The Mirror (UK), July 1, 1993
Buddha can you spare the time...
by Richard Wallace
SCREEN MIRROR TRAILER
HE IS your typical Hollywood dude, matted hair, suntanned body and a surf board, but Keanu Reeves has just confused his image as a golden boy - by converting to Buddhism.
Not exactly what you'd expect from a teen dream actor who made his name as a Hollywood hunk in the time-travelling Bill And Ted hit films.
It all happened on the set of his latest movie, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic, Little Buddha, when he was playing the Enlightened One.
“I spent a lot of time examining the life of Buddha and trying to equate it with my own existence. Iit certainly touched me,'' says a chastened Keanu.
“I'd never practiced any meditation and never realised there was so much latent energy in the human body.
“Before I had only ever experienced those feelings through the love of my family or in relationships with lovers.''
In the £20-million movie, director Bertolucci looks at a modern-day reincarnation of Buddha - a little boy living in Seattle.
Through a series of flashbacks featuring Keanu, we are shown the origins of Buddha.
Keanu spent two months on location in Kathmandu although his time there was marred by a crippling bout of food poisoning after eating a meal in a monastery. “It was a very peaceful place, but little did I think I was going to be poisoned there,'' he says.
“I had a bad fever, cramps and chronic diarrhoea and just couldn't do anything for two days. The locals refused to blame the food and said we Westerners have weak stomachs.''
The role isn't exactly the normal heart-throb fodder - a deliberate policy of the young superstar.
“Damn, I couldn't quite do that Hollywood heart-throb thing,'' he says. “I want to go anywhere and play anything and that's what I've been lucky enough to do. Other actors are creating something to sell, but I want freedom.''
Off-screen he lives alone in the Hollywood Hills where he enjoys riding his classic British motor-cycle, a Norton Commando. “I'll go out about midnight and just travel around until four,'' he says.
He admits he has been offered another Bill And Ted script but isn't ready to return to the role just yet. “Maybe when we're 43 and we can do Bill and Ted's Midlife Crisis,'' he jokes.
"There's a lot more to do first - a whole lot more.''