TV Hits (Aus), May 1995

Mini-Interview

Speeding Ahead

Keanu Reeves spills the beans - in his own odd way - on his next flick, Johnny Mnemonic!

Tell us about your character, Johnny Mnemonic.
I play a mnemonic courier, which means I'm wet-wired. I have neural overlay silicone implants - memory augmentation - and it's basically a combination of hard wiring, computer chips and my own long-term memory capabilities, so I can jack into a computer and you can store information in my head. Ostensibly, if you want to move information but not move it across the net, you'd hire me and then I could download somewhere else. So if you'd stolen information, if you were clandestine and you wanted to move information, you'd hire me.

When you read the script, what attracted you to the character?
Where the character is concerned, I would say the situations. He's in extraordinary situations. First of all, to have that kind of device in your head was fun and one of the major things about doing a character like that is that he's had a kind of chunk of his long-term memory taken out so he can't remember anything in his childhood. I was also attracted to the William Gibson sort of language, that kind of strange Western dreamscape that he creates in his books.

Did you know that yew co-star Dolph Lundgren is a drummer?
Is he? I didn't know that. I didn't know I'd get to know him at all, but on the set and working with him, I thought he was great. Ice-T and Henry Rollins were exceptional, they lead exceptional lives. You know Ice-T visits jails and schools with his music and freedom of speech, his views on life? He's been cool to be around.

So what are you going to shoot tonight and what stage am you at?
Scene 91 and scene 93 and scene 95! Johnny and Jane arrive underneath Heaven in Newark looking for a guy named Jones who supposedly can hack information out of my head. I was supposed to meet someone in Newark but I can't so the information that I have stored in my head is killing me. I have a limited amount of time. I've just learnt that before I've arrived here, the information I'm carrying is the cure to a disease called NAS - Nerve Attenuation Syndrome - which correlates, I guess, to cancer and AIDS. The woman who's with me - Jane Dinomyer - is playing a kind of warrior and I've hired her to be my bodyguard. She has NAS and I want to get it out of my head and I'm freaking out. People are trying to kill me and, like, I have a breakdown.

So you've been through a scrape?
Yeah, this Volkswagen was released from the top of the bridge above Heaven, then it explodes into this huge fireball and then we fall to the ground.

Isn't it a bit of a macho movie with Ice T and Henry Rollins?
I don't know - we haven't really had to do any kind of bull-rearing or... erm, cock-rearing. We're all on the same side as it turns out, so it hasn't been, you know, confrontational in any way at all. Henry Rollins plays the altruistic NAS underground doctor and Ice-T is the peacenik - an anarchist fighting for peace. It's a good movie.




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Johnny Mnemonic

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