Speed's Sandra Bullock Explains Why Her Building Chemistry With Keanu Reeves In The Action Classic Is Like Cinematic 'Foreplay'

 Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock post jump in Speed.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock post jump in Speed.

The romance between Keanu Reeves's Jack and Sandra Bullock's Annie in director Jan de Bont's Speed is easily one of the best in action movie history... and it's a romance that's not developed with a whole lot of sustained eye contact between the stars. Because Annie spends a great deal of the movie sitting behind the wheel of a speeding bus, she has to keep her eyes on the road rather than look deep into the soul of the man trying to save her life and the lives of her fellow public transit passengers.

It's one of many things to appreciate about the beloved 1994 film, and a special quality that Sandra Bullock recognizes reflecting on her chemistry with her co-star. Both Bullock and Keanu Reeves are featured in the latest episode of the podcast 50 MPH: The Making Of A Movie Megahit, and one of the aspects of the movie she highlights is the lack of eye contact between Jack and Annie. She notes,

We didn’t really look at each other in this movie except for maybe three times, three or four times where there was just – because we were constantly battling the elements. And I think that’s what made it so electric, too, is that, watching it, I guess you want them to connect. So, that was really clever, a really clever setup to sort of, you know, keep people apart. Foreplay, I guess.

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Anyone watching Speed and even vaguely aware of Hollywood conventions knows that events are going to transpire that see Jack and Annie come together at the end – and as noted by Sandra Bullock, that expectation helps create a natural electricity between the characters. There are occasional glances that they throw each other between keeping their eyes on the road and hatching escape plans from the bus of death, and anticipation is built for their romance to be realized.

It obviously helps that Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves have terrific natural chemistry as performers – which fans got to see again later in the more conventionally romantic drama The Lake House. Bullock spoke about her working relationship with her Speed co-star, saying,

I felt very comfortable with Keanu. There was nothing that I couldn’t try or do or say that he wouldn’t have, I felt, fought for me to do or say or try, and that kind of trust is very rare with actors, and anytime I threw something his way, he swatted it right back and you just go, 'OK, there’s my partner. OK.' In this extreme circumstance of a bus with a bomb on it, and we all had to pretend like it was very, very real.

If you now find yourself with a deep hunger to watch the 1990s action classic Speed, you can presently stream it with a Starz subscription. It's also available for both rental and purchase from digital retailers and available for physical media collectors on 4K UHD.