A-list celebrity Keanu Reeves is joining with Mind MGMT creator Matt Kindt for a new, 12-issue limited series from BOOM! Studios, marking Reeves's first time as a comic book writer. BRZRKR, which will launch on October 7, will be a monthly series with art by Alessandro Vitti, which the writers describe as "action-packed and hyper-violent." Like so many comics being developed these days, it isn't necessarily a movie pitch -- but nobody, including Reeves, an obvious choice to play the lead if it were to happen, would be sad or surprised if a movie happened as a result of the project.
According to the first descriptions, BRZRKR "centers on a warrior who looks a lot like a certain beloved actor and has walked a blood-soaked path across the world for centuries. In present day, the Berzerker does dangerous jobs for the U.S. government in exchange for the truth about his existence." From that description, it sounds a bit like John Wick meets Wolverine, but Reeves says that he wants to make sure the character has a sense of humor and warmth, and isn't just a relentless killing machine.
"We're excited about what's happening," Reeves told USA Today, who broke the news. "The story's taking some really interesting twists and turns."
The article says that Reeves went into BOOM! with an idea to create material that would serve as potential springboards for live-action adaptations. His first pitch was about "this character who was born 80,000 years ago, half man, his father's a war god. It's a little fantasy in reality," the actor explained. "I had this image in my head of a guy fighting through the ages because of his father's compulsion to violence," but feeling not aggressive but trapped.
BOOM! editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon says that working with Reeves is more than just attaching a famous name to the project, and that the actor understands the fundamentals of storytelling and character.
"Spend five minutes with Keanu and it becomes clear very quickly why he's earned all the success he has," Ganon told USA Today. "Exceptional creative instincts, deep reservoirs of wisdom on story, the ability to consistently tap into the raw emotion of a moment, relentless commitment to quality and the task at hand – it's all this and much more that make Keanu an inspiring force."
Reeves brings creativity to "the action and the backstory of the characters," Kindt says, "and he's been open to me inserting my fascination for history, conspiracies and espionage into the mix along with a fragmented narrative structure."
Sinec the character is ancient and can't due due to aging, The Berzerker pretends to die every so often so that he can move on to the next thing, according to the report. At the start of the series, the character is lying low in the United States, and working with the government, running missions for them in exchange for their help uncovering th truths abut his past.
"But then of course there's ulterior motives on both sides," teased Reeves.
He will have been around for a long time but, Reeves promised, his perfect memory and longevity won't mean everything comes easily to him. Reeves used the example that an issue might have a moment of levity when he corrects poorly translated hieroglyphics, but responds to other questions about the past with, basically, "Hey man, I wasn't everywhere. I'm just one guy."
Reeves told the newspaper that he had grown up thinking he might write or draw comics, and had an inkling that he would like to play Wolverine as an actor. He cited everything from Richie Rich to Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers to Frank Miller and Ghost Rider in shaping his reading life. And, of course, he has already played one comic book role -- John Constantine, a part that rumors are now suggesting Warner Bros. is interested in bringing him back to.
He also said that, as part of BOOM!'s first-look deal with Netflix, he would love to play The Berzerker, but if he can't, he hopes the movie gets made anyway.