Apocalypse Now and The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Dracula was a huge box office success when it was first released in 1992, going on to earn over $215 million and win three Academy Awards. Even 30 years later, the movie still endures as a cult favorite largely due to two factors. The first is Gary Oldman’s scenery-devouring turn as the title character, and the second is just how awful Keanu Reeves‘ acting is.
At the time, people were incredibly skeptical about how the young star who had just featured in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey could possibly convince as an English-accented legal practitioner in a lavish period piece, and these concerns turned out to be well-founded in what remains one of the worst performances of the action legend’s entire career.
His co-star Winona Ryder didn’t exactly fare much better, but at least the two struck up a friendship that remains strong to this day. In fact, in a recent interview, Ryder revealed that in a scene where Coppola decided that she wasn’t crying enough, the filmmaker attempted to get the actress’ co-stars to verbally abuse her with insults in an attempt to generate an emotional reaction, but all-round good guy Keanu refused to take part in such a thing.
“To put it in context, I’m supposed to be crying. Literally, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu. Francis was trying to get all of them to yell things that would make me cry, but Keanu wouldn’t, Anthony wouldn’t. It just didn’t work. I was like, ‘Really?’. It kind of did the opposite.”
Based on the finished movie, it doesn’t seem like there would have been any way to wring a decent performance out of Ryder, insults or not. However, the story just reinforces the well-know fact that Keanu Reeves has always been one of the nicest guys in the business, who had far too much respect for his co-star to insult her just to add some extra emotion to a scene.