ARMED WITH POSTERS, GIRLS AMBUSH KEANU
by Treena Khan
In the mid-morning chill the girls patrolled the MTC on Market Avenue yesterday, holding their posters like soldiers with guns. One took the back door. Two huddled by the main doors. Two others sat in their cars down the block. Some had been at their posts since 8:30 am, nearly 90 minutes.
Then suddenly, movement. A car pulls around the corner. A door opens. A lone figure emerges in jeans, a suede bomber jacket, and black toque. Ambush! There he was, Keanu Reeves, in the flesh, smiling tolerantly, too polite and perhaps too weary to protest the barrage of requests for autographs and pictures. "To Sonya, my best Keanu," he scribbled with his left hand in black marker on one poster. The Hollywood actor, who starred in last summer's hit movie Speed, has been in Winnipeg since Dec. 9 rehearsing the title role in Hamlet which opens Jan 12 on MTC's mainstage. "To Jasmin, Hey Hey Hey, Keanu," he scrawled across a piece of paper.
And when a newspaper photographer started snapping away, he barely glanced up from his umpteenth poster as he muttered, "you better give me 10 per cent of what you make." "You'd better give me 10 per cent of what YOU make," the photographer retorted, in reference to the $7 million Reeves now commands per movie.
"So did you do all your own stunts in Point Break?" asked Georgette Srljann, 16, of Keanu's 1991 movie in which he goes undercover in a southern California surfing crowd. "No", he said quietly. "but I tried some stuff afterwards," He was even less co-operative with a reporter. "So what are you doing for New Year's?" he was asked. "Sleep." "How are rehearsals going?" "Not bad." "Will you be out here at lunch?" Silence.
His only public comments were supplied during 10 minute interviews with local media the day he arrived in Winnipeg.
"Look, I have to go to rehearsal. I'm late," he said wearily, as the girls asked for yet another picture.
Yet he stayed another five minutes. "Can we come back at lunch?" one girl asked hopefully. "No, don't," was his quick reply, as he headed for the MTC doors. "Good luck," they called after him, clutching their prizes close to their chests. And then he was gone for another day-long rehearsal as the Prince of Denmark. "I don't think it actually has hit me yet, that I've met Keanu Reeves," gushed Jasmine Havard, 16. She'd been waiting to see Reeves for two hours, with a broken toe. And what will she do when it does hit her? "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh," she screamed.
For three of the five girls, yesterday's close encounter was their second, after seeing him last Thursday before rehearsal. And all of them have been collecting tidbits about him around town.
But now they say they're completely satisfied and Keanu can rest easy. "We don't want to bother him," said Linda Hristovski, 18. "We don't want to get him mad."