The Dream Machine - Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is giving Arnie a run for his number one spot in America with Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, which is currently breathing down the neck of Terminator II!
Howie Weiss sat down with Keanu and asked him about his two new films, Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey and Point Break, and asked him how he feels about being one of the brightest new stars in Hollywood.
How did you feel about having two films opening at the same time?
It's kind of crazy but I hope they do well, man. You know, I really do...
Did you enjoy the contrast between Bill And Ted and Point Break?
I had a lot of fun, yeah. I had a really great time doing it and hopefully I did justice to the stories.
In your next film, My Private Idaho, you play a street kid - can you tell us about that character.
I play a guy named Scott Favor and River Phoenix plays Mike, and it was directed by Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy). I play the mayor's son, who's become a street kid. I've come from a place called The Hill, which is basically where all the money is. I've just turned 21 and I've just come into my inheritance and I'm like the Prince of all the street kids. My character's sort of based on Henry IV (a play by Shakespeare). It's not actually about street hustling but it is about the carnival of the street, the harshness of the street and about being alone and looking for a family and love.
That's great - that's the flip side of everything Bill And Ted is about.
Oh, I've had the most amazing year, I've worked in three different styles of cinema that I was - I can't even believe what I got to do. My only problem was that it was a low-budget film..., you know, there was a really small crew. Then I did this crazy comedy, Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, you know, which was outrageous to play Ted again. And then I did Point Break which is an action film and it's amazing that a lot of people have liked them all!
Did you have reservations about, playing Ted again!
Mostly I was concerned that it was a story worth telling, you know! I really enjoy playing the part and I like working with Alex immensely - he's a brilliant guy. We just had to come up with a cool story. And once we had that together it was, like, alright, let's make this film, it's worth it. You know, Bill and Ted is a very specific mindset to get into and you gotta do what it takes to get there. But the evil Bill and Teds were another matter. We didn't want to be violent, we didn't want to be nasty.
It seems like Bill and Ted are the great equalizers - whether they meet a guy an the street or if they meet God, they still behave the same way!
Yeah - they're very non-judgemental which I think is really cool. That's why I dig that mandate, "Be excellent to each other", you know? That's beautiful...
People do Bill and Ted imitations all the time. Do you get people coming up to you and trying to do Bill and Ted's?
They want me to do it once in a while and I'm like - nope! They come up and say, 'Say excellent!' and I say 'nope' and their faces fall and I feel so bummed.
Tell us about playing Johnny Utah in Point Break.
His sense of control is ripped apart by the ocean. This is a very competitive guy, a hero, and he finds something he can't do - he can't surf, you know. No matter what he does, he can't defeat it. So he's getting physically and spiritually and emotionally beaten up and then he's also with the people that he digs, you know, going through such extraordinary experiences, jumping out of planes and learning about letting go and about peace and respect...
What was your upbringing like?
Uh - I come from a broken home. I was pretty much raised by my mother - she's English, so we sometimes had like weird food. So it was like a bourgeois existence with pretensions to more -but with less. So I guess that was the gig with me.
You spent most of your youth in Toronto.
Yeah. After the divorce we went from New York City to Toronto and I grew up there.
When's your birthday?
I'm a Virgo, September.
Did you make your home here in Los Angeles?
Yes, I've been living here for about six years.
How did the Rush, Rush video come about?
Well, I met Paula Abdul at a charity event and she was doing this video that she wanted some acting in. She's a very, very interesting lady. I guess she dug my stuff and she approached me to do the video and I just wanted to check it out. But I think video is better left to the models because they look better. The producer and the director had an idea to base the clip an Rebel Without A Cause so I started watching that film and I was like, God, I can't do this gig! James Dean was - wow - I really didn't know how amazing he was. I had seen Rebel Without A Cause when I was younger but I didn't really understand how great he was. I'm not gonna do any more videos. I'll just stick to acting - I guess I'm better at that game.
Do people still recognize you, come over and talk to you about River's Edge?
Yeah, that film - it's bigger than me, man. When they say it they usually just go 'River's Edge'. I think it's because it's an amazing film, it is. Excuse me, that's a real movie, man.
Just one more thing. Did you do your own surfing in Point Break?
Well, yeah, but we ran out of time because we had to go back and do My Own Private Idaho. So we couldn't go back and catch more because it was kind of a small summer wave wise, but I did all of the falling - except for one - and some of the waves you see me on, that's me, yeah!