"I don't want to be super-famous!"
"I get a good laugh every time somebody uses the term "heart-throb" when referring to me... I don't know what they could possibly be thinking of!"
Looks like Keanu Reeves is in a bit of trouble, oh! Thanks to the mega-success of Speed, he is super-famous! But how clued in to the Big K are you? For example, did you know that...
Keanu was named after his great-great-uncle. He's the eldest of three children to Chinese-Hawaiian geologist Samuel Reeves and British-born theatrical designer Patricia Cholmondley. "Keanu" is Hawaiian for "cool breezes over the mountains".
His dad walked out when Keanu was a boy, and his mum remarried a Canadian stage director. In June this year, Samuel Reeves was sentenced to 10 years' jail for drug possession. Keanu hasn't talked to him since he was 15.
Keanu lived all over the world when he was growing up. Although born in Beirut, Lebanon, he spent the first year of his life living in Perth, then moved to New York before finally settling in Toronto, Canada, when he was seven and for a very sneaky reason! His grandparents lived there, but his mum wanted her boy to get a Canadian passport instead of an American one so he wouldn't have to do military service!
Astonishingly, Keanu's not like the rest of the world who think he's the greatest thing going! "I get a good laugh every time somebody use the term 'heart-throb' when referring to me," he chuckles. "I find it really strange... I really don't know what they could possibly be thinking of!"
For the record, Keanu thinks it's a no-contest when it comes to naming heart-throbs... K's Johnny Depp and nobody else! He reckons the Deppster is the most handsome guy in the world.
Johnny is also one of Keanu's closest Hollywood celebrity friends. Another is Drew Barrymore whom Keanu first met when they where filming the TV movie Babes In Toyland back in 1986!
Keanu gives the impression of being slightly fruitcake-ish, but maintains he's really just a normal guy. "What really interests me is day-to-day living and being a part of the world. I'm intent on being as normal as possible in this unconventional field."
Don't ever tell Keanu what to do! If you do? "That infuriates me. When I don't feel free, I react in a really strong way. I just go against it."
When he was a youngster, and before he decided acting was going to be his life, Keanu had four defined career goals: he wanted to be either a racing car driver, an inventor, a nuclear physicist or the conductor of an orchestra!
A couple of those ambitions were put to rest by his lack of success in school! "I changed high school four times in five years," he recalls, "'cos we always moved around, so although I liked school, I wasn't very good at it!"
Keanu got booted out of one school when he was 13, for slinging chestnuts at one of his teachers! He did get elected vice-president of his science class before that, though and he did manage to squeak a pass-mark in Latin!
About the other thing Keanu was good at back then was ice hockey! He played as a goalie, and was nicknamed "The Wall". (Curiously, his first big movie role was in the 1986 Rob Lowe movie Youngblood... playing an ice hockey goalie!)
Once, in a school production of a play, Keanu's opening line was "Who am I?" To this question, a girlie in the audience responded by standing up and shouting, "A hunk!"
After dropping out of school, Keanu worked at an ice-hockey rink, as a lumberjack and making pasta in an Italian food store, earning a promotion there to the position of manager on his 18th birthday! But he quit soon after when he got his first role in a play.
Like all the most talented people in the world, such as Joey Lawrence and... um... Bruce Willis (Huh? - Ed.), Keanu is left-handed.
Keanu ain't crazy about doing interviews or photo sessions! Of the former, he says he just wants to keep his privacy. And when the camera starts clicking? "I can't stand those pictures of myself where I look as though I'm deep and sensitive. I'd rather be making some stupid face," he says. (Hope you don't see the one on another page then, Reevo! - Ed.)
How does the Big K chill-out? Either jamming with his rock band Dog Star, or roaring around on his bike, a 1974 850 Norton Commando! "I sometimes ride it from midnight until four in the morning, just going through LA to see who's doing what!" He's also been known to pop around the corner from where he lives to the local basketball courts and shoot some hoops with whoever's there.
Speaking of his bikes, Keanu almost lost his life in a crash once. He lost control of it, crashed into a mountain (!) and ruptured his spleen. He had to undergo an emergency operation, and was left with an ugly scar that runs from the middle of his chest down to the navel.
And when Keanu was in the Himalayas in Nepal filming Little Buddha last year, his major thought was not his work... but wishing his motorbike was there with him! "All those mountain roads just waiting to be ridden down. Man, I could have had a blast!"
Keanu's favourite non alcoholic drink is cranberry juice.
Sniff... Keanu says he doesn't have a place to live! He does own an apartment in New York, but sold his home in LA when it was damaged by the earthquake a year ago. He then moved into a rented town house, but was booted out while he was in Canada filming Johnny Mnemonic! Keanu now lives in a suite at the swish Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood!
Fame holds no interest for Keanu. "I don't want to be super-famous. That would be awful." And of Speed, the movie that propellered him to that super-famous mantle? "I wouldn't mind doing another action film... but I don't want to be the next Stallone!"
During his unreliable phase a few years ago, movie bosses made provisions if Keanu didn't turn up on time for a movie. For Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992, they even had Brad Pitt on stand-by to take over his role if Keanu didn't front!
A Keanu Reeves film appreciation class is currently being taught at the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California!
Keanu's idea of heaven? "My idea of happiness is riding my bike, being with friends, wine and glorious food, and lying in bed with my lover!" Erm, yes...
What does Keanu look for in a girl? We don't know... and neither does he! "I don't have a particular taste... but I don't think there's anything I don't find attractive in women!
But he does find it easy to fall in love! "Love's an easy emotion... it's easy to love people." So far, actresses Lori Petty and Sofia Coppola, and singer Paula Abdul have felt that emotion! His fling with Paula came at the time he starred in the video to her hit "Rush Rush".
Just recently, Keanu's taken up ballroom dancing. "I've always wanted to learn how to dance... and it's a great way to met girls!"
And marriage, and a family? Keanu's said that he'd like three children, but he's never come close to marriage. "I've known some incredible women... but I've never proposed and I've never been proposed to!"
During his well-documented grungy period, Keanu once boasted he went two weeks without changing his underwear!
He worked out for months to get that hot bod we saw in Speed, but that doesn't mean Keanu's turned into a gym junkie! "I know what it feels like to be in good shape but if I don't go to the gym to work out, that's okay. It's not a priority of mine."
Keanu's a believer in faith healing, and has frequent consultations with a woman who he says has a special mystical healing power, and can stop a wound from bleeding through what he calls "natural vibrations"!
He also believes in reincarnation! "I used to think that I'll come back as a dog!" says Keanu, "But now I'll be coming back as a cat... I'd like to have nine lives!"
So, just how famous is Keanu Reeves? Well, early next year, he's playing Hamlet in a production in the Canadian city of Winnipeg... and people from Germany, Argentinia, China, Sweden and even Australia have forked out $165 for a seat (plus the airfare) just to see Keanu strut his stuff!