No Bogus Trip, Keanu Reeves is One Cool Dude
(Previously published on July 19 as a slightly different version under the title 'The Breeze is Up: 'Bill and Ted' Star Reeves has Two Films in Valley')
by Paul Willistein, Allentown Morning Call
Keanu Reeves is one cool breeze with a hot career.
The young actor says his first name (pronounced Key-ah-new) in Hawaiian means "cool breeze over the mountain."
Reeves, 26, is in two movies that opened this month. "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" opened July 19 earning **** at the box office at No. *. "Point Break," with Patrick Swayze, opened July 12 and is at No. * earning *****.
Reeves seems typecast as spaced-out Ted of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," which co-stars Alex Winter as Bill. Reeves speaks in the surfer dude slang that the hit movie of two years ago helped popularize among teens.
He sometimes repeats questions he is asked, and answers others elliptically, if at all. For example, to one question, he responds, "I mean, I don't know, man. Wow. I'm going to stop - What's the next question?"
Reeves has made a career of playing doltish characters, such as an accomplice in the black comedy "I Love You to Death," based on the attempted murder case of Allentown pizza man Tony Toto.
"Yeah, man, I heard the real story was even worse than what was in the movie," Reeves marvels.
When asked to name his favorite movie from his career, he again refers to "I Love You to Death": "I guess Marlon in 'I Love You to Death,' which I don't think anybody saw. But I loved Marlon, the ultimate dropout."
Reeves, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds, says his mother is English and his father is Chinese Hawaiian. Various reports - Reeves has told conflicting stories about his background to the media - have him growing up in New York and Toronto before moving to Los Angeles. He says he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. "My parents were cavorting and that was one of their stops," he explains.
Reeves says he is a high school dropout.
"I'm not really good with control assumed over me - like in school when people tried to put power over me."
Reeves began his acting career in Toronto, spent a summer at the Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, near Philadelphia; studied acting with Jaspar Deeter, a founding member of the Provincetown Players, and has performed such classic roles as Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet."
His portrayal of a troubled teen in "The River's Edge" gained critical acclaim and led to roles in "The Prince of Pennsylvania," "Parenthood," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Permanent Record." Upcoming: "My Private Idaho."
Asked to compare "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" with its sequel, Reeves notes, "The first one was a much more simple film. This one is a lot more ambitious and audacious in cinema and story.
"We go to heaven. We go to Hades. We grow up.
"It was tough to do (making the film) because we didn't have much time. We jammed."
Ultimately, Reeves is concerned about "going Hollywood."
"I want to work with passionate people ... I don't want to get too far from the street ... in the Hollywood commercial sense of what sells. I don't want that to happen."