Keanu Reeves rides fast, crashes often, does drugs, and likes hanging out at riots. Life for him is a party, and it seems like he doesn't have a worry in the world. But Gina Johnson discovers that Keanu is more of an insecure soul than you'd ever imagine.
Keanu Reeves doesn't understand why he's a star. No matter how normal he tries to act, how scruffy he tries to look or how spaced out he tries to come across, girls still chase him down the street and pin him to their bedroom walls.
"I don't understand it," says Keanu, genuinely puzzled. "I'm a meathead, I can't help it, man. You've got smart people and you've got dumb people - I just happen to be a dumb person." (Okay, stepping in here to say that the dumb comment was not in regard to him wondering about his fame. This quote is completely out of context. Actually so is the case for most of the other articles, but this one's especially striking. THE MEDIA LIES. - Anakin McFly)
With this sort of lack of self-confidence, is it any wonder that producers have expressed doubts about Keanu's acting capabilities, despite his popularity?
He was made to audition at least seven times before the producers of Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure gave him the role of Ted. The same happened with Bram Stoker's Dracula Francis Ford Coppola had several meetings with Keanu before he decided to cast him in the movie.
And when Keanu heard that British director Kenneth Branagh was filming Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, with a cast including Robert Sean Leonard and Michael Keaton, he had to take desperate measures to get a part. Keanu flew himself to London to let the director know that he was willing to take a role - any role. When Kenneth seemed reluctant, Keanu told him he was even willing to work for free, if that was what it took to get the part.
But usually, Keanu puts up a tough front. He speeds around on his motorbike, usually without a helmet, and has crashed enough times to know better. A few years ago he lost control of his bike, came off and ruptured his spleen. As a result of the operation which saved his life, Keanu has a scar which runs from the middle of his chest to his navel.
And while the LA riots were happening last year, and people were fleeing for their lives, Keanu simply rode his bike around and watched people partake in what he describes as a "major shopping spree - 100 per cent discount".
On top of that, he openly talks about his drug habits, and he has a kind of 'open house' rule when it comes to his home - meaning, all his friends have a key to his front door.
"I'm a 'what's mine is yours' type of guy," he explains. "I basically live my life by the motto, 'What the hell, just do it'."
It's this very attitude that's got him into trouble over the years. After deciding against becoming a racing car driver when he was 15, Keanu auditioned for Toronto's Theatre Arts High School, and got in. But he was thrown out after less than a year, basically because he refused to be told what to do.
Keanu started working at an ice-skating rink, sharpening skates, but he became bored with that, and got a job in an Italian restaurant. He was appointed manager when he turned 18, but admits it wasn't his thing - he quit when he got his first role in a small play.
Some attribute his success to good luck and his exotic looks - a combination of his Hawaiian-Chinese father and his English mother. But despite his many roles to date, it's ironic that Keanu still seems to carry around traits of Ted - the character that launched his career in Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure. His conversations, when coherent, are spotted with words such as "dude", "totally", and "bogus", and he has expressed admiration for Ted's disposition more than once: "He's (Ted) so dumb that everything is fun," says Keanu. "That's cool." (Again, they lie - the 'so dumb that everything is fun' was simply Keanu repeating the words of an interviewer, Chris. Keanu disagreed with the statement. He did not say 'That's cool' after it. THE MEDIA STILL LIES. - Ani)
Maybe the two personalities have merged. But Keanu says he's not about to change. He's going to continue to run amok and live life on the edge - this is one guy who won't conform to the common perception of how a famous actor should act.
I'm just not into all that shit," he says. "I think it's better to regret something you have done than regret something you haven't done." So eat that, Hollywood!
name: Keanu Charles Reeves
meaning: Keanu is Hawaiian for "cool breeze over the mountains".
nickname: Reevo (es dubbed by his school mates).
birthdate: September 2,1964.
upbringing: Keanu was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and spent his first year living in Australia. He then went to New York to live, and moved with his family to Toronto, Canada, when he was seven.
his first big role: Was in the 1986 movie Youngblood.
to chill out: He takes trips to the desert and lies in the dirt.
his idea of a good time is: "Riding my bike, happy times with my friends, the earth, dirt, and glorious food."
music-wise: He plays bass in a band called Dog Star, which he says is "very, very bad."
on his friend river phoenix: "He's beautiful, inventive, funny and creative, too."
on why he loves acting: "It's like jumping from a bridge onto the back of a truck." (No, that's not why he loves acting. When Keanu was asked why he wanted to act in the first place, his response was the rhetorical question: "Have you ever wanted to jump of a bridge onto the back of a moving truck?" THE MEDIA IS EVIL AND TWISTS WORDS. - Ani)
upcoming films: Bernardo Bertolucci's Buddhist epic, Little Buddha (due out in March next year) and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues which also stars Uma Thurman (scheduled for release in April).