Johnny Silverhand is 'more relatable and complex' thanks to Keanu Reeves

Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

We've already explained why Keanu Reeves makes the perfect Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077. Apparently CD Projekt RED felt the same way, and not just because Reeves is a cultural lightning rod who stars in both big screen films and internet memes. 

In an interview with Xbox: The Official Magazine (thanks, WCCFTech), story director Marcin Blacha says that "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." 

Given Silverhand's backstory as a military deserter with a tragically lost lover, Keanu's sad man energy was exactly what CDPR was looking for to bring the cyberpunk rocker to life. "A good actor, and Keanu is a great actor, will always infuse their character with a bit of their own special thing," Blacha says of Reeves. 

Despite how Keanu stole the stage when he appeared at E3 to tell us Cyberpunk 2077's release date, CDPR seems determined that he won't do the same in the game. "Johnny is an icon and a very powerful character," Blacha says. "But—in their own way—so is V. Both will often butt heads, but I think they will also learn something from each other." We know that Johnny lives on in 2077 as a digital implant in V's head. That may well make for some interesting conflicts in opinion. 

We'll get to see Keanu's cyber ghost performance in full when Cyberpunk 2077 releases on April 16, 2020.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.