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See The All-Star Cast of ‘Speed’ Then and Now!

Plus, find out how Alan Ruck picks his roles.


In 1994, the action-thriller Speed hit the big screens, captivating audiences with its high-octane thrills and unforgettable characters. The movie follows the story of LAPD officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) as he becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a former bomb squad officer, Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper). Payne rigs a city bus with a bomb that will detonate if the bus’s speed drops below 50 mph. With the lives of the passengers at stake, Jack teams up with a passenger named Annie (Sandra Bullock) to navigate the treacherous streets of Los Angeles and find a way to stop Payne’s deadly plan. The film’s high-stakes premise, combined with its intense action sequences and memorable characters, made it a box office hit, grossing over $350 million worldwide.

Here, we look at the Speed cast and where they are now.

Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven

Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven (Speed)
1994/ Century Studios; Stefanie Keenan / Contributor/Getty

One of the stars of the movie is Keanu Reeves aka Jack Traven a dedicated LAPD officer who finds himself at the center of a deadly game.

Prior to Speed, Reeves had his career-defining role in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, followed by 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Other hits followed including Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Point Break. Then came the mega blockbuster hit Speed. After the over the top success of the film, Reeve surprisingly turned down the sequel saying, “At the time, I didn’t respond to the script. I really wanted to work with Sandra Bullock, I loved playing Jack Traven, and I loved Speed, but an ocean liner? I had nothing against the artists involved, but at that time I had the feeling it just wasn’t right.” That turned out to be a good decision since Speed 2 was a commercial and critical flop.

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in ‘Speed’ 1994
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in ‘Speed’ (1994) Century Studio

Reeves career continue to escalate and he starred in big blockbusters like the third Bill & Ted installment with 2020’s Bill & Ted Face the Music; The Matrix franchise (the latest installment was 2021’s The Matrix Resurrections), the John Wick franchise (the latest being 2023’s John Wick: Chapter 4) and Toy Story 4.

While he’s always eager to talk about his films, he keeps his private life and dating relationship under wraps saying, “I came to Hollywood to be in movies. I feel really grateful that I’ve had that opportunity, but I’m just a private person, and it’s nice that can still exist.”

Did you know? The name Keanu means “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian.

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Sandra Bullock as Annie Porter in Speed

Sandra Bullock as Annie Porter
1994/ Century Studio; Jeff Spicer / Stringer/Getty

Annie Porter is a passenger on the bus who becomes Jack’s unlikely ally in their fight against Payne.

Says Bullock of her chemistry with co-star Reeve, “There’s no formula. It just is.” In fact, she loved playing opposite Reeve so much she said, “Before I die, before I leave this planet, I do think that Keanu and I need to do something in front of the camera again. Are we, you know, in wheelchairs or with walkers? Maybe. Are we on little scooters at Disneyland?”

Prior to Speed, Bullock had roles in films like Demolition Man and Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, but Speed was her breakthrough role.

After Speed Bullock starred in numerous successful movies, including the Miss Congeniality franchise as well as The Blind Side for which she won an Academy Award. Other hits include While You Were Sleeping, Hope Floats, The Proposal and Gravity. One of her most recent movies is the 2022 action adventure The Lost City.

Bullet is divorced from Jesse James and has two adopted children.

Did you know? Bullock’s father has been her manager since 1996.

Dennis Hopper as Howard Payne

Dennis Hopper as Howard Payne (Speed)
1994/ Century Studio;Noel Vasquez / Contributor/Getty

Howard Payne is the film’s antagonist, a former bomb squad officer seeking revenge against the LAPD.

Prior to Speed, Hopper had a long and successful film career including roles in Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and Hoosiers.

After Speed, he went on to make Waterworld and Straight Shooter. He also was a regular on the TV series Crash and E-Ring.

During Hopper’s career, he has had a long complicated history with substance abuse. He said that during the last five years before he got sober, “I was doing half a gallon of rum with a fifth of rum on the side, 28 beers and 3 grams of cocaine a day — and that wasn’t getting high, that was just to keep going.”

Hopper passed away in 2014. He was 74.

Did you know? Dennis Hopper was married five times.

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Jeff Daniels as Harry Temple in Speed

Jeff Daniels as Harry Temple
1994/ Century Studio; Arturo Holmes / Staff/Getty

Jeff Daniels plays the role of Harry Temple, Jack’s partner and friend, who assists him in the pursuit of Payne.

Ironically, when Daniels first saw the Speed script, he turned it down. He said, “I remember getting the script…and I died on page 22. I died in the elevator shaft. I said, you know, ‘the career’s in trouble but it’s not in that much trouble. I’m gonna pass.’ And the agent said, ‘Hang on, there’s another draft coming. You die later.’ I said, ‘Okay,’ and it did. It came in about page 80. I’m going, okay well… All right I’ll do it. And Keanu and Sandy Bullock, and it’s like okay, happy to do it.”

Before Speed Daniels had appeared in films like Terms of Endearment, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Arachnophobia.

After Speed Daniels continued his successful career, starring in movies like Dumb and Dumber, and its sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, The Squid and the Whale and The Martian. He also appeared on three seasons of the Newsroom which led to his role in the movie Steve Jobs. Daniel recalls, “We were in the third season of Newsroom and we knew we were ending in two or three episodes, and writer Aaron Sorkin was going, ‘I’m doing Steve Jobs, there’s a guy named John Scully, a supporting role, do you want to play him?’ I said, ‘I’d love to.’ That was the audition. Actually, the audition was three seasons of Newsroom.”

Most recently, Daniels starred in Netflix series A Man in Full.

He’s been married to his wife Kathleen for 45 years and together they have three children. When asked the secret to their relationship, he said, “Know when to shut up. Mansplaining is a disease, and the cure is to just stop talking.”

Joe Morton as Lt. ‘Mac’ McMahon

Joe Morton as Lt. 'Mac' McMahon (Speed)
1996/2023Evan Agostini / Contributor/Getty; Bruce Glikas / Contributor/Getty

Lt. ‘Mac’ McMahon is Jack’s superior officer and a seasoned veteran of the LAPD.

When asked about his role in Speed, Joe Morton said he had hoped for a bigger part saying, “I would love to play one of the leads in one these movies and have all those challenges and deal with all those complications, but the business being what it is, there is a slot for me in these kinds of films.”

Morton also notes that as an African American, he’s tried to stay away from the villain roles. “When I started off many years ago, I made a determination that there were certain roles I didn’t want to play. I started acting in the late ‘60s and at that point, most of the roles that were available for African Americans actors were bogeymen of the world such as the drug dealers, the pimps, and the hoodlums. So I started off trying to play as many different African American men as I could play without having to play the bad guy.”

Prior to Speed, Morton got his start on the TV Series Search for Tomorrow and appeared in movies like Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Post Speed, he’s been busy with regular cast roles in TV series like Scandal and God Friended Me. He’s also appeared in movies like Blues Brothers 2000 and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. His most recent movie was 2023’s Trinity’s Triumph.

Did you know? Before acting on screen Joe Morton started out on Broadway. He made his on-stage debut in Hair.

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Alan Ruck as Doug Stephens in Speed

Alan Ruck as Doug Stephens
2001/2024Steve Granitz / Contributor/Getty; Monica Schipper / Staff/Getty

Alan Ruck played the role of Doug Stephens, a good-hearted but terrified tourist who had the misfortune to board the wrong bus on a trip to Los Angeles.

Ironically, the character of Dough Stephens was rewritten after Ruck auditioned for the par. Ruck said the original part was for “an asshole, an entitled lawyer whose BMW broke down. But when I went in and did a reading, I think they thought, ‘Oh, this guy’s a softie – let’s have him play that.’”

Prior to Speed, one of Ruck’s most famous roles was as Cameron, the hypochondriac best friend to Matthew Broderick’s character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

After Speed, he continued to land interesting roles including the role of Stuart Bondek, the sexist and boorish assistant deputy mayor he played for all six seasons of Spin City (starring opposite Michael J Fox, then Charlie Sheen). Ruck jokingly said, “I’m a character actor with not a lot of character. I’m just this white guy who’s not especially intimidating in any way, not intellectually and certainly not physically.”

His most recent break-out role was playing Connor, the neglected eldest son of the media magnate Logan Roy in Max’s hir Succession. In terms of parts, Ruck is happy to take whatever comes along saying, “Someone asked me once, ‘How do you choose your roles?’ And I was like, ‘Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt do that. That’s not how it is for the rest of us.’”

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