The incredible, ageless Reeves: aging celebrity, aging fans, and nostalgia
As a star, Keanu Reeves is timeless. As a celebrity, ageless. Drawing on Jerslev and Petersen’s (eds, 2018) special issue of Celebrity Studies, this article reads Reeves’ star image through the lens of research on ageing celebrities, and ageing fans. While his iconic action roles centre Reeves as an ageing, yet ageless celebrity, the memeification of Reeves has been essential to his resurgent star image with younger fans. As a star notoriously private about his personal life, Reeves’ first public appearance with partner Alexandra Grant in November 2019, and the subsequent shock at the ‘age appropriate’ pairing (rather than the more common image of ageing male star, much younger starlet) added another layer to the discourse around ageing male stars. Finally, Reeves’ reprisal of his role as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan in Bill and Ted Face the Music (BATFTM) (2020) speaks both to his age/lessness and star image, in addition to the nostalgia of his ageing fans. In sum, this paper will interrogate Reeves’ star image as an atypical representation of ageing celebrity masculinity–and how this contributes to his ongoing appeal to ageing fans.
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