keanu reeves stolen video camera generation um

Screengrab via Generation Um/Phase 4 Films

No, Keanu Reeves did not steal a paparazzo’s camera

Keanu stole a camera, but it’s not what you think.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Keanu Reeves is, by all accounts, a great human being and a great person to work with. His gentle nature and his sense of humor make him just the kind of person you’d expect to steal a paparazzi camera and lead photographers on a wild chase as he runs off smiling. But, contrary to what a lot of people are sharing on the internet today, that didn’t actually happen.

“Here’s Keanu Reeves running off with a camera he just stole from the paparazzi,” claims a hugely viral tweet that was shared more than 12,000 times on Friday.

A Reddit post of one of the photos—which were originally published in 2010—makes the same claim, “Keanu Reeves stealing a camera from the paparazzi.”

It’s a perfect Keanu story that fits right in with real parts of his legend, like the times he’s taken pay cuts so productions could afford to bring on other big stars, or the time he gave up $50 million(!) in Matrix profits to the franchise’s costume designers and special effects staff, or the time he casually picked up a hitchhiker. Plus, he’s a a famously private guy: why wouldn’t he have a little fun with the paps?

While we can all agree this would be a fairly Keanu thing to do, and the photos appear to show him doing it, he was actually just filming a scene for a movie. In Generation Um…, filmed in 2010 and released in 2012, Keanu’s character “impulsively steals a video camera from a playground where a performance is taking place and is chased into the subway, narrowly escaping harm,” according to the New York Times review.

I’ll take the NYT’s word for it. I haven’t actually seen Generation Um…, which has a 0% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and neither have most other people. That’s probably why few recognized the “paparazzi” photos as a scene from the movie.

Here it is, though, right in the middle of the trailer:

Keanu Reeves is a Hollywood hero and a sweet guy, and he recently won over a new generation of fans with the John Wick movies, all of which combines to make this the time and place for a made-up camera theft story. Bummer that it isn’t true.

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