Keanu speeds up!
He's become Hollywood's hottest property since he starred in the awesome Speed, cut his hair and became a total sex god! So when KEANU REEVES called Smash Hits to see if we wanted a chat in New York, we couldn't believe our luck and put Jenny Peters on the first plane out!
Good morning, Keanu, how are you?
I'm well, thank you. On this lovely sunny day in New York City.
Okay, now would you say you're a serious person?
No, no, no, no, no, no. Maybe I'm serious about my fun, haha!
Do you still ride your motorbike everywhere?
Yes, I do. It's a 1974 850 Norton Commando.
Have you ever been stopped for speeding?
Yes, I have.
Did you get off?
I got off on the speed, haha!
Speaking of which, what did you think when you first read the script for Speed?
When I saw the title it made me laugh. I thought it was kind of an audacious title for a film. I liked the situations that Jack Traven was getting into. I liked the fantastic elements to it, like the kind of realist fantasy stuff, a subway, a bus and an elevator and then the extraordinary circumstances. We worked on the script as we filmed and I think it got good, it got pretty good.
How did you change it?
A part of the script wanted to have Jack to be very witty. Some of the dialogue in the action sequences was a bit hokey.
Were you surprised that you were picked to play Jack?
I was just looking for work. I hadn't worked for about eight months. I had been auditioning on certain projects and trying to get other kind of things going on and then this came around. So I looked at it, met with the director and decided to do it.
Has the film been good for your career?
Well, so far in the past couple of weeks a film I auditioned for called A Walk In The Clouds got a green light from a film company in an exceptionally short amount of time. So that's been one of the offshoots from Speed.
Tell us what A Walk In The Clouds is all about then!
It's a romance. A World War II soldier comes home and travels on the road to sell chocolates because his wife wants things. There's a lot of money to be made in post-war America, but he just wants to sit down because of his feelings and what happened to him in the war. But because of his love for her and doing the right thing, he goes on the road. When he gets out there he meets a young Mexican girl who's pregnant, not married and circumstances arise and it gets complicated.
You did a dangerous stunt in Speed jumping from a car onto a bus. What was that like?
Haven't you ever thought of doing that? I have! I mean, secretly, I'm always on the highway going, I wonder if I can jump from my bike to that car? And then can I get back onto my bike? I've always had that fantasy of jumping from car to car. When I was a kid, I used to roof-jump.
Yeah, a friend of mine lived where all of the houses had laneways between them, so at night you'd just run and jump. I'm a very physical actor and I enjoy using my body and with that scene in Speed, it was such a physical part, it was playtime!
How much training did you do?
I am a police officer! No, I had about eight or nine lessons in gymnastics, three and a half hours each, doing tumbling and rolling and that kind of work, balance work. Then I was lifting weights for about eight weeks. But I'm not doing that anymore.
Are there already plans to do a sequel to Speed?
Sure, I'd do another action film. They're negotiating a contract - I think the film company wants to do a possible sequel.
You lost weight for your other new film, Little Buddha, and then put it on for Speed - isn't that hard on your body?
I didn't find it so. I went to a homeopath two months ago and they said that my kidney is not right... is upset. It doesn't like me doing that, haha.
Now you've taken up ballroom dancing as a hobby in your spare time, haven't you?
Yeah, it was a hobby I took up a few months ago. I've always wanted to learn how to dance, so maybe in ten years you'll see me dancing and singing, hahaha!
Is money important to you?
Sure, yeah. I mean, I have certain responsibilities and it's nice to be able to take care of them.
Finally then, how did River Phoenix's death change you?
It's made me sadder. I miss him very much.