Is Keanu Reeves immortal? Unpacking the conspiracy behind the actor's eternal youth
It's been over three decades since Hollywood first fell in love with Keanu Reeves in the late 1980s, but the passage of time has done little to diminish his charm - or his good looks.
In fact, some of the actor's fans think he looks a little too good for his 57 years, and have sparked a curious conspiracy theory that Keanu Reeves may actually be immortal.
The theory has its roots in the actor's youthful appearance and the little acts of kindness he's known for, but the rabbit hole goes far, far deeper than that.
Multiple identities through time
According to futurist and philosopher Dr Richard Hames, Reeves has been seen across multiple centuries, going back as far as 700 AD.
He tells Yahoo News' Conspiracies Unpacked that the "first sighting" of Reeves is as Charles the Great, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire.
Paintings of the medieval emperor do bear a resemblance to Reeves, and the circumstances surrounding his death also invite suspicion as Charles' body was hurriedly buried the same day he died.
Charles is said to have passed away of natural causes just months after he established his son as his successor, leading conspiracy theorists to speculate that the whole thing may have been staged to give Charles (by which they mean, Reeves) an opportunity to depart and establish a new identity elsewhere.
Another compelling historical sighting of Reeves is as early 20th Century actor Paul Mounet, whom Dr Hames says "is definitely a look-alike".
Dr Hames also points to the mystery surrounding Mounet's death, saying, "[his] body, I don't think, was ever found, although there was some conjecture that he died of a heart condition."
Keanu Reeves doesn't deny it
During an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show in 2017, Reeves was asked about his resemblance to these two historical figures, and his response did nothing but fan the flames of suspicion.
When Fallon explained that conspiracy theorists are suggesting Reeves has been seen in different guises through the ages, the actor cryptically said, "We're all stardust baby".
Fallon went on to pull up portraits of Charles the Great and Mounet, and Reeves noted, "I can see we have a likeness in the eyes, and the nose... and the moustache, and the beard, and the cheekbones, and the forehead."
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This interview came after another telling comment Reeves made back in 2014 when he was questioned about giving away millions of his own earnings to people who worked behind the scenes of The Matrix trilogy.
His response was, "Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries."
And if conspiracy theorists are to be believed, that is exactly what the actor plans to do.
The secret to Reeves' agelessness
Believers point to the fact that Reeves hardly seems to have aged in the thirty-plus years he's been in Hollywood as proof he is immortal.
They say that although he's made an effort to change the length and style of his hair and grow a beard, it's only to mask the fact that his actual face has barely changed.
But the question remains - just how has Reeves been able to maintain his ageless visage?
"There's a lot of work being done in the scientific community to extend life and to cure death in terms of treatments, kryogenics, that kind of thing," Dr Hames says, "So it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that he's latched onto a way of maintaining life."
Another possibility conspiracy theorists have posited is that Reeves could be an immortal vampire.
A vampire among us?
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that people have strongly believed in the existence of vampires, particularly from the late Middle Ages through to the 19th century.
"[There's] not just fictional evidence but archaeological evidence that some people were treated as though they were vampires," Dr Hames says.
"Just recently, there was a 500-year-old corpse on show in Poland where the creature's leg had been stapled to the ground with a stake, and a stone had been wedged into his mouth so that he could suck no more."
He adds that, "It's not just an isolated example; in countries like Bulgaria, and eastern Europe generally, there are many incidents of that kind of burial."
While skeletons found with a stake in their chest or a scythe driven through their leg point to the fact that people believed in vampires, it is not evidence that vampires did truly exist.
It certainly did, however, fuel the imaginations of authors who have penned countless works of fiction about terrifying, and increasingly sexy, vampires in the centuries since.
One of the most famous literary vampires, Count Dracula, is said to have been partly inspired by 15th century Transylvanian barbarian Vlad Dracula - also known as Vlad the Impaler - who impaled his victims on stakes and was rumoured to have dipped his bread into their blood.
Interestingly, Reeves stars as one of the protagonists in the 1992 film, Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is based on Stoker's 1897 vampire novel.
Could Reeves' choice to star in that movie - along with so many others that centre around time travel and immortality, like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Matrix and Replicas - hold a secret message?
Many think so and are convinced there could be some merit to this conspiracy theory, but we'll let you make up your own mind.
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