Not too long after revealing Keanu Reeves’ casting in the role of Cyberpunk 2077‘s Johnny Silverhand, CD Projekt RED disclosed why he was hired. A résumé filled with rebellious characters in sci-fi projects, made him a “natural pick,” according to Quest Director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz. It appears there’s even more truth to this than some may have realized, since the actor has supposedly done more than bring Johnny to life. In addition, Reeves infused something in Johnny that makes him “more relatable and complex.”
The developer’s Story Director, Marcin Blacha, recently spoke of this during an interview with Xbox: The Official Magazine for its September 2019 issue. Blacha explained that Reeves, as a great actor, infused his “own special thing” into Johnny, while still maintaining CD Projekt RED’s original vision for the character. According to the Story Director,
Keanu Reeves has this history of playing characters who fight for something and Silverhand is definitely fighting for something. Or at least he was in 2020. When we thought of an actor for this role, we didn’t approach it on a ‘who’s the biggest celebrity now’ basis —the actor had to have a connection with the character, so it made sense. Cyberpunk 2077 is not a game about Keanu Reeves, it’s a game about Johnny who is played by Keanu. I think it’s something often forgotten when casting for roles for games.
Similarly, remember Emperor Emhyr in The Witcher 3? When we decided to cast Charles Dance, he just made sense for that role—he had this regal aura to him, also because of who he played in Game Of Thrones back then. I think that history played a role in how Johnny finally turned out. A good actor, and Keanu is a great actor, will always infuse their character with a bit of their own special thing. I think, thanks to Keanu, Johnny is more relatable and complex, but at the same time has not lost any of his original rebelliousness and punch.
Everything shown about Johnny Silverhand so far has been nothing short of intriguing. His role won’t be minimal, either. It’s been previously noted that he’s a “primary character” in the form of a “digital ghost” who resides in protagonist V’s brain via a biochip. In many respects, Johnny’s role sounds similar to that of the Joker’s in Batman: Arkham Knight.
Naturally, V and Johnny won’t see eye to eye all the time. Blacha briefly addressed this as well, explaining, “It’s a complex relationship, definitely something that will evolve and grow as you play. Johnny is an icon and a very powerful character, but—in their own way—so is V. Both will often butt heads, but I think they will also learn something from each other.”
Cyberpunk 2077 is due out early next year on April 16, 2020 for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One platforms. Preorders for the sci-fi title and its Collector’s Edition have been live for several weeks. No worries if you do not opt to preorder the base game, though. You won’t miss out on any special in-game goodies, as CD Projekt RED previously made it clear the studio isn’t in the preorder bonus business.
[Source: Xbox: The Official Magazine via Wccftech]