INT: Keanu Reeves
off the MATRIX trilogy, Keanu Reeves gets a shot at another
successful film franchise this week with
stopped by the Four Seasons in
What attracted you to this character?
first got the script when I was in
familiar were you with the "Hellblazer"
comic books and how did
you feel about some of the changes that were made, like moving the
wasnt familiar with the character before I read the script. When
the script came to me it had already changed to American so I
didnt know that. When I started doing research I found that out,
but the important part is the essence of
Other cast members say you kept a lot of journals dealing with things like spirituality. Can you talk about some of your research?
have no idea what they are talking about. (Laughs)
The process for me is just writing down thoughts and working
on the role. I wasnt carrying around The Path of the Peaceful
Warrior, in that sense. I think the film speaks for itself and that
is what I was working on. It was mainly about the script and the
journey the character takes learning about the curse, or gift, he
was given in his youth. Part of the journey is
This seems to be your deepest foray into a religious themed film. How much does the religious theme of this resonate with you?
At what point in your research did you feel you finally knew the character?
I really enjoyed the character, but in terms of embodying it, I worked with costumers and we tried on things and there were options. I found a jacket and shoes and it felt right. Then you go to rehearsals in costumes and it starts to feel connected and natural. When it feels right it is great. I knew his core, but I had to work on it. I lowered my voice and worked with the director and looked at the comic book and his deadpan humor. It kind of happened just a couple of days before we shot. The exorcism was the first scene and that helped a lot. I had to walk over and get on the bed and when I figured that out I felt like I had it.
After the Matrix films, how do you feel about this possibly becoming another film franchise?
contract didnt have a second film in it, but we all fell in love
with this thing and I had a great time so we were talking about what
happens next, is he a heroin addict in
Your character smokes a lot in the movie. How much did you actually smoke?
Too much. Its a character trait of the character. Hes dealing with a lot and its a tool to help numb himself. I smoke myself.
Did you have any input into the spirituality of the character?
had some great times working with Francis and Mr. (Akiva) Goldsman.
Spirituality is a word I dont think applies to
You were initially hesitant about working with a video director. What changed your mind?
That came from an uneducated bias. When they first came to me I thought the film had such a strong narrative. In the past I have been weary of video directors, but then I saw a few reels and I saw Francis reel and he had a classicism to him and a narrative impulse in the way he treated the performers in his videos. They were telling a story or revealing something about their characters. When I met him he had his concepts and we spoke for two hours and walked out of there eager to work with him.
Is it important for you to mix and match big roles with small ones?
Ive been fortunate to be able to do different kinds of roles on different scales and that is important to me. Sometimes you dont want to play the hero, you want to play something else in another genre. Ive been trying to do that in my career and I hope to continue that. There is a joy in the diversity of roles.
You have an amazing resume at this point. What do you get from acting now?
I really love it. Its my craft. When I was 15 I asked my mother if I could be an actor and she said whatever I want. Three weeks later I was in acting school. I heard Anthony Hopkins say this, you learn it by doing it. Its like painting I imagine. The craft of it and skill of it, the more you do it the better you get. For me its a love. A good day on the set collaborating for me is a hoot. I love it and hopefully I will continue.
Can you talk about your kissing scenes with Rachel and creating that sexy tension?
Its for fun. You can see that in the couple that it can be there and yet it cant be there because its not the time or place. I think its part of the enjoyment off the piece, its like an editing choice like when the car hits the men and you see the spirit of destiny. They want to kiss, but they cant kiss, and at the end of the film they do say they want to keep seeing each other.
Do you think acting is a vehicle to affect the world in a positive way?
(laughs) Yes, in my art! I am making up for what I do in life! Id like that aspect in the work that I do because its what I enjoy in art. I think to go see a film and be entertained, and I dont mind playing a negative part like in The Gift because its part of a story about grief and about dealing with it. I dont want to go to a movie and watch assholes for two hours! Pedophilia? Thanks. I know we are fucked up, but I dont want to see that, unless its something really cool like Anime, but even at the end of those they have transformation. If it doesnt have a positive element to it, it wont attract my interest and its not worthwhile for me.
Did you have any big physical things you did yourself, instead of using a stunt person?
Does your band Dogstar still exist?
No. (the crowd groans) Really? There was some good rock there, but the band I played in after called "Becky" was great. I recommend you go to www.beckyonline.com. I played with them for about a year, but they needed to go on tour so I had to bow out. I dont play anymore.
What are you doing next?
Hopefully I am working with Sandra Bullock on a film called- -
Dont laugh, we might make that. What would it be called? Sped? Its called THE LAKE HOUSE, but its changing. Its a straight romance.
you think the ambivalent peace
dont think those are two different things. Any success I might
have it comes from the work I do or am involved with. That is
connected. I did
Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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