When it was revealed at this year’s E3 that Keanu Reeves would have a starring role in Cyberpunk 2077, the announcement was met with much astonishment. It felt like for a period of time we were talking more about him than the game itself, but considering how he’ll have the second most amount of lines in the game, maybe it’s not too far off from reality. Now the game’s story director talks about what the renowned actor brings to the narrative through his portrayal of Johnny Silverhand.
In the latest issue of Xbox: The Official Magazine (Issue 180), Marcin Blacha talked about what Reeves adds to the role of Johnny Silverhand. Johnny is a major character in the Cyberpunk lore, and Reeves infused the same kind of energy into it as he does with his film roles, which helps create a complex dynamic for the character.
“It’s a complex relationship, definitely something that will evolve and grow as you play,” said Blacha about the relationship between Johnny and the protagonist, V. “Johnny is an icon and a very powerful character, but—in their own way—so is V. Both will often butt heads, but I think they will also learn something from each other.”
“Keanu Reeves has this history of playing characters who fight for something and Silverhand is definitely fighting for something,” he continued. “Or at least he was in 2020. When we thought of an actor for this role, we didn’t approach it on a ‘who’s the biggest celebrity now’ basis —the actor had to have a connection with the character, so it made sense. Cyberpunk 2077 is not a game about Keanu Reeves, it’s a game about Johnny who is played by Keanu. I think it’s something often forgotten when casting for roles for games.
“Similarly, remember Emperor Emhyr in The Witcher 3? When we decided to cast Charles Dance, he just made sense for that role—he had this regal aura to him, also because of who he played in Game Of Thrones back then. I think that history played a role in how Johnny finally turned out. A good actor, and Keanu is a great actor, will always infuse their character with a bit of their own special thing. I think, thanks to Keanu, Johnny is more relatable and complex, but at the same time has not lost any of his original rebelliousness and punch.”
Reeves is a world class actor, and Johnny Silverhand sounds like an interesting mix between the roles he’s known for now (such as John Wick) and some of those in the past (like The Matrix). Either way, the actor will definitely bring something interesting to the table when Cyberpunk 2077 launches on April 16th, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.