TV Week (Aus), April 13, 1996

Straight Talker

Keanu Reeves laughs off those rumors and speaks about the most important woman in his life

Keanu Reeves has experienced the highs and lows of Hollywood fame. Roles in such box-office hits as Point Break and Speed propelled him to international stardom. But after a recent string of flops including Johnny Mnemonic and A Walk In the Clouds, he's hoping the romantic comedy Feeling Minnesota will put him back on top. Keanu and Vincent D'Onofrio play brothers vying for the love of The Mask's Cameron Diaz. It also stars Hole singer Courtney Love, who is making her film debut. But despite rumors of an offscreen affair with his beautiful co-star, there is only one woman in Keanu's life - his 29-year-old sister, Kim, who is battling cancer. Here the sometime rock star talks to TV WEEK about life, love, and those rumors that he's gay.

TV WEEK: Have you befriended the cast of Feeling Minnesota, which includes Courtney Love and Cameron Diaz?
KEANU REEVES: We worked together very well. This is work, though. It's hard to make friends when you're working so hard and concentrating on the job. I don't know how much we will keep in touch.

TVW: What is Feeling Minnesota about?
KEANU: I play one of two brothers who are rivals for the same woman. It's all about the different ways people love and how strongly they feel. It's also about what their idea of love is and what it does to each of them.

TVW: Talking of love, is there one woman in your life that you see regularly?
KEANU: Yes, there is. Although, I don't think it's what most people have in mind. I'm very close to my sister, Kim. She is a couple of years younger than me and I think she is wonderful. We look after each other. I bought her a house and I like to see that she is happy. She is the most important woman in my life.

TVW: You don't seem to have had long relationships outside of your family?
KEANU: No, I've not been one to date for long periods and get to the marriage stage. It may have something to do with seeing my parents divorce. That must have tarnished my view of marriage.

TVW: Maybe you don't flirt enough to meet the right woman?
KEANU: No, I flirt. It's enjoyable. I can't help that! I enjoy sitting talking to others and playing that game. It's harmless enough. It's part of just hanging out.

TVW: You are over 30 now, but still very much a pin-up for young girls. How do you feel about that these days?
KEANU: It fascinates me sometimes and it's still cool in a way. I've heard that there's all kinds of Keanu Reeves merchandise. I find it funny and a bit weird that Keanu Reeves coffee cups and Keanu Reeves wrist-watches exist. Some of the names such as "sex symbol" or "sex god" are funny, too. I don't think of myself that way.

TVW: How do you think of yourself?
KEANU: I don't see myself as this cool guy I'm made out to be. Something must be added on the way I come across in interviews so that people perceive me as cool. I've been labelled cool and I can't escape it, no matter how boring I actually may be. I'm a normal guy, just like most guys out there.

TVW: Do you think you are ever likely to become a father?
KEANU: Not in the short term, because I am not ready to make that commitment to family life and to accept that responsibility. I take commitments very seriously. When I have achieved what I want to achieve with my work, then maybe the time will be right to look to parenthood. I already daydream about having a family of my own.

TVW: What is the most important thing you would consider if you became a father?
KEANU: To be around for your child and not be a stranger. If you plan to be a parent you have to be willing to be committed. Children take priority in your life, or at least they should.

TVW: Do you believe in horoscopes for predicting your future?
KEANU: I never used to believe strongly in them, but recently I have started to think about them. I'm a typical Virgo in that I am very critical of myself and I like order in my life, I know that much. When I worked on A Walk In The Clouds, the director, Alfonso Arau, is famous for his love of magic and stuff. Maybe I warmed to that when I worked with him,

TVW: Is there a dark side to Keanu Reeves?
KEANU: I think there's a dark side to everybody. We're only human and humans are prone to lie, for whatever reasons, and cause other people and themselves distress. That's all inside of me, too.

TVW: How big a film star do you consider yourself?
KEANU: I'm not up there with the Tom Cruises and Arnold Schwarzeneggers. Those guys have consistently had huge box-offices hits. I haven't been around as long as them or had their opportunities, but I have managed a couple of good performances!

TVW: Do you think you have the same macho qualities as such action guys as Arnold Schwarzenegger?
KEANU: Macho covers a lot of things. You can be an action star without having to be of one single type. I'd hate to say I was in just one category. As an actor, you try to broaden your range. I'm working hard at it.

TVW: How do you review some of your flops, such as Johnny Mnemonic?
KEANU: Yeah, I've had some films that dived at the box office. Johnny Mnemonic didn't turn out the way we expected it to. The film company has final say on the film for putting up the money and they recut it. Still, it has its good parts.

TVW: Do you think critics are fair to you, especially those who just think of you as a super dude?
KEANU: I think people wait for me to make a bad move. I often don't get a fair chance. I got a rough deal when I played Hamlet on the stage. Most of the critics came only on opening night when I had a bad attack of nerves. They trashed it. But one guy, who is a well-respected critic, came back and thought I was very good. Whatever people said, I love Shakespeare and I learned so much from that role that very little else matters.

TVW: What is the best part of your job?
KEANU: I enjoy dressing up in all the different clothes and becoming different people. I've had some excellent costumes. I've also had the opportunity to work with some brilliant people. That's a definite high.

TVW: Have you started working out again since touring with your band, Dog Star?
KEANU: Yeah, I've been going to the gym to get in shape. I love the idea of being really fit. It's a vanity thing as much as a fitness thing, I guess. So I pump iron and I go running in the hope of being in better shape. Sometimes, like with Johnny Mnemonic, the role demands that I look a certain way and that dictates how serious I take fitness.

TVW: There are a lot of rumors about your health and sexuality? How do you react to gossip?
KEANU: I've come to accept it as part of the job. You can't fret over it or you end up miserable. Sometimes you just don't want to answer the rumors because you're rising to the bait. Then it could get worse. It can be a delicate thing. But, no, I'm not greatly unhealthy, neither am I in a gay marriage.

TVW: What do you think about your gay following?
KEANU: I think it's fine. I have had a couple of gay friends since my teens. I've been to a gay bar with a couple of gay women friends of mine and that was cool. I haven't been to any gay bars recently. I don't really hang out at bars anyway, but I'm an open-minded guy.

TVW: If you don't go to bars and clubs, what do you spend your money on?
KEANU: I support a few causes, charities for AIDS and so on. I also help out some family members when I can. It all goes. It's weird, I don't blow it on drugs and stuff like your supposed to in this business, but it goes anyway. I don't mind. Money has never been that important to me. I rarely spend money on myself.

TVW: Haven't you bought yourself any fancy gifts, like a new car?
KEANU: No, I haven't the time to look for one properly and if I did buy a house, it would have to be the perfect place. It would take a long time to find. Meanwhile, I stay in hotels while filming.

TVW: Do you enjoy keeping on your toes, not settling?
KEANU: It keeps you on the move, yes, but it's not that important for me to be a wandering type. I'm not trying to say to people I'm not ready to drop my anchor. It's my private life, what I choose to do.


Point Break , Speed , Johnny Mnemonic , A Walk in the Clouds , Feeling Minnesota , Hamlet , Dogstar , Fake Geffen Marriage and Related, The

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