03/05/2002 AT 1:00 AM ET
For Keanu Reeves, it will be back from the future. Currently completing “The Matrix Revolutions” and “The Matrix Reloaded,” two sequels to his 1999 hit “The Matrix,” the leading man, 37, is looking to bring back the ’70s counterculture hero of the “Billy Jack” movies, reports Variety. In the original, actor Tom Laughlin starred as Billy, a half-Native American ex-Green Beret karate expert who saved wild horses from being slaughtered for dog food and runaway teens from troubled pasts. In between, he talked spiritualism. Sort of an early independent film (that was released by a major studio, which admittedly didn’t know how to market it), “Billy Jack” was a major hit of 1971, and was followed by two sequels that were increasingly less successful (1974’s “The Trail of Billy Jack” and 1977’s “Billy Jack Goes to Washington”). Early on, critics noted that Laughlin didn’t look even remotely half-Native American. In later years, Billy Jack became yet another ’70s relic, similar to Earth Shoes and Pet Rocks. Still, Reeves is said to be discussing the resurrection of Billy Jack with Danny DeVito’s production company, Jersey Films, with an eye toward shopping the project at various studios. Laughlin, still kicking at age 70, is expected to play a crucial role in the production, says Variety. He still controls the film rights, and over the years has reportedly turned down several requests to remake his brainchild.