I'm no mystery man, says non-celeb Keanu
KEANU REEVES, variously described as mysterious, distant and detached, insists that he is none of these, a continuation of the denial process that saw him recently deny rumors regarding his sexuality.
"I don't try to be mysterious or anything. I just don't have a lot to say about the obvious everyday stuff,'' says Reeves.
Rumors aside, the biggest challenge facing the 30-year-old actor at this point in his career is the movie Walk In The Clouds, which starts here on October 19, his first romantic role after his bus-bound eruption onto the screen in Speed. After Speed came the cyber-thriller Johnny Mnemonic, which was cooly received and quickly disappeared from movie screens. Walk In The Clouds then, is Reeves' opportunity to affirm himself with the front runners in the young Hollywood pack. He says he is as proud of his work in helping to design the costumes as he is of his acting.
"I love the dressy look, the '40s style, the army uniform,'' he says of the role which sees him playing a soldier returning home after World War II to a wife he no longer loves. On the way, he meets a girl who is going home to her family in California's Napa Valley in disgrace, pregnant and dumped by her boyfriend.
Reeves agrees to stand in as her husband in the showdown with her domineering father and - surprise, surprise, the pair fall in love. It's a departure from anything Reeves has done to date and he admits that he learned a lot from his co-stars, veterans Anthony Quinn and Giancarlo Giannini.
"Giannini in particular showed me how you can invent as an actor. He's such a technician, a scientist, but he's got that Chaplinesque quality, too. I was star-struck and I felt like a kid who didn't know anything,'' says Reeves.
Part of the mystery image in which Reeves has been clouded has been generated by his lifestyle. He has no home and lives out of a suitcase, staying in hotels where and when his work demands, sometimes crashing at his sister Kim's place in Los Angeles.
His only other piece of luggage on his wanderings is his bass guitar which he plays in his band Dogstar. He also avoids the celebrity life and limelight.
"I don't lead the life of a celebrity,'' he insists. "I don't hang around with anybody famous. In fact, I don't hang around much at all, except with a few friends and guys in my band where I'm just trying to play the bass.''
Dogstar, a Los Angeles-based quartet, is Reeves' greatest interest apart from acting and, while the crictics' reception of its music could be described as restrained, Reeves remains enthusiastic.
He describes his music as "punk'', while denying that he has to straddle a line between his twin careers of acting and music. "It's not a tough line, it's a new line,'' he says.
"I feel like we're in new territory. The movie and rock careers are so separate, there's not any connection. If any of the music resonates to my acting career, fine. The only thing I would say for us is we have our own sound. Whatever we're doing is original.''
Reeves says he worries about his work and is sensitive to criticism that he is a lightweight and lacks passion. "I'm a physical type of actor and I realise it. But I'm not afraid to try anything. I think sometimes in films they want actors to take real risks that might complicate the image they are hoping will sell a few more tickets. "I like to show my insecurities, but I find more often than not they cut them. A hero with doubts, who brings real life to the screen, well, maybe they're not sure they want such a person.''