Just in time for the recent release of Bill & Ted Face the Music, speculation surrounding Keanu Reeves’s agelessness has reemerged. Between his youthful aura and the ancient wisdom he dispenses, he seems unstuck in time: a result of hacking The Matrix, maybe, or facing off with Death himself. This theory first gained prominence online around a decade ago, and rose to virality with the establishment of the website keanuisimmortal.com, which posits that he has lived under many names throughout history, including as the French actor Paul Mounet, whose body was never found and who bears a mysterious resemblance to Keanu. We spoke to Davide, the devoted and mysterious man (with one name) behind the website, who enlightened us on Reeves’s immortality.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about this. How are you?
I’m well, all things considered, apart from the fact that we’ve been in lockdown since March.
You’re based in Melbourne. What’s it like there?
We went into semi-lockdown in March. Then, they pretty much lifted the lockdown, we had a second wave, and now we are in full lockdown. This has not been the best-managed situation.
Are movie theaters closed in Australia?
Yeah, they’re closed. I don’t know about mainstream cinemas, but the smaller, more boutique cinemas are doing some form of streaming in which you pay for a ticket.
How did you first develop this Keanu Is Immortal conspiracy theory, meme, website, concept — all of it?
I actually had to think about it when you asked me to do an interview, because I completely forgot. It all started in 2010; the website turned ten in June. Which is a very long time. I’m not gonna claim I’m the person that first came up with it, but I’m definitely the person that capitalized and developed it. The details are really fuzzy. I saw that someone posted the photo of Mounet, the actor, saying, “This kind of looks like Keanu Reeves.” That was on Reddit, when Reddit was still kind of a niche website. And then, we all started putting together information and things. That was when the first image, which is at the top of the website, was born. It was a collaborative effort of people tracking down other people who looked like Keanu. But the first ever was Paul Mounet.
And part of the theory with Paul Mounet is that not only was he an actor, but his body was never found.
Yes, exactly. And then at the time, there was a change on Wikipedia, which went viral for a while, and it kind of spiraled from there. [Note: In 2010, the Wikipedia page for the actor Paul Mounet featured the addition, “He currently acts under the pseudonym of Keanu Reeves. The source of his eternal youth is not known.”]
How long did that stay up on Wikipedia?
It actually stayed for quite a while. I think at least a couple of weeks.
I feel like that could never happen anymore.
No no no. At the time, unless you wrote, like, horrible, damaging lies, a lot of stuff flew under the radar. Like unless you wrote something offensive or defamatory, I think it was pretty lax. Until, of course, I posted the screenshot on the website and I think they kind of caught on to it.
Did you make the video about this theory that popped up in 2009?
That was by someone else. The thing is that I never dedicated my life to this, I never wanted to make any money off of this. For me, it was just a way to spread some joy, like for somebody to stumble upon it and have a laugh. But over the years, people have made T-shirts and Youtube videos. There was a channel that did a massively long video about these conspiracy theories. I had nothing to do with that. It kind of spiraled out of control on its own.
So when you started the website, Keanu was — or we’ve been told to believe he was — 45. He’s “55” now. How well do you think your theory holds up, ten years later?
He looks really good. Like, surprisingly good. I mean, I can give you two answers: the official one, and my personal opinion. My personal opinion is that he’s aging really well. I think he’s also someone who’s embracing his own aging. Like, I see a lot of Hollywood actors trying to appear younger than they really are with, let’s say, varying success. Some pull it off. Whereas he’s letting himself age naturally, and I think it shows in a very nice way.
[But] I like to keep it so that my official stance is “I 100 percent believe in this theory.” Because I want to keep it alive.
What are some of the most interesting theories about Keanu’s immortality that you’ve seen in the comments or sent to you?
The best thing in general was when Keanu acknowledged the website on Jimmy Fallon. I actually got woken up, because I had alarms on the server and the server was going wild. I was like, What’s going on, here? And then I realized that there had been that segment. And I screenshotted the bit where he says, “Yes, I know about it,” and framed it. It’s in the middle of my family photos. It’s one of the highlights, because he was so cool about it.
And crucially, he didn’t deny it.
He didn’t deny it, yes! Which further proves that this is not a theory; this is some form of time-traveling. And I think he was actually telling us, in some way. He gave us the first hint with Bill & Ted, and then The Matrix. He’s proving it, himself. And also now with Cyberpunk; it’s proof that he’ll be alive in 2077.
And he’s also in Dracula, so there’s a possible theory, too.
Yes! And to connect back to your question, I got some emails that were incredible, which is why I made the decision to add comments on the website, which I encourage you to read because there’s some stuff in there that’s really weird. Like, to the point where I’m not entirely sure where the line between fact and fiction lies anymore. But one of the most interesting emails I got was very long, from someone telling me that I stumbled upon something that I shouldn’t have stumbled upon, and imploring me to stay safe. Like, he’s dedicated several years of his life to following this immortal race, which is connected to the angels, which were the true gods depicted in the Bible. So he started the email with “stay safe” and I started to laugh, like, This is just someone mocking me, right? And then I kept reading, and I was like, No, maybe he actually believes this. It was super, super long. It’s incredible.
Are you a history buff?
No, not much. [More] contemporary history.
Who came up with the Charlemagne connection? [One of Keanu’s alleged historical aliases on the keanuisimmortal.com website is Charlemagne, featuring an illustration that resembles Keanu and the caption: “Aside from the striking resemblance, the account of the death of Charlemagne raises suspicion. First of all he crowned his son just before dying (just like he knew he was going to “die”) secondly his burial was rushed during cold weather, this is a clear hint that they needed to bury a body to not raise any suspicion.”]
I think I did. The sad thing is that over the years, my priorities changed and life got in the way, but at one point I had a folder of all of the historical figures that got posted, and there were a lot. And some of them were very, very far-fetched. I remember something someone sent me, and I always swore I was going to add it to the website, and then never did […]
I found it: someone sent me a photo of a church with a stained-glass window that looks exactly like him. It’s actually crazy. I have to add this. Thanks to you, I’m going to update the website. [Note: Davide has not yet added the stained glass Keanu to the website, but since our conversation he has made an agelessrudd.com website “Inspired by Vulture’s quiz.”]
Did you think you’d still be keeping this Keanu Is Immortal conspiracy page going as a hobby, ten years from now?
No, absolutely not. It was one of those things where I seized the moment. I grew up with a very big sense of responsibility, and now I feel responsible for this, so I’m gonna keep it alive, always. Until I discover the truth!
Were you a big Keanu fan before this?
As much as anyone in the world is a Keanu fan, right? So yes, I really like him as an actor. I loved him in The Matrix. And I’m going to give you a super fun fact: I swear to you this is true, and it’s super weird. I was watching Bill & Ted for the first time, and when I finished watching Bill & Ted, you sent me the email [reaching out for an interview].
I’m from Italy, and bizarrely, Bill & Ted is one of those rare movies that didn’t make it in Italy. I would say a large portion, like 99 percent, of cult American movies are also cult Italian movies. But some movies, for one reason or another, don’t make it. Like Bill & Ted came out, but it never became what it is in English-speaking countries. Which is why I never actually got around to watching it, and watched it for the first time in 2020.
Does the person who dubs Keanu in Italian do, like, a Keanu voice?
No, I don’t think so. It has a very peculiar tone. But the voice actor for Keanu is a very famous voice actor, Luca Ward, who also dubs Samuel L. Jackson.
Yes, and don’t get me wrong, they’re very good actors. They change tone, and they kind of do an interpretation. He’s the official voice of Pierce Brosnan, Samuel L. Jackson, Keanu Reeves, and Russell Crowe.
That’s quite the portfolio.
Yeah, not bad.
So what did you think of Bill & Ted?
I really liked it. I think it’s a quintessential ’80s movie, which is going to be very hard to replicate, now. There’s some stuff that’s epic in there. And the message in general, “be excellent to one another,” could be good in 2020 as well.
It’s what’s so great about Keanu. He exudes wisdom.
Yes he does. Because he is immortal. And it’s easy for him to portray these characters because he has lived all of them, many times over.