13 Tips for Wrapping the Perfect Present From An Expert

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iStock

Growing up, Alton DuLaney received many beautifully-wrapped presents. “My dad was a great gift wrapper,” he tells Mental Floss. “He always made the holidays and birthdays really special.” Those wraps clearly stuck with DuLaney, who grew up to become creative director at Kate’s Paperie and, in 2008, took home the top prize in the Scotch Most Gifted Wrapper Contest (he wrapped, among other things, a baby grand piano).

These days, the artist is helping novices nail their gift wraps via tutorials on Craftsy.com. DuLaney’s motto? Put the present in presentation. “Gift giving should not be stressful,” he says. “It should be something fun. When you gift wrap something, it shows that you put some individual time and attention to make it something special. If you have fun with it, your gift recipient is probably going to have fun with it, too.”

1. PREP YOUR WORKSPACE …

A person wrapping presnts on a clean workspace.
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“Create your workspace before you create,” DuLaney advises. Because he prefers to stand, he makes a sturdy, waist-high table or countertop his base. Whatever you choose to work on, make sure the surface is clean. Ditto your hands: “You don’t want to get lotion or anything that might be on your hands onto the beautiful paper or ribbon,” DuLaney says.

2. … AND HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS ON HAND.

Wrapping paper and scissors.
iStock

No workspace is complete without the proper tools. DuLaney always has a ruler and two pairs of scissors—one for paper and one for ribbon. “Sometimes your paper will have glitter or other things on it that will dull your scissors,” he says. “When you cut your ribbon, you want to have a very super-sharp pair of scissors to get a nice, clean cut.” To tell the difference, he ties a tiny bit of ribbon around the handle of the ribbon scissors.

DuLaney also has two kinds of Scotch tape at the ready: Double-sided for complicated areas, and gift wrap tape with a matte finish “so even when it’s on the outside of the paper, it virtually disappears—you don’t see it.” He also keeps embellishments on hand to decorate the outside of the gift (more on that in a bit). “I like to gather all of those things before I start, and that way, once the creative juices are flowing, you don’t have to stop and say, ‘Where are my scissors? Where’s my tape?’” he says.

3. USE A MEDIUM GRADE PAPER.

A close-up of rolls of wrapping paper.
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If your paper is too thin, it will tear easily, allowing package corners to poke through; too-thick paper, on the other hand, leads to a bulky wrap. DuLaney prefers a medium-grade paper with a bit of a metallic finish, which creates nice, sharp creases.

4. CONSIDER DOING A PRACTICE RUN.

A mother and daughter wrapping presents.
iStock

“This is going to sound crazy, but I always tell people to practice,” DuLaney says. “At the end of the season, I’ll go buy gift wrap on sale, and [next year], I’ll practice my wrapping before I start wrapping.” DuLaney advises practicing with ribbon, too.

If he has a special paper—something hand-painted or hand-stamped—DuLaney will do a dry run with regular paper to see how it will work. “Then I’ll unwrap [the gift] and use that paper as a pattern, just like if you were working with a piece of fabric—you would use a paper pattern to make your fabric pattern,” he says.

5. CAREFULLY MEASURE YOUR PAPER.

A person measuring out wrapping paper.
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To get the most use from your roll, wrap packages with the longest side of the box facing the cut edge of the paper whenever possible. Then, before making your cut, pull the paper up over the sides of the box to measure: You want just enough paper on either side so they slightly overlap in the middle—meaning, each side will be a smidge longer than half the width of your box. “If [the package is] big, I’ll actually break out a ruler, to make sure I have more than half,” DuLaney says. He always errs on the side of too much paper—you can always trim later.

6. PLACE YOUR PACKAGE TOP DOWN—AND NEVER PUT TAPE ON IT.

A picture of a woman's hands wrapping a christmas present.
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When it’s finally time to wrap your gift, place it top down on the paper. Next, pull one edge of the paper just beyond the edge of your gift; fold it to hide the cut edge—the white part, which DuLaney calls “the meat” of the paper. Most people would tape that to the package, but DuLaney advises against that. “When you take that paper off, you want both the ribbon and the paper to just fall away and reveal what’s inside it,” he says. Instead, grab the other side of the paper and pull it under the side with the folded edge. Align the folded edge with the end of the package and tape.

Next, rotate the box to one of the open sides and fold the short sides down to create long flaps; repeat on the other side. “This keeps the package from sliding around inside the paper,” DuLaney says. Fold the flap closest to you downward; then, fold the one closest to your work surface toward you and tape. That way, “when you turn the gift over, and place the bow on top, the side flaps are going down, so you don’t see into the workings of the gift wrap.” Finally, using your finger and your thumb, crease the edges of your wrapped package. You can watch DuLaney walk Jimmy Kimmel through the process here.

7. IF YOU RUN OUT OF PAPER, MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU MEANT TO DO IT.

A present wrapped in a wide ribbon.
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If you mess up and don’t cut enough paper (or are at the end of your roll), it’s no big deal. There are solutions that make it look like that was part of your plan all along—like creating a belly band. “I cut a strip of paper, fold under each edge, and sometimes, I’ll pleat that into a tuxedo fold in the middle, and I’ll tape that to the other paper,” DuLaney says. When he does this, he wraps the gift top-side up. “I’ll have the gift right-side up and will construct the paper on top of the gift, so the belly band becomes the centerpiece.” Have a slice of exposed package on the ends? Use a wide ribbon or embellishments to disguise it.

8. WHEN WRAPPING CYLINDERS, PLEATING IS KEY.

Wrapped packages under the tree.
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There are two ways of dealing with a cylinder: What DuLaney calls the bon-bon method—“where you scrunch the paper on each end and tape the ribbon on it” so it looks like a candy—and pleating. Trust us when we say pleating is easier to do than it is to explain—check out this video for a tutorial.

9. ADD EMBELLISHMENTS.

A present wrapped in plain paper and twine with a twig as an embellishment.
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Once you’re finished wrapping, put the present in presentation by adding embellishments to the outside of the package. This could be as simple as a ribbon, but DuLaney often kicks it up a notch. “I like to give a little gift on the outside that’s a hint of what’s on the inside,” he says. “If I’m giving a book, I might embellish the gift with bookmarks; if I’m giving a journal, I might embellish with a couple of writing instruments on the outside.” Sometimes, his embellishments follow gift wrapping trends. “There are a lot of wood grain papers on the market this season,” he says. “You can wrap with that and embellish with a sprig of rosemary from your garden or a bough of holly from your holiday tree.”

10. EMBRACE UNUSUAL SHAPES.

A bike with tinsel on it.
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Wrapping boxes is easy, but what happens if what you need to wrap isn’t box-shaped? DuLaney has several methods for dealing with this. The first—and easiest—is to grab a gift bag. “When I do a gift bag, I gift wrap my gift bag,” he says. “I’ll add a ribbon or a bow around the handle, or I’ll replace the handle with a matching ribbon.” Other times, he might wrap something tangentially related to a gift to place under the tree before revealing the real deal. “If I’m giving someone a tennis racket, I’ll wrap a tennis ball, and when they open that, I’ll present them the racket with a bow on it,” he says.

Another method is to wrap your gift to look like exactly what it is. “Last year on Jimmy Kimmel, I wrapped a vacuum cleaner, and it looked exactly like a vacuum cleaner,” DuLaney says. “[The gift] is a gorgeous paper sculpture when you’re done, but of course there’s no mystery as to what’s inside it.”

If you prefer to camouflage a gift, prepare to get creative. “I’ve done a bicycle before where I wrapped it in all of this craft paper, created cardboard cutouts, and basically turned it into a deer with a scarf wrapped around its neck,” he says. “You’re so distracted by that—you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s a reindeer!’—that you don’t even think bicycle until you’re inside it.”

Of course, you could buy a box to put your unusually-shaped gift in, but what’s the fun in that?

11. USE DULL SCISSORS TO CURL RIBBON ...

Two rolls of ribbon and a pair of scissors on a white background.
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When using curling ribbon, sharp scissors are not your friend. They won’t just tear the ribbon—they could cut your finger, too. Dull scissors are the way to go. “When the ribbon comes off the spool, the outside of the ribbon is the finished side,” he says. “The part that goes to the inside of the spool is where you want to put your scissor or your curling tool. I put the scissor under the ribbon, put pressure on it from above with my thumb, and pull. The trick is to only do it once.”

12. … BUT DON’T THINK CURLING RIBBON IS YOUR ONLY OPTION.

A close up of a person's hands tying a red ribbon around a present.
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Depending on what kind of look you’re going for, you might opt for a silk ribbon (to which you'd add angled or forked tails) over a curling ribbon. DuLaney likes to use a wire-edge ribbon, which can help those who aren’t used to tying perfect bows create prettier shapes. “The bow holds its shape really well,” he says. “You can hand-shape the tails that are coming off that bow, and they will hold that shape. A satin ribbon is really beautiful, but can be slippery, and curling ribbon has a limp finish to it, which can look sloppy in the end. With wire-edged ribbon, you can create the bow and then really shape it into something you love.”

13. DON’T CUT YOUR RIBBON OFF THE ROLL UNTIL YOUR BOW IS DONE.

A close up of spools of ribbon.
iStock
iStock

Do you eyeball how much ribbon you think you’ll need, cut it off the spool, and hope for the best? Rookie mistake. When he’s tying a bow, DuLaney starts at the top of the gift and gives himself 12 inches of extra ribbon that stays attached to the spool. And, oh yeah, he does his criss-crossing and knotting of the ribbon on top of the gift. “People have a tendency to do that on the bottom of the gift, but then, when they’re done, there’s a bump under there,” he says. “Your gift rocks—it doesn’t sit flat.”

Here’s how DuLaney does it: “I hold the ribbon to the top of the gift with my thumb, wrap my ribbon around the bottom, and bring the ribbon back up to the top of the package, then criss-cross the top of the gift,” he says. “Then I wrap the ribbon lengthwise around the gift, around the bottom, back up to the top, and then I will do my first half knot with the ribbon. I will then tie the bow, and then—and only then—will I cut the ribbon from the spool.”

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

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Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40) 

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75) 

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10) 

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- Fairywill Electric Toothbrush with Four Brush Heads; $19 (save $9)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31) 

TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Home Office Shredder; $33 (save $7)

Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30) 

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

Days Gone for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250) 

- Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS 11.6 inches with 32 GB; $210 (save $20) 

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inches with 32 GB; $100 (save $50)

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $379 (save $20)

- Apple iMac 27 inches with 256 GB; $1649 (save $150)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $179 (save $20) 

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens; $549 (save $100)

DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

25 Excellent Facts About Keanu Reeves

Jason Merritt, Getty Images
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Keanu Reeves has been a Hollywood fixture since the mid-1980s, shifting from early dramatic turns in films like River’s Edge (1986) to action thrillers like Speed (1994), The Matrix (1999), and John Wick (2014) and an indelible performance as Theodore “Ted” Logan in the Bill & Ted franchise.

For more on the actor, including why he believed he was sent to “movie jail” for a decade, read on.

1. Despite—or perhaps because of—his multicultural background, Keanu Reeves has never become an American citizen.

Sebastian Willnow, AFP/Getty Images

Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964, Reeves moved to Sydney, Australia and then New York City and (eventually) Toronto, following his mother Patricia’s wedding to her second husband. Born of Chinese, English, Irish, Native Hawaiian, and Portuguese descent, Reeves maintained a connection to the Canadian city where he spent the most time as a child before obtaining a green card through his American stepfather. To this day, and despite his success in America, Reeves maintains his Canadian citizenship.

2. Hockey kept Keanu Reeves busy as a kid.

In Toronto, Reeves became swept up in the appeal of ice hockey. He played throughout school and even co-coached a hockey club. While there, Reeves had an opportunity to try out for the Windsor Spitfires, a hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. Reeves turned it down, believing his future was in performing. Later, he would portray a hockey pro alongside Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe in 1986’s Youngblood.

3. When Keanu Reeves was a kid, Alice Cooper used to hang out at his house.

Reeves’s mother was a costume designer, which likely contributed to his interest in the performing arts. He told Us magazine in 1995 that she made him some elaborate Halloween costumes—Dracula, Batman, Cousin Itt—and often had some of her clients over to the house. Among them: Alice Cooper. “I remember he brought fake vomit and dog poo to terrorize the housekeeper,” Reeves said. “He’d hang out, a regular dude.”

4. One of Keanu Reeves’s earliest roles was in a Coca-Cola commercial.

After getting parts on stage and Canadian television, Reeves landed a part as a cyclist in a Coke commercial in the 1980s. In 2018, The Late Late Show host James Corden asked the actor about the gig; Reeves remembered shooting over a three-day period, during which he drank “so many Coca-Colas.” In full commitment to the role, he also shaved his legs to look more believable as a cyclist.

5. Keanu Reeves almost renamed himself “Chuck Spadina.”

When Reeves came out to Los Angeles in the 1980s, he found that some casting agents were resistant to having him come in for auditions because his first name (which means “cool breeze over the mountains”) was hard to pronounce and seemingly too exotic. In order to combat this hurdle, Reeves began using “K.C. Reeves,” “Chuck Spadina,” and “Page Templeton III” instead. Reeves eventually abandoned the practice because he would go to auditions and tell them his real name anyway.

6. Keanu Reeves has a deep love for motorcycles.

Caroline Bonarde Ucci, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Reeves first learned to ride a motorcycle while shooting a film in Germany, and purchased one for himself the moment he returned to the U.S. His favorite bike is the 1973 Norton Commando. He also bankrolled a custom motorcycle dealership, Arch Motorcycle Company.

7. Keanu Reeves also has an extensive history of motorcycle-related injuries.

If Reeves doesn’t ride his bike as fast (or often) as he used to, it’s because he’s been in a number of serious accidents while riding them. He has lost teeth, broken his ankle, gotten road rash, and ruptured his spleen, amongst other injuries.

8. In addition to his performances in River’s Edge, Dangerous Liaisons, and Parenthood, Keanu Reeves moonlighted in a music video.

In the same year Reeves appeared in Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death, he also appeared in the music video for Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush,” the lead single from her sophomore album of the same name. Directed by Stefan Wurnitzer, the clip recreates moments from Rebel Without a Cause using locations from the original film, with Reeves playing the James Dean role opposite Abdul as Natalie Wood’s.

9. Keanu Reeves has been willing to defer his salary to get other actors in his movies.

Reeves has worked with an impressive list of actors in his career, including Al Pacino (1997’s The Devil’s Advocate), Gene Hackman (2000’s The Replacements), and Jack Nicholson (2003’s Something’s Gotta Give). In at least the first two instances, Reeves willingly deferred his compensation in order for the productions to free up some of their budget to be able to afford the actors.

"Is that all I have to do?" he recalled asking producers. "Sure! What else do I have to do? ‘Cause I’ll do it!"

10. Keanu Reeves’s commercial success has resulted in him subsidizing more than just a few high-profile casting choices.

Beyond deferring paychecks to work alongside the likes of Pacino and Nicholson, Reeves has earned more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life with a net worth reportedly along the lines of $360 million. But he gave away a portion of his salary for The Matrix sequels to provide more money for the visual effects and costume departments. And as a reward for those same stunt teams, Reeves recognized their great work by gifting them with Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

11. Keanu Reeves’s friendship with River Phoenix led to them co-starring in My Own Private Idaho.

Reeves and River Phoenix first became best friends on the set of I Love You to Death. Writer-director Gus Van Sant had written the script for My Own Private Idaho decades earlier, but continually found difficulty obtaining funding for it. However, after sending the script to Reeves, the young actor was so struck by it that he drove more than 1000 miles on his motorcycle to hand-deliver a copy to Phoenix. The two men agreed to star in the film on each other’s behalf, and history was made.

12. Keanu Reeves has been injured or sidelined by illness multiple times during shooting.

Reeves is known to be a trouper when it comes to shooting through pain, disability, and sickness, and his dedication to his colleagues is legendary. Several of his co-stars on The Matrix were injured during the wire work sequences on the film, and Reeves dealt with a spinal injury during filming when two of the discs in his back began to fuse together. He also suffered a neck injury which required fight coordinator Yuen Woo-Ping to create sequences that didn’t involve as much kicking. Later, he fought through an ankle injury before filming even began on The Matrix Reloaded. And during an extended sequence in the first John Wick movie, a scene in which Reeves's character battles several dozen adversaries in a nightclub, he finished his work despite a 103 degree fever.

13. Keanu Reeves says turning down Speed 2 put him in “movie jail” for 10 years.

After the success of 1994’s Speed, where Reeves portrayed a cop trying to save the lives of people trapped on a bus rigged to explode if it dips below 50 miles an hour, the studio was understandably eager for a sequel. At the time he was shown the script, Reeves was shooting the 1996 action film Chain Reaction and was growing wary of roles where he was “running and jumping” for little to no reason. He turned Speed 2 down, a move that he believed led to a decade of “movie jail” where he was offered no other roles by Fox. Ultimately, the sequel was made; Reeves was replaced by Jason Patric, who co-starred with Sandra Bullock in 1997’s Speed 2: Cruise Control. The film was not well-received, and Reeves appears to have no regrets about saying no to it. At the time he turned it down, he recalled telling director Jan de Bont, “You know, boats aren’t that fast.”

14. Keanu Reeves only became a part of Keanu at the last minute.

John Wick and the 2014 action-comedy Keanu were developed independently from one another, and early reporting about the latter film indicated it was a parody of the former. Consequently, Reeves’s management turned down an offer to appear in the second film without notifying their client. But when Reeves saw the initial trailers for Keanu, he reached out to filmmaker Peter Atencio and got involved, leading to the cameo in which he provides the voice of the eponymous kitten.

15. It’s possible that Keanu Reeves accidentally married Winona Ryder.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

While shooting 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Reeves and Winona Ryder—who played Jonathan and Mina Harker, respectively—appear in a scene in which their characters get married. Ryder later pointed out that director Francis Ford Coppola used a real priest in the scene and that both actors said their vows, meaning they might actually be married. Coppola agreed with this theory, although it’s not known whether the priest used their character names or the actors' real names during shooting.

16. Without Keanu Reeves, Weezer might not exist.

Reeves began the music project Dogstar after a chance encounter at a grocery store with drummer/ percussionist Robert Mailhouse in 1991. The band’s success was decidedly muted at best, but Reeves’s celebrity drove fans to the band and they toured successfully for several years in addition to recording several albums. Among the bands that performed with them on tour was Weezer, who played their first ever gig in 1992 as an opener for Dogstar.

17. Keanu Reeves has been booed offstage.

Reeves infamously toured with his band, Dogstar, in the 1990s, which played what he once described as “like, folk music,” or “folk thrash.” When they were invited to play Metalfest in Milwaukee, the band stood out in sharp contrast to the heavier acts on the bill. Reeves recalled that the crowd “threw beer at us and told us to f*** off and yelled, ‘You suck!’ It was beautiful. It made me laugh.”

18. Keanu Reeves was tricked into appearing in The Watcher.

Keanu Reeves in 2008.Mike Flokis, Getty Images

In 2000’s The Watcher, Reeves plays against his typical onscreen affability as a serial killer in a cat-and-mouse game with a detective (James Spader). According to Reeves, he was actually tricked into appearing in the film when a (presumably former) friend forged his signature on the contract. Daunted by the prospect of trying to prove it was a forgery, he decided to go ahead and do the movie. “I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film,” he said.

19. Keanu Reeves supports several charitable causes.

After his sister was diagnosed with leukemia, Reeves founded a private cancer foundation—not in his own name—to provide research and assist children’s hospitals. He additionally supported Stand Up to Cancer and SickKids Foundations with generous contributions, to facilitate pediatric research.

20. Keanu Reeves has a recurring role on a tv show you've probably never heard of.

It’s not unusual for film actors to take roles in one of the many prestige television series airing on streaming and premium networks. Reeves, however, seems to have taken a low-key approach to television, opting for a small recurring role in Swedish Dicks, a U.S. and Scandinavian co-production about two private detectives from Sweden trying to earn a living in Los Angeles. Reeves’s friend, actor Peter Stormare, is one of the stars. The comedy airs on the Pop TV channel in the U.S.

21. Keanu Reeves has published books of his own poetry.

In 2011, Reeves collaborated with artist Alexandra Grant for Ode to Happiness, a limited-run book featuring a poem written by Reeves and accompanied by Grant’s illustrations for each line. The composition (“I draw a hot sorrow bath”) is self-aware in its overwrought approach that Grant likened to a “grown-up children’s book.” The two have since gone on to work on 2016’s Shadows, a similar poem and art project featuring photos of Reeves, and are now pursuing their own publishing imprint, X Artists’ Books, to showcase titles with a visual aesthetic that are sold via art stores or an online subscription.

22. Keanu Reeves has always actively participated in the physical preparation required for his roles.

Gearing up for Point Break, Reeves spent weeks and weeks learning how to surf, and developed the sport as a hobby. When Reeves was cast in Speed, the actor spent several months gaining muscle for the role. By the time it came to shoot the scene in which his character Jack Traven jumps from a moving car onto the bus, Jan De Bont was convinced that a stunt man would be required, but Reeves has practiced in private and was able to wow the director with his preparation and skill in pulling off the stunt. And just for the scene where Neo emerges from his pod inside The Matrix, Reeves shaved his entire body and lost 15 pounds for what amounted to just a few short minutes of screen time.

23. Keanu Reeves’s passion for—and recognition of—other storytellers’ passion—has led to many of his iconic roles.

Pop TV

As described above multiple times, Keanu took a part or played a role because of an actor ot storyteller’s dedication to a project. Always Be My Maybe was no exception. Casting him in the film was considered a “pipe dream” by director Nahnatchka Khan, but the actor was a longtime fan of comedian and star Ali Wong, so when the opportunity arose, he reworked his schedule to accommodate the film. He even ended up contributing a handful of ideas that expanded his character (at his own expense), like wearing glasses that had no lenses.

24. The John Wick franchise might not exist without The Matrix.

Niko Tavernise, Lionsgate

Reeves signed to star in the film, originally titled Scorn, after Thunder Road Pictures acquired Derek Kolstad’s script. He subsequently reached out to Chad Stahelski and David Leitch to see if they were interested in choreographing or directing the action of the film, after Stahelski performed as Reeves’s stunt double in The Matrix, and he and Leitch later helped choreograph action in the sequels. It was their vision for the film that inspired Reeves to back them not just as stunt coordinators but co-directors for the film.

25. Without John Wick, there might not have been a Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Reeves hadn’t seriously thought about reprising the role of Theodore “Ted” Logan until 2005 when a red carper reporter asked him about returning to the character. It took another five years before Alex Winter had created an idea that everyone felt was substantial or worthy enough to explore for another film. The project spent another several years languishing in development thanks to the commercial prospects of the stars, but the success of John Wick rekindled studio interest in making a third film. That franchise’s success generated heat for all of the films he was attached to, and Bill & Ted 3 picked up steam from there.