INT: Reloaded Pt. 6

Phew...now that was a loooong week! With this interview with Keanu Reeves, we end our week-long sessions with the gang from THE MATRIX RELOADED. To access all of the previous interviews click on the following names: Carrie-Anne Moss / Laurence Fishburne / Monica Bellucci & Jada Pinkett-Smith / The Animatrix Team / Joel Silver & FX Wizard John Gaeta.


Talking to Keanu Reeves, you'd never know that you're in the presence of a bonafide action star, plugging the first of two $150 million, special-effects laden films. With his sportcoat and shaggy hair, the lanky Reeves looks more like a member of the Strokes than a superhero. But then, that's the point, isn't it? Neo represented the everygeek in the first Matrix, and in Matrix Reloaded graduates to the role of supergeek. Armed with a few impressive new tricks and a greater understanding of his role as the One, he once again takes on the digital baddies. He talked with us at length about the making of the long-awaited sequel.


What can you say about the rumor that you gave up part of your back end to help the production?

What I did was I used part of what I was given in my contract to create a pool so that other people who don't normally get profit participation could see some money.

How do you decide which sequels to do and which ones not to do?

It's how I feel about the script, the material. For Speed 2, if there had been a really good script and if I was in a place to do that, I would have done it. At that time, it wasn't something that I wanted to do. In terms of these films, the scripts were great and I had such a great experience and faith and belief in Andy and Larry Wachowski, so I said yes.

What was your reaction when you first got the scripts for Reloaded and Revolutions?

I was in Chicago when I got the two scripts, and I sat down and read them and thought they were very moving and exciting and original. I thought that they'd done an exceptional job. There were really some great surprises. The third one gets "whoooeeee."

Can you make sense of all of the philosophy that gets laid out?

I don't understand it all in the sense that I can take it all out to the end, to a finite position and say "here's your answer." Maybe Larry and Andy do. I know they certainly feel they do. But I don't think that everything in this has an end. It's more like a series of jumping points. 

Is there a chance that Neo might not be real?

I think, in the terms of the representations of the films, the brothers don't tend to hoodwink you. It's not like the Sixth Sense, where you're watching this whole movie, and then it's like, "Oh, by the way…" I don't think that the brothers do that kind of cinema.

Jada told us that you had a whole truck of Harleys delivered to the stunt people.

There's this fight where Smith confronts Neo. And I basically worked with 12 stuntmen for three intense weeks, going through the fight. And then we filmed for about a month, every day. And these guys, every time I said "let's do it again," they were like, "let's go." Everyone was so supportive and helpful. Some of the sequences would contain like 30 moves with I'm hitting 8 guys in a row, and they all had to be at the right spot to sell every hit. So I just wanted to provide a bigger thank-you to all the guys who helped me make this fight into, I think, one of the great movie fights in the history of cinema. 

Laurence said he couldn't watch that fight because you're so hard on yourself. Why do you think you're so hard on yourself?

It was my job to do whatever the brothers asked me to do. So I was just trying to do that.

You don't think you're hard on yourself?

I can be. But I don't think I need therapy or anything. I'm not so out of my mind. In those sequences, you want them to be right, so you believe it. If you do something and you don't hit it right, you can instantly feel it. So I wanted to get it right.

What do you think are the key differences between Reloaded and the first film?

Well, there's much more dialogue in Reloaded. One of the unique things the brothers have been able to do is that they'll give you such an intense scene of dialogue, then they'll give you a five minute Kung-Fu fight, then they'll give you the dialogue with the Merovingian talking about the power of why and cause and effect, and then they'll give you a 13 minute car chase. Andrew Wachowski once said to me, "If you can sit through bad dialogue to see the spectacle, then you can sit through good dialogue." Reloaded is a very ambitious film, but I think the brothers pull it off.

What sets this film apart from the first one?

I don't think it's seeking to set itself apart. I think it's more of a continuation. I think it's trying to develop the story. If anything, it's like we're getting into the meat of the story. 

How did the physical demands of this film compare with the first?

This one was much harder, because it took more time and it demanded a lot more. There was a lot of stuff with weapons. It was harder to get, it was harder to do, and it was harder to come back the next day. Some days, you'd finish a fight and get new choreography; you'd fight on weekends so you could film on Tuesday, etcetera.

Were you sick of all the fighting by the end of the shoot?

I didn't think of it that way. I just kept thinking, "this is what I have to do." And when I threw my last kick, my last punch, I just thought, "ok, we did it. I hope I did it well enough."

I kept a bottle of scotch in my trailer every day. It was actually symbolic. I swear to God, I had a bottle of McKellan's right there. And there would be some Fridays where you'd finish work, just to have a glass of scotch after some filmin' and some fightin', it's really good. It's like that beer after you've been lifting and stuff. 

Did you listen to any Rush in preparation for Reloaded?

No, not this time. Rush - great rock band. I just read this great book about punk rock, "Please Kill Me." It's awesome, a great book. I highly recommend it. 

What do you think that you've learned from Neo? What has Neo learned from you?

I feel that Neo is a beautiful man, with his ethics and his morals and his search for his authentic life-being, how he deals with people and how he deals with himself. I really admire that. It's like, can you live up to that? Can you live up to the best part of yourself every day? It's something the film is also asking.

What's up with your band?

I don't know what we're doing. When I finished with the Matrix films, we had an obligation to go to Japan, so we went there and to Bangkok for a couple of shows about a month after I finished. Then we came back and have kind of taken a break.


And that's that. Hope you guys enjoyed the coverage. A big hand to Mr. Thomas Leupp for conducting the interviews for JoBlo.com. Yaay!

Source: JoBlo.com



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