Keanu Walks in Head First
Keanu Reeves is used to doing lots of physical preparation for his films. For his role as the zany Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), he used movements he picked up from studying cartoon characters. For 1993's Little Buddha, he lost a bunch of weight to play the super-skinny Siddhartha. And for last year's stint as Jack Traven in Speed, he worked out extensively for two months so he'd look buff doing all that "running, jumping and playing".
But for his most recent flick, A Walk in the Clouds, in which Keanu plays a World War II soldier named Paul Sutton, most of the necessary preparation was in his head.
With his eyes, he looked at photographs of war veterans in an attempt to form an "emotional relationship" with them.
With his ears, he listened to former WWII soldiers tell him sobering, first-person tales of what it was like to fight in a war which had taken place two decades before he was born.
And with his mouth, Keanu uttered pre-performance noises which helped put him in the mood. As he's explained, the film's director, Alfonso Arau, "brought this woman to the set [who] taught us this thing where you use sounds. You vokalize to put yourself into a certain emotional place and be ready to work."