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Raven-haired beauty Lori Petty was the only lead female cast member of this testosterone-fueled extreme sports-filled cops and robbers caper, where good guy FBI agent and former college football hero Johnny Utah (Reeves) takes on Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and his gang of thrill-seeking bandits. Petty played the love interest and even got in on some of the action with some surfing. Petty is full of sass and independence, and even though she is eventually cast as the damsel who needs saving, gives a powerfully memorable performance, stealing every scene she’s in with Reeves.
What She’s Done Since: Petty had a string of hits after Point Break, including A League of their Own, Free Willy and the cult hit Tank Girl before before making the shift to television where she continues to work on a number of popular series. She is set to return the big screen in Fear, Love, and Agoraphobia.
High-wattage charm made Sandra Bullock the real star of Speed playing Annie, a rider on a bus who gets thrust into action when a bomb is discovered on board and the bus driver is wounded. Reeves plays LA cop Jack Traven who manages to climb on and rescue the passengers, though not without the exceptional fortitude and courage of Annie who keeps the pedal to the floor and charisma full throttle, winning over Traven and every person in the theater.
What She’s Done Since: Following Speed, Bullock had a few flops but managed to bounce back and become a huge star, winning an Academy Award for 2009’s The Blind Side. She would work with Reeves one more time in The Lake House (2006), while continuing to take roles in high profile films.
Sánchez-Gijón is Victoria Aragon, a grad student who is pregnant by her professor in the first years after World War II. Reeves plays Paul Sutton, a veteran who has returned home to find his wife estranged and so on a train, while looking for a new job, meets Victoria who is going home to traditional values that will not accept her current situation, so Paul agrees to pretend to be her husband while he passes through, gaining the favor of her family, expect her father. Sánchez-Gijón is sensual and captivating, giving the film its heart and making this easily the best drama that Reeves has ever done.
What She’s Done Since: Sánchez-Gijón has found great success in Italian film and occasionally returns to Hollywood, including a role in Christian Bale’s, 2005 drama The Machinist.
Meyer plays Jane, a cybernetically-enhanced bodyguard who helps Johnny (Reeves), a mnemonic courier with a data storage device implanted in his brain, to escape the Yakuza and introduces him to some people who might be able to restore the lost memories of his childhood. A fairly tepid thriller, Jane remains an invigorating character who is a strong female lead, powerful and sexy, independent and vulnerable. Meyer is fun to watch and really elevates the action, despite the lackluster film.
What She’s Done Since: Mnemonic was Meyer’s movie debut, but has gone on to have a full career, mostly on television, though has found roles in such films as Starship Troopers, Star Trek: Nemesis, and the Saw series.
Freddie Clayton (Diaz) is a former stripper forced to marry Sam (Vincent D’Onofrio) to settle a debt but is in love with Jjacks (Reeves), Sam’s brother. The crime comedy/drama didn’t do quite so well, but Diaz, who was still fresh off her explosive debut in Jim Carrey’s The Mask, was the real discovery. Reeves is actually a surprise, showing some real promise as a leading man, but it’s Diaz that wins the day. As powerfully sexy as she had made in her start, here she debuts her excellent comedic timing and range, something that made her the real star, despite some good performances by the rest of the cast.
What She’s Done Since: Absolutely skyrocketing to superstardom following the success of Something About Mary a few years after Feeling Minnesota, Diaz has become one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood, starring in a long list of titles, from comedy to drama, some good some bad. The Shrek series is probably her most popular work, though she’s made a splash in the absurd Charlie’s Angel‘s franchise and a number of acclaimed hits. She shows no sign of slowing down.
Theron plays Mary Ann Lomax, the wife of Kevin Lomax (Reeves), a talented young lawyer who earns a job at at an upscale, high-powered firm when he shows he’s willing to forego anything to win. Mary ends up lonely and feeling slightly abandoned, but is soon pulled into the fray, seeing strange and horrific visions that has her convinced things are not right. While Reeves and Al Pacino, who plays John Milton, are great battling each other in this tense thriller, much of the film’s memorable moments come from the electric presence of Theron. While her time is limited on screen, her performance is equal to her co-stars and helps to make The Devil’s Advocate one of Reeves’ best and most popular films.
What She’s Done Since: A radiant beauty, Theron has transformed herself time and time again, winning the Academy Award for Monster in 2003 playing a serial killer. She’s earned a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most bankable actresses, challenging herself in many diverse roles that have drawn many fans. She and Reeves teamed up again a few years later in Sweet November, a romantic drama that didn’t fair as well, but proved more so that Theron was a rising star. One of the busiest female stars working today, she continues to produce highly entertaining performances in all genres, most recently alongside Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road.
There isn’t a fan of sci-fi movies on the planet who doesn’t know the word ‘Trinity”. The female lead in the mind-bending thrillers, Trinity is more than the love interest to the film’s protagonist Neo (Reeves), she is the heart and the very core that binds him to the story and the fate of humanity. A fiercely proud and enigmatic figure, Trinity is a powerful force in the resistance against the Matrix and assisting Neo free Zion and the human race. While the movies have come to define Reeves, and a number of colorful characters have emerged as fan favorites, atop any list is always the leather bound woman in the dark glasses that holds her own no matter where she is. Sexy both in and out of the program, she is more so an inspiring female character, vulnerable but strong.
What She’s Done Since: While not finding the success she deserves after the Matrix films ended, Moss is still working regularly in film and television, most recently in the Netflix superhero series, Jessica Jones.
Tomei plays a therapist named Dr. Polly Beilman, who tries to counsel FBI Special Agent Joel Campbell (James Spader) after a series of murders fills him with guilt. The killer, played by Reeves, taunts Campbell, and eventually, of course, kidnaps Beilman and warns he will slice her throat. Can Campbell arrive in time to save her and redeem himself? Not many people really cared in this by-the-numbers ‘thriller’ that is considered one of Reeves’ all-time worst. Tomei has a limited but crucial role, and is reduced to playing the damsel in distress, but is effective in the part, appropriately convincing in the trope-ish role. The film is a mess, but Tomei makes the latter part shine.
What She’s Done Since: Tomei had already won an Academy Award for her comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny in 1993 by the time she was cast in this film. She’s been working non-stop as well in some major Hollywood and independent movies and working with many of the top male leads of the time. She’s recently made the transition to television, guest-starring on Empire.
Weiz is Det. Angela Dodson, whose twin sister has just committed suicide, though Dodson refuses to believe it. She contacts famed mystical expert John Constantine (Reeves) to help her in the investigation, learning that in fact, he is a Demon hunter who has been to literal Hell and fighting to keep Earth safe. While the film itself is a dismal telling, with Reeves unable to give the admittedly goofy story any emotional weight, Weiz does her best and has some real moments that transcend the overall work, giving the movie its only real sense of authenticity. (And special nod to Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, who has a brief but impactful presence).
What She’s Done Since: Weiz has had a long and varied career in the movies, earning an Academy Award a year after this for The Constant Gardner. Never truly achieving mainstream leading lady status, the lovely and talented Weiz has made significant contributions to both large-scale major studio productions and small independent films.
Farmiga plays Julie Ivanova, a woman who literally bumps into Henry Torne (Reeves), a guy who just got out of jail for doing a crime he didn’t commit. But that won’t stop him from doing one now. This bland film sees Reeves totally miscast as it tries to be a peculiar comedy and while most of the cast are up for it, Reeves can’t find the right tone. Farmiga, who is his eventual love interest (and muse) is magnetic though, as usual, and is the bright spot in this rather dull production that should have been far better.
What She’s Done Since: This Oscar nominated actress has been slowly building a strong name for herself, finding roles in a some high profile films, such as The Departed and Up in the Air. Since Henry’s Crime, she’s best known for The Conjuring and more recently on television’s Bates Motel.
(Okay, so 12 women) de Armas and Izzo play two highly manipulative and rather disturbing young women who have some issues with Evan (Reeves) and decide to play a deadly little game in his house while his wife and kids are away. Using sex like a bear trap, the girls do more than turn the introverted but wealthy Evan’s life upside down, they terrorize him to the very edge of insanity. Wildly sexy, the girls are also clever and intelligent, playing silly but clearly not. Reeves is his typical sullen self, and for a time it works, but it soon runs out of steam while the women go opposite, injecting every scene with outrageous enthusiasm. If it weren’t for this, the film would slip into oblivion, but because of who they are, remains entertaining. (Read our review)
What They’ve Done Lately: Both de Armas and Izzo are new to the game, though are making some impressions. Izzo worked with Knock Knock director Eli Roth in an earlier film called The Green Inferno (review) and de Aramas recently completed a second film with Reeves called Exposed (review). We’ll be seeing lots more of these talented women in many films to come.
Who have we forgotten? Who are some other women in Keanu Reeves’ movies that made the films better? Let us know in the comments below.