'Keanu' Premiere: Key & Peele and Kittens in Do-Rags
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele were joined by co-stars Luis Guzman, Will Forte and Tiffany Haddish, as well as Chelsea Peretti and the entire cast of NBC's 'The Carmichael Show' at the Wednesday night event.
At the Keanu premiere, positioned at the end of the carpet surrounded by cameras sitting on leopard-print couch that sat atop a pedestal was a particularly apathetic cat.
Chelsea Peretti, the entire cast of NBC's The Carmichael Show, Gregg Daniels, Mike Epps, Terry Crews and a slew of other comedic heavy-hitters were at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome for the Wednesday night premiere, but it was clear that the biggest stars were the several felines in attendance.
Keanu features Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as cousins Clarence and Rell, respectively, the latter of which is nursing a nasty break-up by throwing himself into a new relationship with an impossibly adorable kitten that appears on his door step. After the kitten is stolen by a drug kingpin, the cousins assume new identities and go after the little guy.
Co-writer Alex Rubens — who also wrote for the comedic duo's sketch-comedy show, Key and Peele — told The Hollywood Reporter that the original version of the script was kitten-less.
"The first couple of drafts was this movie minus the cat," he said. Instead of using the sudden disappearance of the doe-eyed Keanu as the inciting incident, Rubens explained that it was a "series of farcical accidents. It was a case of mistaken identity."
He continued: "Then Jordan goes, 'Call me crazy, but what if they were rescuing a stolen cat?' And that is why Jordan is a genius."
Everyone was a clear fan of cats, but when talking to THR, all the talent involved in bringing Keanu to the big screen overwhelmingly confessed their love for Key and Peele and their brand of comedy.
Star Luis Guzman explained how he first got involved in the project, saying, "I had called my agent and said, 'Yo man, I wanna work with Key and Peele. I want to be on their show.' I got a call back saying they had just wrapped, and I thought, 'Are you kidding me? I missed my chance?'"
Luckily a couple of weeks later he got a call from his agent with good news: "They are doing a movie, and they want you in it."
Getting cast in Keanu was a surprise to Key as well. Peele wrote the script with Rubens while they were on hiatus from their Comedy Central show, and Key was away filming a movie.
"I was sitting at work one day at Key and Peele, working on rewrites, and he just walks up and is like, 'Hey do you wanna do a table read of a script that I wrote? And it's finished. And it has a starring role for you in it,'" explained Key.
The MadTV alum admired his co-star's reasoning for getting a movie made after their Peabody-winning show concluded after five seasons, saying, "[Peele] said: 'I felt like we were getting momentum, and I wanted to have something ready.' And I was like, 'I get free money for something that you did all the work on? Sure!'"
For Peele, Keanu was less about making a movie with a cat in a hat and more about making a movie that was reminiscent of the action comedies he grew up with.
"It's not a typical studio comedy. It's got a different tone. The action is real, and there is a real sense of danger to it," he said. "It's a throwback to movies like Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run. And then there is a cat in a do-rag."