KEANU REEVES - HOPEFULLY I'LL MAKE MY WAY, AND GET TO ACT AND MAKE GOOD FILMS.
(Translated from Japanese, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
Interview by: Lynne Lane
-- I suppose that "Feeling Minnesota" was pre-Speed.
KR: What do you mean by 'pre-Speed'?
-- You decided to take the role before "Speed" became a big hit.
KR: I don't remember, but I think it wasn't.
-- Anyway, the movie isn't a big budget major movie, is it? It's an off-beat role. Everyone asked, "Why did Keanu accept the role?" Can you give us the reason?
KR: Because the script was wonderful. I met Steven Baigelman and he had that firm grasp on the movie and the characters in the movie, as a director and scriptwriter as well. I also liked his zeal and love regarding the movie. The people gathered for this movie were special too.
-- So, the box-office is not the most important point for you.
KR: I don't know what's the most important to me, but I hope people go to see the movie, and also hope that that makes it a hit, since it became a fairly good movie. The theme was interesting, and all the actors did a great job in it. It's a story that makes you dizzy. Anyway, I enjoy playing a part in a movie, in whatever movie.
-- How was Courtney Love as a co-star?
KR: I met her just once to say hello.
-- Didn't you enjoy the meeting with her since both of you are involved in music?
KR: Wait a minute. Concerning the music, she is far better than me. I'm a big fan of her band Hole, and I even have their album! She brought a lot of energy to the set. We were all like "Wow! Courtney Love!"
-- But you're crazy enough about the music that you even declined to be in "Speed II", aren't you?
KR: No! No! There is no relation between that and the band thing. I don't know how the story started to spread.
-- So what is the real reason you declined Speed II?
KR: I did "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey", so I've already experienced a sequel. My opinion about sequels is a little complicated. I'd say that I didn't want go this way because I'd done a sequel before.
-- Your band has released a CD, right?
KR: Yeah. It's an enhanced CD, so if you play it in your computer you can see videos as well.
-- You also went on a tour with your band.
KR: That's right. We went to Europe first and then to Japan. I once went back to the States in between to do some interviews, while the other members of the band were playing golf in Dublin.
-- I heard that you turned down Speed ll because you just finished Chain Reaction and you were tired of action movies. Is that right?
KR: That's one of the reasons. To shoot Speed II in a few months after Chain Reaction is kinda hard. I was really tired at that time, so I wasn't in the mood to do the jumping and running... I think Speed ll will be a good movie anyway. Jan De Bont and Sandra Bullock are both talented, and whoever the new lead is, he should be as well. I'm sure it will be an enjoyable film.
-- How was the reaction of the people around you when you turned down the Speed sequel? Didn't they say that you were ruining your career as an actor?
KR: They thought that I was crazy or something. Every person I met told me that, so I started to think, "C'mon, they blame me that I'm committing suicide!" Then my hands started shaking and I had a stomachache in the end. Hopefully I'll make my way, and get to act and make good films.
-- I suppose you are getting used to such reactions, because it's not the first time that people are negative about your decision. The same happened when you decided to play Shakespeare. You really are going your way.
KR: Well, I've done a film that was a big hit, that is Speed. I've been working in this field for years and I want to continue working. I know some critics don't want me to, but, what should I do? I was lucky to be in many movies, different genres and have the chance to work with many good directors. I used to play a good guy with a primitive innocence, such as Eddie in Chain Reaction and also Jjaks in Feeling Minnesota. However, the two films are different in genres. I think my character in Feeling Minnesota is a little more sophisticated in the psychological department.
-- You said that you are tired of being in action roles, but there was a lot of action in Feeling Minnesota.
KR: Yeah. There was a big fight scene in it. Hitting, kicking and biting off my ear, and hey, there's also a raunchy sex scene in it.
-- So you got a lot of scrapes.
-- Can you tell me about the fight scene?
KR: Vincent and I played the fight scene with care, especially in the beating on the face part. It was like "Okay, you beat me first, then I punch you in return". We didn't have an instructor in this. He and I were responsible in doing the scene, thinking and beating each other and giving knee-drops... well, we both have practical experiences in that.
-- Now let's talk about the bathroom scene. It wasn't the first time you played such a scene, well, I don't mean on the bathroom floor, but it was the first experience for Cameron, so did you have to ease her tension?
KR: No. Actually, I haven't done such a real sex scene before, so it was hard for me. We had to shoot that sequence soon after we started filming. I believe it was a rainy day. We were not prepared at all to do that scene when the director said "We'll shoot the bathroom scene tomorrow, so Cameron, it's an important scene in describing your character", then Cameron was like "You're kidding, I can't believe it!". She was a bit nervous but she did a good job. I think that sequence should have been done later, because it was really hard to get the emotions to that level at the very beginning of the filming. We understand it in our heads, but there's a lack of abililty to reach that. Steven was very helpful to us in this matter.
-- It was a kind of dark, small piece and you've played an odd character in it. And what is more, it was the debut film for the director. How could you leave everything to him? Wasn't it risky?
KR: That's my belief, or maybe a hope. Besides it was a great script. But I have to say that the final product is often not the same as the script, and that's hard for us actors. Sometimes it's annoying. However, Steven was very sure of what he wanted to make. He once studied acting, so he knows how we feel and also he understands how to get into a character. I've played a role in few films that were the debut for the director, and Feeling Minnesota is just one of them.
-- Was it easy for you to understand the character of Jjaks? The audience will know what kind of person he is, guessing from the reaction of the people in the film to Jjaks, in the beginning of the film.
KR: This question is kinda hard. I did my best in the film. The final product is a little different from the one I expected, but I did understand when my character Jjaks says "Don't you see? It feels too good", " It's gonna turn to s**t". That's the line that describes Jjaks character. He was cool! He was trying to get over the difficulties.
-- How about Tuesday Weld. You are her fan, aren't you?
KR: Yeah. She was like a goddess in the set. We were like "Wow!" Tuesday is a wonderful person, you know, she never niggles. And she played my mother! I was really happy.
-- In the show-biz world, you say "break a leg" when you wish one success, but what you should say to one who rides a motorcycle?
KR: You should say, "Break both legs."
-- Are you still riding?
KR: Yes, because I like it.
-- What do the film production companies say about it?
KR: They often say, "Don't ride", but sometimes they say nothing about it. I went to the audition of Dracula on a motorcycle, and I said "Hi, Francis" on the bike.
-- What is the benefit of riding on a bike? Most of the bikers in LA say that there are too many cars on the streets, so it's hard to drive there.
KR: That's true. Those troublesome traffic lights, and it seems that drivers are busy making phone calls or putting CDs in their player, aren't they? They forget to put on the turn signals.
-- But, that happens sometimes.
KR: Oh, really? Maybe I will understand this if I get a Mercedes or something and drive.... No, I think it will make me mad!
-- You said that the circulated stories about you are most of the times false, like the reason why you turned down Speed II.
KR: I have no idea why this happened. No one asked me about that. I didn't say "I'm not doing Speed II" to anyone. It's just a movie, isn't it? Just an action movie. It's not a big deal!
-- What do you think about the way the press treats you? Do you feel it's hard or can you handle it?
KR: It's hard sometimes. They are stuck on you all the time.
-- Do you think you have to deal with them nicely, or you are just tired of them?
KR: I don't know. It's like a double edged sword. I'm glad I have work and have people who go to see my films, but, when you meet these people, you know, they are kinda weird.
-- You mean your fans are all crazy?
KR: No, I'm not talking about fans. Paparazzi and autograph hounds. It's disgusting.
-- Can you tell me about your fans? Are they different from each other or there are some kind of "typical" fans?
KR: I think there are all types.
-- Is there any interesting experience you can tell us about?
KR: Like what?
-- Did someone asked you to sign an autograph on a watermelon?
KR: A watermelon? No. Did I say that?
-- It's just because you were talking about the disgusting autograph seekers. I thought you had in mind such kind of experiences with those people.
KR: I have no idea. I don't talk to them much, so I don't know about them. Often, they say that they are a fan, and that they like my films or something like that.
-- Tell me about your new movie.
KR: I'm busy filming "Devil's Advocate", a thriller directed by Taylor Hackford.
-- What kind of story is it?
KR: A horror, I guess.
-- So, you are doing a Vampire or something?
KR: No, a lawyer.
-- It's the same thing.
KR: I've heard people say that the number of law students are more than the number of the lawyers in the whole world. So, the number of lawyers will double in the next 5 years. That's weird. I think the movie will be an allegory kind of. I play a lawyer who is specialized in child abuse, then I join a certain law firm, and get involved into the dark side of life.
-- You also did a film called "The Last Time I Committed Suicide"
KR: I played a friend of Neal Cassady in his youth. Steven Kay is the director. The lead is the newcomer Thomas Jane; I think he will be popular from now on. The movie is based on the letters from Cassady to Jack Kerouac. It's a story about a young man who loves a woman and who hopes to have a happy family, but in the other side, he wants to be a roamer. It's about a loser, and I am his buddy.