TV Hits (Aus), ~ September 1994

Kamikaze Keanu!

What's the best way to get Hollywood to notice you? Speed across its screens on an explosive bus! That's what Keanu Reeves has done, but, for his fans at TV HITS, he's always been a hero!

How much training and research did you do for Speed?
I met with Jan De Bont (the film's director) and we spoke about the script. I started to lift weights to get the body for the part. I took some gymnastics classes to work on my balance and know my body in preparation for the action or physical responsibilities of the part and I spent time with the technical advisers, who were Los Angeles police officers who worked with SWAT.

Hollywood is saying you are on the verge of superstardom...
(laughs) How very kind of them to say! I laugh because it's ludicrous. It is not a reality to me now so I try not to count my chickens.

Do you like action films?
As an audience, I enjoy it very definitely. I like to go out and see The Terminator. I would see Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

What about as an actor?
(smiles) Yeah. You know what they bring is a really great opportunity for play. You are in this great fantasy world. You are drawing upon your emotions from real life. But they are heightened and put to a kind of play time. You are basically playing cops and robbers so there is that element which is great fun.

Have you taken time to step buck?
Well, before I did Speed I had not worked for seven months I was looking for work. I was auditioning and having meetings etc. So, no, I haven't really. I think that's something that happens when you're older, when you try to reflect.

You've been modest about the stunts in Speed. Did you feel they were necessary for the reality?
Yeah, the closer you get into it, the better for the audience and the more I enjoy it!

They were pretty difficult things, weren't they?
I was running and jumping and playing!

Being under the bus didn't scare you to death?
(smiles) No.

What about claustrophobia in an elevator?
I don't know. I've never been trapped in an elevator for 25 hours but I am afraid of the dark; I've never done that kind of stuff. In this situation you get very familiar with the circumstances and hope nothing will go wrong.

What was it like working with Jan as a director?
From the first meeting, one of the reasons that I trusted him was that he spoke of the emotional content and the importance of the humanity in the picture. All through the filming he proved that to be a truth about him. We re-shot a couple of scenes because the emotional issues were not performed to their best.

Which scenes were re-shot?
Some of the trickiest stuff was between Annie (Sandra Bullock) and Jack. How do these people connect with these situations of peril? How do they come together? There was one scene where Jack and Annie, after the bus explodes, come together. We shot the scene one day and it went fairly well. We came back the next day and I said to Sandra, "How do you feel? I don't feel so good," and she was saying the same thing. So we worked on it and made it better and re-shot it. And that was cool. I think it's a good scene now. It's very spontaneous.

Were you surprised at the casting of you for Little Buddha and Speed?
I don't come from a place of image. What I love most about acting and performing is the variety of genres and people. I am not interested in repeating a character. If I enjoy the character and there seems to be something more to say in the stories of the people or a desire by the audience to perhaps see it, then I will do it. With Bill and Ted, the first one was extremely popular, unexpectedly so. And I though that the script, when I read it, was very fun. So to me it made sense to do it again.

Sandra said during shooting you would bring her gifts that would make her happy.
(laughs) Yes I did.

Do you enjoy doing that for people?
Yeah, sometimes. I did for her. (laughs)

Article Focus:



Speed , Little Buddha

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