MAX (Fr), September 1995
Keanu Reeves, the Last Hollywood Rebel
(Translated from French)
by Henry Arnaud
After the Spring Brad Pitt, the Summer Johnny Depp, here's Autumn Keanu Reeves. This season, he triumphs on the screen in "Johnny Mnemonic" (opens Nov. 21) and in "A Walk in the Clouds (Dec 20). The occasion lead to a meeting where he talks to us about his carreer and the rumors about his homosexuality.
Tuesday, the 11th, in an air-conditioned suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, with a view over all Hollywood and its hills, Keanu receives me plainly dressed in black jeans and a white shirt.
He has spent the night jamming with his muscian pals from the group Dogstar. Between two cappucinos and an aspirin for his hangover, the superstar agrees to talk freely.
HA: OK, let's start with that rumor about your homosexuality...
KR: No, I am not gay, but I don't have to clarify myself. I don't want to create a single supermedia image from beginning to end.
HA: Why do you protect your private life so closely?
KR: I make it a point of honor to never talk about my private life. I don't want to have to explain myself, what I do, nor who I do it with, outside of my profession.
HA: You must be fed up with always being asked the same question?
KR: Oh, you know, recently somebody asked me when was the last time I fucked a girl. It's crazy! Journalists are always after whoever can make their rags sell. I understand. They pander to everyone's bestial side.
HA: You live for nothing more than your profession as an actor...
KR: I work like a fool to always learn more. And I refuse the label "action hero." Mel Gibson or Robert Redford, are they considered action film actors? They aren't super macho, just good actors.
HA: You have the image of being the last bad boy of Hollywood.
KR: Ah, my image as rebel or bad boy! You must have the wrong guy...
HA: Are you the kind that walks around an airport with a gun, like Christian Slater, or wrecks hotel rooms, like Johnny Depp?
KR: Not really. Or if I break something in my hotel room, I manage to change suites before the cleaning lady notices it!
HA: You get along alright with your image as a sex symbol?
KR: OK, it's pleasing. There are worse things in a man's life. But putting me in the classification of the five sexiest actors, I get fed up with that. That's another world for me, the world of magazines. That only exists on newstand displays.
HA: And the story of your marriage to David Geffin, the last nabob of Hollywood, is that something the media set up?
KR: On your suggestion? I learned about it while I was in Winnipeg, in Canada, during the production of Hamlet. There was a message from a friend, Claire, on my answering machine. She said, "I just found out you're married. Congratulations!" I've never met David Geffin. All that, its bullshit.
HA: Do you think its tied to your role in "My Own Private Idaho," with River Phoenix? The scene where River declares his love for you rang so true...
KR: River was a fantastic guy. He moved me enormously. There are two levels in that scene: on one, the characters that we played, and on the other, the fact that we were super-pals. My character replied to him, "Come on, man, I can't love you and certainly not the way you want. But we can keep each other warm." It was a great scene for an actor like River. And at the same time, there was, beneath it all, our profound friendship.
HA: Do you have gay friends?
KR: I shared an apartment in Toronto with two Lesbian pals, who were lovers with each other. I was 17 or 18 years old. I went out with them to gay bars and discos. It was the era of "Dynasty" and there were TV parties with the series showing on the big screen in the bars. It was a good time to go out and drink beer. After those times, my sexual preferences were never a problem for me.
HA: After the sucess of Speed, you're worth about 40 million francs per film...
KR: I don't do this job to become a millionaire. What I want is to act.
HA: What do you do with your millions of dollars?
KR: I buy vintage bordeaux.
HA: Have you gone to Bordeaux?
KR: I'd love to, but I don't have the time. Instead of going to Gironde I pay a fortune for the bordeaux wines that are imported to the US. In LA I have my supplier [attitre -- rich & happy]
HA: In "A Walk in the Clouds" you play a soldier returned from WWII, who falls in love with the daughter of a Spanish vinegrower. That was lucky for someone who loves good wine...
KR: Filming in Napa Valley was grandiose. I loved working with Alfonso Arau, the director, and Aitana is a sublime actress.
HA: Is she your kind of gal?
KR: I don't have a particular type. Just need to be attracted, intrigued. Aitana could be that kind of girl. Everything went very well between us during the filming, very...