All the Right Moves
(snipped for Keanu content)
This actor has already had two perfect-fit roles: the Generation X adolescent in 1986's River's Edge, and the good-humored airhead Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Since then he's grown up and fared better and worse in roles that were not nearly such bull's-eyes. Last year's Much Ado About Nothing, however. was an interesting stepping stone for Reeves - not because he came off as a born Bardist, but because he was such a natural villain. Now. Reeves is too much a movie star to make a steady diet of bad dudes, but any ideal character for him would be one that included a measure of darkness. If James Ellroy's long-optioned, never-filmed triple-noir The Black Dahlia ever gets to the big screen, the part of the dubious protagonist, cop Bucky Bleichert, could be fashioned to Reeves's strengths. As Bleichert, Reeves would be able to scheme, obsess, seethe and screw up, all of which he does well. Granted, a good deal of Bleichert, as written, doesn't suit Reeves. But Ellroy's story about the gruesome. real-life, late '40s unsolved murder of a beautiful trick-turning screen hopeful is so complicated that it would take a substantial makeover to give it commercial potential anyway, and it's so dark that, even after the streamlining, an appealing young star would have to be cast to make it viable. The tinkering could just as well be designed to accommodate Reeves. It's well within Reeves's range to suggest that underneath the handsome, mask-like exterior he would provide for Bleichert, lie the erotic kinks that fuel this young ambitious cop's obsession with the murder and its victim. Reeves is not the kind of actor who can fill out an underwritten, middle-of-the-road Hollywood cop character - which is what he tried to do in the dismal, though fun, Point Break. He is the kind of actor who can effortlessly tamp down well-written dysfunctionals-with-saving-graces (as in River's Edge), and that's exactly what Ellroy's brilliant creation Bleichert is. Moreover, one of the reasons Bleichert would be an ideal role for Reeves is that it would allow him to play with Ellroy's hardball dialogue, which he's in desperate need of demonstrating the ability to do after all the arch period cadences he's struggled with of late.