Turning down sequel not suicide, Keanu says
by Jenny Peters
When given the choice of jumping back on an out-of-control vehicle or instead taking a trip back to the time of the Beat Generation, Keanu Reeves didn't hesitate. "Speed 2: Cruise Control" was out; "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" was in.
"I think I have a very wide box office category range," Reeves says, explaining his reasons for choosing a supporting role in an art film over the lead in an action blockbuster. "I was fortunate enough to have acted in a film that had the success of 'Speed', but I also had the fortune of acting in a film that had the success of 'Feeling Minnesota'.
"But I think this film is successful artistically. I think it's a really good film, and I think it's well-acted and really well-written. So hopefully during this action-packed summer, people will find the time and desire to check it out."
You'll be able to check out the change in the actor's physique, too. It seems that Reeves dove into his role as the hard-drinking side-kick of Neal Cassady, the man who inspired author Jack Kerouac and poet Allen Ginsberg in the '50s, during the heyday of the Beat Generation. So instead of the hard-bodied Keanu in "Speed" (or even the emaciated Keanu as Buddha in "Little Buddha"), he's down-right fat in "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" -and he's proud of it.
"It's really the most fun I've had in preparing for a film in a long time," he says, laughing. "I drank! I just would drink, beer and scotch and wine. I really enjoy the physical aspects of acting, so I try to change for the part. Do what I have to do for the part. Actually, fat and drunk took me about 11 weeks."
Reeves balloned to 200 pounds for the role, and he looks rounder of face and body than we've ever seen him. But never fear, all you fans of the lean-and-mean version of the 6-foot-1 actor; he's back to his normal fighting weight of about 170, in preparation for practicing his other career this summer.
"Fifty shows, 65 days, something like that," Reeves says, referring to his rock band Dogstar, in which he plays bass. "We're playing everywhere. Everything. Nightclubs. Anything. We might even play a casino at an Indian reservation. Boxwoods, anything. We're just gonna play."
And while he's on tour, "Speed 2" will hit movie theaters in a big way. And where will the star of "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" be found? Standing in line, just like any other movie fan. "I can't wait," he says. "I love Jan De Bont's work, when it works. I really like Sandra Bullock. And I'm a great fan of Jason Patric as an actor. So get outta here: 'Speed 2', it'll be fun."