Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock: Persona and promotion

Jackie Raphael, Celia Lam

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Media interest in the relationship between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock has been consistent since their first collaboration in 1994. Despite only appearing in two films together, and while their characters vary from Speed (1994) to The Lake House (2006), their romantic on-screen pairings have resulted in media desire for a mirrored off-screen relationship. In 2018 and 2019, both actors revealed on Ellen that they had crushes on one another, feeding this media interest. The presentation of a public friendship raises questions about its authenticity, especially if it is used to promote works. We argue that while the Reeves/Bullock relationship is commoditised, it nonetheless relies on markers of authenticity to enable it to succeed as a form of promotion. This paper proposes an extension of Dyer’s markers of authenticity as a means to interrogate the authenticity of celebrity pairings. It additionally articulates the presentation of a close dynamic as ‘buddy banter’, often expressed through suggestive and flirtatious interactions, which is utilised by celebrity pairings to communicate a sense of fun and levity. The perceived genuineness of the buddy banter contributes to the successful celebrity dynamic and ultimately to the utility of the dynamic as a form of promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-184
Number of pages184
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Early online date17 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • advertising
  • banter
  • Celebrity couples
  • Keanu Reeves
  • promotion
  • Sandra Bullock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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