Keanu Reeves: "I miss my friend River very much..." (English translation of German article)
A character with many faces: erotic, secretive and foolhardy. No other actor has played so many different roles in so short a time as Keanu Reeves (30): as a bisexual streetboy in My Own Private Idaho (his big breakthrough in 1991), as Prince Siddhartha in Little Buddha and now in the new thriller Speed as deathdefying actionhero Jack Traven. In private Keanu (born September 2, 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a shy and secretive man who is very nervous at interviews and takes cameras in stride. As Keanu sits across from me in a Berlin hotel I am pleasantly surprised: he wears a designer jacket and tie, his hair has grown out to a longer length and he looks impertinently good. A gentleman with wit and charm. Without a trace of nervousness. As I alarmingly notice his blackened right eye he laughs: "Don't worry, I wasn't in a fight! This is from two days of playing ice hockey recently in Toronto!"
BRAVO: When was the last time you rode a bus?
KEANU: laughs - It sure has been awhile. The last time I took a bus to go anywhere was about two years ago.
BRAVO: With Speed you have landed a genuine blockbuster. What irritated (?) you about the film?
KEANU: First the title! I laughed about that! Second, the unbelievable idea behind the story: a bus, that when it goes under 50 mph, explodes. I find that weirdly exciting. I also found amusing the depiction of the connection between Jack and Annie - how gradually between the insane action scenes a romantic relationship developed.
BRAVO: Did you also fall in love with Sandra Bullock yourself?
KEANU: No, but we had a good understanding from the first. I'm a big fan of Sandra. I also like her a great deal. She is warmhearted, helpful and always lots of fun. She was the highlight of the bus! It's fun to work with people like Sandra.
BRAVO: You were in alot of dangerous scenes. Did you do your own stunts or use a stuntdouble?
KEANU: In most of the scenes I did the stunts myself. For example, I did the scene where I'm hanging under the bus and the scene where I leap from a moving car onto the bus. I also did the driving scenes myself. But I was surrounded by stuntdrivers in the driving scene.
BRAVO: How did you prepare for the role?
KEANU: I took gymnastics and bodybuilding classes. And I cut my hair short - so short that the director Jan De Bont was shocked the first time he saw it.
BRAVO: Is it true that a sequel is planned?
KEANU: Yes, but there is no set date to start it.
BRAVO: In your next film A Walk in the Clouds, you play a young GI who comes back from World War II and marries the daughter of a wine merchant. How did you prepare for this role?
KEANU: I had 45 days before filming to begin voice training. I'm a "head man" and I have tried to bring my thoughts and feelings from my guts and to speak with a fuller, deeper voice. I also read histories of World War II, watched documentaries and talked to veterans.
BRAVO: How do you feel while preforming love scenes?
KEANU: That depends on the other actor and the individual situation. I still perform bed scenes. My experience still lies more in the realm of aesthetic performance, however.
BRAVO: What inflames your passion the most?
KEANU: Shakespeare, motorcycle riding and virtual reality computer games. Shakespeare gives me a tingly feeling. He gets to my head and heart. Motorcycles make me free and VR is simply exciting.
BRAVO: You have formed the band Dogstar. Will you become a paid musician?
KEANU: The band is only my hobby. I twitch the bass. We play folk music and wear out bars and clubs. We don't have a record deal.
BRAVO: Do you lead a typical Hollywood life?
KEANU: laughs - Definitely, like the motto sex, drugs and rock n' roll! Seriously, I live like every other American. At the moment I'm homeless, so to speak, and have lived for months in a hotel. I must move my residence in LA soon because my lease has nearly run out.
BRAVO: While filming Speed your best friend River died of a drug cocktail. Has his death influenced your life?
KEANU: softly - I don't like talking about River. I was totally shocked by his death because River didn't take drugs. Most of the time I feel completely overwhelmed by the loss. I miss him dreadfully!
BRAVO: Have you experimented with drugs?
KEANU: Yes. And because of that I know drugs can kill. I have experience with hallucinogens, that gave me feelings and insights in my life that people normally don't have. But I today try to achieve that with other things. Through acting, motorcycle riding or nature.
BRAVO: Do you believe in horoscopes?
KEANU: Definitely! I'm very interested in astrology and read my horoscope nearly every day. My sign is Virgo (the virgin).
BRAVO: What do your parents do as a career?
KEANU: My mom is a costume designer and my stepfather is a director. I don't have anymore contact with my real father.
BRAVO: Do you have siblings?
KEANU: Yes, I have two sisters. Kim is 29, lives in California and works with horses. Karina is 17 and studies at the university in Michigan.
BRAVO: Did you want to be an actor even as a child?
KEANU: No, when I was a kid I wanted to be an inventor, a nuclear physicist, an orchestra conductor or a racecar driver. From the age of 15 on all I wanted to be was an actor. My first role was in the Canadian television series Hanging In when I was 16.
BRAVO: How would you characterize yourself?
KEANU: I would describe myself as serious. I am actually laid-back, but I can also be very moody.
BRAVO: What is the most extreme thing a fan did in order to get to know you? (meet you?)
KEANU: There was a woman. She came from Germany. She traveled thousands of miles to see Dogstar in concert.
BRAVO: When was the last time you fell in love?
KEANU: Actually, I fall in love every day. But the last time I really fell in love was over three years ago...
BRAVO: Sharon Stone?
KEANU: laughs - Regrettably not! There is really no basis to that rumor.
BRAVO: Do you want to have a family and children?
KEANU: I'm scared to bring children into this world! I wish it were different...
BRAVO: Do you have a personal life philosophy?
KEANU: It is better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done.