Michelle Pfeiffer Predicted Stardom for Keanu Reeves on Set of 1988’s ‘Dangerous Liaisons’

Michelle Pfeiffer predicted stardom for a young, unknown Keanu Reeves.

That revelation comes as director Stephen Frears joins The Hollywood Reporter‘s It Happened in Hollywood podcast to discuss the making of his 1988 hit, Dangerous Liaisons.

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The film starred Glenn Close and John Malkovich, playing conniving aristocrats in pre-French Revolution Paris who manipulate the people around them through sex and deception. Among their victims are characters played by Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman.

Reeves, then 23, was cast as Le Chevalier Danceny, a handsome musician who draws the attention of Close’s Marquise de Merteuil and falls in love with Thurman’s naive ingénue — then duels Malkovich’s Valmont for her honor.

Speaking on the podcast, Frears recalled that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was released just months after Dangerous Liaisons, turning Reeves overnight into a major movie star.

“But when he shot, he hadn’t [yet broken out,]” Frears said. “I saw a lot of young actors [for the role] and said, ‘I like him.’ [Screenwriter] Christopher Hampton actually thought I’d gone mad. But I said, ‘No, no — he’s the one.'”

“He was the best person I saw,” he continued. “In the end, you have to believe in things. And he made it all believable. You could see that Glenn would want to go to bed with him, and people would fall in love with him. He was a sweet boy.”

Reeves arrived in Paris for the shoot looking “completely lost.” But after spending just a little time with him, Pfeiffer told Frears that Reeves was destined to become “a big star.”

“They all took a shine to him — the girls [on the set],” Frears says.

Dangerous Liaisons was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three, for costume design, art direction and adapted screenplay.

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