Los Angeles Times (US), October 1, 1988


Like a Chinese Menu

by Leonard Klady

"I'm a visceral experience," observes Keanu Reeves, the 24 year-old star of such films as "The River's Edge," "Permanent Record" and the new "The Prince of Pennsylvania."

To date identified with serious, dramatic roles, the tousled-haired Reeves is confident that his career is about to change gears.

"Prince" casts him in the offbeat comic role of a young man who kidnaps his father to extort a ransom as a means of escaping a grim future in the Pennsylvania coal mines. He's also recently completed the period drama "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," which he referred to as his first "ingenue" part.

"The character (in "Liaisons") is a romantic," says Reeves. "He wants to be a Knight of Malta but it's obvious that he's easily led astray."

Reeves gets his unusual first name (Hawaiian for "cool breeze") from his Chinese-Hawaiian geologist father.

Born in Beirut and raised in Toronto, he started acting professionally at 14 after "a typical adolescence of playing lots of hockey." He was a regular on the Canadian television series "Hanging In," but his goal was to take on more challenging parts.

"I wanted to be in the Shaw or Stratford Shakespeare festivals but they turned me down twice," he recalls. "I didn't fit. I was too young and unruly by their standards. So I packed up my Volvo and headed for Hollywood in search of steak-and-potatoes roles."

First came Tim Hunter's "The River's Edge," in which Reeves played the sensitive, inadvertent leader of high school students who are privy to a murder. His performance convinced writer-director Ron Nyswaner that he should cast Reeves in "The Prince of Pennsylvania."

"I saw in him constant emotion," says Nyswaner. "He's like a Chinese menu -- he'll give you a half-dozen different readings. But the real Keanu is a lot like the character in the film despite his refusal to see any resemblance."

Reeves remains unconvinced, insisting the general nobility of his screen characters is pure coincidence. "As people get to know me better," he says, "I'll start to get the sleazier roles."


GRAPHIC: Photo, "The Prince's" Keanu Reeves, sizzling.


River's Edge , Permanent Record , Prince of Pennsylvania, The , Dangerous Liaisons , Hangin' In


Waiting in vain for sleaze (2010-02-25 23:27:45)
 Reeves remains unconvinced, insisting the general nobility of his screen characters is pure coincidence. "As people get to know me better," he says, "I'll start to get the sleazier roles."

Yeah, right. Thank the gods that he didn't hold his breath waiting for the sleazy roles! :-D

Guestnafunaek (2010-09-27 06:25:51)
 I don't know, his abusive husband character in 'The Gift' was convincingly sleazy. He can do sleaze if he wants to.
(2010-09-28 00:33:57)
 MOPI? Conor O'Neill? Bob Arctor? Passengers?(hopefully)
or better, Generation Um ? :D (*ducks*)
I want him to be baaaaad! (2010-09-28 03:31:15)
 I'm waiting for Keanu to pick a role where he gets to play eeeeeeevil. I loved to hate him as Donnie Barksdale, and I want more of that creepiness. He's proven that he can do it, so he should get plenty of good offers if he just goes shopping for one.
good vs bad (2010-09-28 07:06:51)
 This is exactly why I want him to do Jekyll and Hyde so very much. We'd get to see good and bad in the same movie. It would be so fantastic!
(2010-09-28 07:22:59)
 I haven't seen Keanu as evil yet. I'll check out The Watcher. Or maybe evil Ted.

Jekyll and Hyde sounds good... do we have the script?

(2010-09-29 00:05:30)
 lindawn - my thoughts exactly.

Tangerine - do check out The Watcher - K is interesting to watch there, even if he said he didn't get to learn anything by playing that role.
And no, unfortunately no script for Jekyll.

(2010-09-29 04:35:07)

Watcher sounds good. From Ani's writings about Griffin, Keanu's evil characters are cool.

Anakin McFly
(2010-09-29 08:53:38)

Griffin is awesome. But Keanu doesn't like him. Poor guy.
(2012-04-05 06:40:20)
 His role in "The Last TIme I Committed Suicide" was super sleazy. He was straight up creepy, borderline repulsive in that one. I couldn't believe it. It was awesome.
(2012-04-06 00:44:50)
 ^^ that.
Monica45Evil Keanu....so good. (2015-08-25 10:53:15)
 So I saw The Gift and I soooo hated Donnie Barksdale. Keanu played the hell out that role of a redneck wifebeater. He did a really good job.
Anakin McFly
(2015-08-25 11:30:21)

All of Keanu's evil characters should get together and plan world domination (assuming they can even work together).

And then John Wick will kick down the door and get them.

Monica45Oh, John Wick! (2015-08-27 01:38:19)
 Mmmmm, JW would be the last man standing....of course!
taurus_lasanga (2016-03-31 21:56:59)
 The title led me to believe people confused his name with something commonly on a Chinese menu, lol, I didn't think anyone would be comparing his acting to one.

You need to be a member to leave comments. Please login or register.