REEVES "MIGHT PULL IT OFF", FILM EDITOR SAYS OF ROLE
by Brad Oswald
Youthful, serious, introspective and so perhaps, a perfect Hamlet - that's the perspective on Keanu Reeves offered by one former Winnipegger who had a close up look at the actor's recent movie work. "Yeah, he might well pull it off," said Ron Sanders, a Toronto based film editor who worked on Reeves yet-to-be-released action thriller Johnny Mnemonic. "He takes his work very seriously, and he's smart. I'm sure he'll fully understand the play and he'll work very hard at it." Reeves has been in Winnipeg since early December, deep in rehearsals for the demanding Shakespearian tragedy which opens Jan.12 at the MTC.
Sanders, who was born in the south-central Manitoba town of Manitou and educated in Winnipeg, met Reeves several times on the Toronto set of JM, a 21st century sci-fi flick which also stars Dolph Lungren and rapper Ice-T. He said the 30 year old star's character in JM is a far cry from the troubled Prince of Denmark, but his approach to the action role should serve him well as he addresses Shakespeare fare.
"The role mainly consisted of running from place to place - normal action-movie stuff," said sanders, who is director David Chronenberg's regular editor. "It's probably as far from Hamlet as you could expect. It's not terribly deep, but it should be good fun." JM, directed by Robert Longo, is not expected to be released until next summer.
Sanders said Reeves was quite introspective and took his role very seriously. "I was on the set a lot, and got to see how he works. He's very prepared, and he works really hard. And because I've seen him take this so seriously, I would probably give him more credit for taking Hamlet seriously and genuinely wanting to do it than I would many other people." Sanders said the doubters who have been predicting live-stage doom for Reeves's ambitious Winnipeg adventure ought to give the actor the benefit of the doubt. "I'm sure there has been a fair amount of scoffing and scorn, but really, I think every young actor wants to play Hamlet," he said. "Obviously , it'll be good for MTC, because it's sold out and it's going to generate a lot of publicity. And it's good casting - it is a young man's part, despite the fact it has often been played by older actors.
"It would be interesting to see him do this. I wish I was back there and I had a ticket."