Pronto (Spain), March 1995
Interview with Keanu Reeves
(Translated from Spanish, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
The bomb was dropped some weeks ago by the French magazine "Voici" and recovered later by the prestigious Italian newspaper "Il Corriere della Sera". According to both, Keanu Reeves, a young actor aged 29, married David Geffen, a cinema and music producer aged 51. The (supposed) ceremony took place in a restaurant (closed to the general public) in Los Angeles, and was officiated by an heterodox rabin under the Jew rite; Keanu was wearing a white jacket and dark trousers, and his partner was dressed smart. Liz Taylor, Steven Spielberg, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer were supposedly among the guests.
If we believe this notice, the "sexiest man of 94" would have married the most rich and popular "gay" of the world.
Reality or publicity work, there's also another card in play, the hypothesis that somebody tried to take revenge for the triumph of the the actor in his last and most popular film "Speed". Against all that, Keanu has the alibi of his last sentimental affair with the Australian model Joanna Clealand, who Keanu met during one of the tours he was in with his band Dogstar.
It isn't untrue that Keanu has a solid friendship with David Geffen. When Keanu's home was destroyed by the last earthquake in Los Angeles, he moved into the Geffen mansion. They were also seen spending about a million and a half (approx. $15000) in clothing in Rodeo Drive. If to all this we add Keanu's discrete emotional life, and his frequent interpretation of homosexual roles, it isn't strange that the scandal has emerged.
(Here begins the Interview)
Keanu. What's true about the article published in Voici?
Absolutely nothing. It's a ridiculous history that may have enriched the one who sold that to the magazine. They're wrong. What a fool! That's an absurd history from who knows where. I think the best thing to do in this situation is to forget everything as soon as possible and don't let it grow. If you agree, I'd prefer to leave it at that.
All right, let's talk then about your life and your career... Being only 30, 20 films are a lot for you. What were your beginnings?
At the age of 15, I decided to be an actor, and I got into Theatre Arts High School in Toronto, where I was living. A year later they kicked me out - "for lack of concentration and discipline," they said. I changed school four times in five years for that kind of problems. So at 16 I left studying and I started working. I did different kind of work, such as work in an Italian restaurant, until I could do something as an actor. At 19 I perfomed my first theatre play, and since then I've been on stage until now.
You began in the world of cinema being known as a member of the "brat pack" or young rebels. Have you been a young rebel?
My roles in cinema have been parallel to my life. I moved from a rebel boy in "Flying" or "Youngblood", to a young one in "Parenthood" or MOPI and a wise adult in "Speed".
In MOPI you established a very strong friendship with River Phoenix. What has his death meant for you?
For me and the cinema in general, one of the best actors of his generation has been lost. Besides this, he was like a brother to me. He was bright, creative and extremly funny. I loved him. I can't understand what happened yet. I think his death was a silly error.
In MOPI you both played the role of young rebels that offered sex to other men. Weren't you afraid to lock your images as gays?
I'm not a politician, so I don't worry about my image this way. I'm only an actor, and I'll play all the roles that convince me. And that's something I've showed in my career.
How do you manage to make such image changes? Do you think they are really necessary to play a role?
They are absolutely necessary for my idea of an actor. To play the role of Prince Siddartha, it isn't enough reading zen legends or history books. Before the making of the film, I spent time in Nepal with the spiritual mentor for the film, I practised yoga and meditation. I changed my feeding, basically to macriobiotic food. I think you've always got to believe what you play, or you'll be lying.
What did you do later to get that muscles you show in Speed shortly after?
Before the making of Speed, I spent eight weeks in intensive training to build my arms and especially my chest. This time I was mentored by Randy Walker, who had spent 21 years in the Los Angeles Police department, and who had worked with me in Point Break. I did a very specific gym routine, and I added fiber to my feeding. Jan De Bont, the director, suggested that I cut my hair, and I considered that an order.
What in Speed interested you to decide to play a role so different from the other ones you've played?
First, I had finished Little Buddha and I was provisionally without work. I feel empty in periods of inactivity. Then appeared Jan De Bont explaining his project to me. I liked it. But the most interesting thing in that film is that it was a kind of "collage", a mix of different generes. My ambition has always been to play as many generes as I can. Until now I've been able to do it.
Besides of his school problems, Keanu Reeves had a very shacked childhood. Son of a Chinese mother, and a Hawaian father, he was born in Beirut, cause of his father's job. He was a geologist. His exotic name Keanu has hawaian origin. Later they moved to New York, where they stayed for a time. When Reeves was 8, the family moved again to Toronto, were Keanu remembers to had a quiet childhood. (not editing this part because it made me laugh. - anivad)
You've got a house in Los Angeles and another in New York. Which one is your home?
I've got an apartment in New York, and a house in Los Angeles, which has actually been my home for the last 7 years. I live alone, but many of my friends have the keys to my home, and it's usual that they go in and out from my home. I like to share things.
What about your likes?
I like to be with my partner in the bed, to ride my Norton - and maybe it doesn't like me, and that's why I'm on the floor so often -, to play sports, to be with my friends and chat. And nature. It's wonderful to be lost in the desert, or between the waves over a surf board. I'm a life lover.