keanu Reeves is terrified when it comes to acting and deepfake technology. During a recent interview with Wired ahead of the release of “John Wick: Chapter 4,” Reeved railed against deepfake technology making its way into Hollywood. “The Matrix” and “John Wick” actor even confirmed that he has a clause in every one of his movie contracts that prevents studios from digitally manipulating his performances.
“Yeah, digitally. I don’t mind if someone takes a blink out during an edit,” Reeves said. “But early on, in the early 2000s, or it might have been the ’90s, I had a performance changed. They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, ‘Huh?!’ It was like, I don’t even have to be here.”
“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” Reeves continued about deepfakes. “When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, sociological impacts, and the species is being studied. There’s so much ‘data’ on behaviors now.”
Reeves said a recent conversation about “The Matrix” with a 15-year-old put things into a terrifying perspective. The actor explained to the teenager that his character, Neo, is fighting for what’s real. The teenager scoffed and said, “Who cares if it’s real?”
“People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art,” Reeves said. “It’s cool, like, Look what the cute machines can make! But there’s a corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things. Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the non-value. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?”
“It’s this sensorium. It’s spectacle. And it’s a system of control and manipulation,” Reeves continued. “We’re on our knees looking at cave walls and seeing the projections, and we’re not having the chance to look behind us.”
“John Wick Chapter 4” opens in theaters March 24 from Lionsgate.