Talent – Keanu Reeves
Prince Of Comedy
by Angela Holden
'Image a small mining town in rural Pennsylvania. Its hard-drinking, hard rock-loving male population dress in scuffed-up blue jeans, dirty T-shirts and baseball caps. These guys think Bon-Jovi is effeminate. Into their midst wanders a slight, skinny figure, clad in California surf-Nazi Day-glo colours, topped with a long, asymmetric bob for a haircut.
This is 24-year-old Canadian Keanu Reeves, star of Palace Pictures' gentle comedy The Prince Of Pennsylvania, out this month. He plays Rupert Marshetta, a wide-eyed, dreamy misfit trying to survive in a sea of beer-can crushing, regular all-American guys who just can't deal with his different aspirations. "I wanted to look even weirder," says Reeves. "I wanted my head to be completely bald on one side. But the director wasn't too keen.
"When I used to go out in Pittsburgh after filming, it was a little disappointing. Little old ladies would say, 'I think he looks rather cute', and ruin the effect."
Reeves can be seen looking somewhat more conventional in the Glenn Close-starring comedy-intrigue, Dangerous Liaisons, filmed in Paris and released next month.
Born and brought up in Toronto, Reeves made his big-screen debut in the Rob Lowe ice-hockey teen-pic Youngblood. But critics - and casting agents - first sat up and took notice when he played a member of a gang of teenagers who cover up a friend's murder in the bleak River's Edge.
Despite his passion for motorbikes (the film-star's latest fashion accessory) Reeves isn't about to fall for the brat-pack trap. He makes a strangled noise if you mention teen movies and recently moved to New York, to look for good theatre parts.
"I'm not one of those people who forever reading screenplays and optioning stories. I'm just a cog in the wheel. Hollywood will screw you if you let it. You've got to keep your distance from all that."