We’ve got Mads Mikkelsen as the creepy enemy for Death Stranding, and that’s great. But once upon a time, the Danish Hannibal actor could have been replaced with … Keanu Reeves?
Hideo Kojima told a crowd at San Diego Comic Con on the weekend that when casting for Death Stranding, Keanu Reeves was originally recommended for the part that’s now being played by Mads Mikkelsen. “I originally was recommended Keanu Reeves but I wanted Madds,” Kojima told the audience through a translator, as captured by a writer for Asia Pacific Arts.
It’s no surprise that Reeves is in high demand. The Matrix and John Wick actor has become one of the most bankable and beloved stars, with a new Bill & Ted movie on the way, a major part in Cyberpunk 2077 as Johnny Silverhand, the successful John Wick franchise, parts in Always Be My Maybe, Toy Story 4, and the web comic series Swedish Dicks.
Nicolas Winding Refn, a Danish film director responsible for Drive, was the one who originally recommended Reeves to Kojima. Refn has a role in Death Stranding of his own, with the Hollywood Reporter reporting that the crowd was shown new footage from the game showing off Refn’s character, Heartman.
Heartman’s unusual trait is that every 21 minutes, their heart stops. “What happens is that he dies and he looks for his family on the other side for three minutes,” the Hollywood Reporter quoted Kojima as saying. Refn, who joined the panel as a surprise guest after the Heartman footage was revealed, described Heartman as “the most interesting character in the game”.
Hideo: “Nicholas wanted me to create a character that stands out more than Madds. His character has died and he wants to look for his family on the other side for three minutes and resurfaces.” #DeathStranding #hideokojima
— Kalai ???? SDCC (@kalai_chik) July 21, 2019
Kojima also spoke briefly about the concept of strands in-game, saying that players would play “alone as Sam [Norman Reedus’ character]” but that you’re trying to connect one city to another. “I can’t speak much but everyone will be playing around the world and we’ll have an indirect connection,” Kojima said.
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Death Stranding launches worldwide as a PS4 exclusive on November 8. Along with Reedus, Mikkelsen and Refn, the game also stars Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner.