Splice (US), September 1987
One word describes Keanu's style: twisted. "I love the twisted," he squeals. "I was born twisted. I love irony, I love a sense of humor and perspective and a distortion of what you take as normal."
At 22, Keanu (Key-ah'-nu, his real name, which means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian) may consider himself twisted, but he's also headed straight for stardom.
After a role on a Canadian TV series (he was born in Beirut, Lebanon, spent 13 years in Toronto, and now lives in L.A.), a TV movie, and a small part in Youngblood, Keanu has now gained major acclaim in the controversial movie River's Edge, the disturbing true story of a group of drugged-out California teens who react nonchalantly when one of them murders his girlfriend. Keanu plays Matt, the one who finally goes to the police.
Keanu keeps his hair long and likes to wear T-shirts and jeans. The way he talks, he could easily pass for a surfer dude. But along with his funky self, there's an equally articulate and sincere actor. And while he admits he likes to "dabble in the Hollywood scene every once in a while, I'm actually a homebody" who likes to read, play chess, and practice his electric bass.
Keanu is sure to draw more attention in his next two movies, The Night Before and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, both set to break in the coming months. "The Night Before is a very quirky comedy," he says. He plays Winston, a geek who takes a beautiful girl (Lori Laughlin) to the prom but ends up spending the zaniest night imaginable."
Bill and Ted's, Keanu says excitedly, "is the most good-natured, well-intentioned, but not sappy film." This fun comedy follows two high-school goof-offs on a time-tripping adventure that helps them pass a vital history exam.
While critics are touting Keanu as someone to watch, he considers himself "Joe Q. Actor, lining up to get my turn to audition." He shuns the notion of becoming a "star," though does admit stardom has its advantages. "It gives you a certain power, to let you do what you really want to do. Projects that aren't open to me now could become open, and that would be part of my perfect world."
Yet, his perfect world would have to be a bit twisted, too.