KEANU REEVES: A Long Hot Shower With The Dreamdate
by John Patrick
Keanu Reeves has never tried wearing a dress, at least on screen, but he did manage a credible performance as a bisexual hustler in "My Own Private Idaho."
"There's nothing wrong with being gay," Keanu Reeves told Vanity Fair, "so to deny it is to make a judgment. And why make a big deal of it?"
David Geffen maintains that the rumor about his "marriage" to Keanu was started up not by gays out to appropriate Reeves for their own but by somebody simply "out to hurt Keanu." Geffen further asserts that some rumors that falsely portray straight men as gay can be attributed to women scorned. "I think these stories reflect frustration on the part of some women who simply do not get the response they want from these men," he says. "It could be that the men are not interested, or they may be involved with someone else--but it's easier for them to label the men as gay." The final and most pervasive agenda that fuels same-sex speculation is our ridiculously prurient society's unprecedented demand for gossip. The gay visibility boom is coinciding with the other information boom, and the two are feeding off each other. "Look, there's always been a palpable growth of gossip as an industry," says Geffen. "There's now a big, huge investment in stories. There are a million gossip columns in New York. There's the E! channel. Gossip is in the air more, and people are responding to it."
Keanu himself doesn't help. This is what he told USA Today just last fall: "It's, you know, the whole aspect of coming out. I mean, there is a whole, people, you know, who are gay (who) have decided that it can be--that whole thing about calling people out..." Well, how confused can you get?
Billy Masters at Filth reported, "We can finally put to rest the rumors about Keanu Reeves and David Geffen. They never met, never wanted to, and sources tell me that David is holding out for someone who can actually act...Regardless, what we can share is that Keanu was rather desperate to get the lead role in 'Little Buddha' (was I the only one who looked at that casting and went 'Huh?'). Bernardo Bertolucci, however, was not at all interested--that is, until Keanu went to visit him personally at his suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. After two hours, our sources report 'a rumpled Keanu emerged with a big grin on his face, and the part.' Go figure!" (Note: Bertolucci had called Keanu up, asked if he'd like to come over, and then laid out the role for him saying that he thought Keanu's innocence would suit the role; it wasn't an unannounced visit, as seen here. - Ani)
Rumpled? Keanu is always rumpled. Fashion critic Richard Tyler says, "He's a little too casual. I never remember what he wears at all." Better if he wore nothing at all.
Alas, in "Chain Reaction" Reeves spent most of his screen time in a parka! No wonder the movie bombed at the box-office! Of course, it would have been lousy even if Keanu had been nude throughout. As Owen Gleiberman, in Entertainment Weekly, said, "...'Chain Reaction' is stripped of wit, twistiness, dash. Instead of two men fearlessly upping the ante on each other's cleverness, we get Keanu Reeves, with his blank-souled stealth, facing down the umpteenth high-level conspiracy. It isn't Reeve's fault, exactly: He's become a confident and likable action star, but he needs a script that does more than pair him with a pretty physicist..."
"Despite all the stunts and special effects," Leah Rozen said in People, "Chain Reaction's plot, character development and dialogue are as barren as the snowy winter landscapes that pervade the movie. Chalk one up in the miss column for director Andrew Davis, who turned 1993's 'The Fugitive' into such a snappy and tense piece of work...Reeves is his usual stolid self, possibly even more stolid here because he spends the entire movie clad in slouchy flannel overshirts and lumpy winter parkas. He has zero chemistry with Weisz--it doesn't help that the two look like siblings sporting identical shaggy brunet dos."
Movie critic Bill Kelley called "Chain Reaction" "arguably the summer's worst big budget action movie...(and) a longer look at the film's credits reveals something that makes its failure truly alarming. The movie comes armed with creative credentials that few mainstream films can match." Most important of which is direction by Andrew Davis, director of "The Fugitive" (93) "The dialogue is coy and obvious--no one in this film talks like a living breathing person."
Kelley said that the best thing that can be said about the movie is that Keanu isn't as weak as is usually the case. "Reeves actually seems to have read his lines once or twice before speaking them...The credits disclose a key to what went wrong. Five screenwriters labored over this debacle before it was shot. When it takes five veteran writers to deliver a bad screenplay, we're facing a movie that clearly is not meant to be made." Lawrence Toppman of Knight-Ridder agreed, even going so far as to say, "Reeves doesn't give the least credible performance: That dishonor is reserved for British actor Brian Cox."
"See Keanu. See Keanu run. Run, Keanu, run," said Amy Taubin in the Village Voice. "The camera loves Keanu Reeves and never so much as when he's in motion--dashing through the snow, leapfrogging over cars, negotiating the icy steel struts of Chicago's Michigan Avenue drawbridge, eluding the cops, the FBI, and the CIA in the process...Still I was quite charmed by Reeves, who is unfailingly graceful and courteous despite the indignities gravity already is wreaking on his jawline...It's Morgan Freeman, however, who steals the show. With eyes colder than a Midwest winter glinting behind his hornrims, Freeman radiates power and intelligence from every pore. Unlike Reeves who hurls himself pell-mell into playacting, Freeman exerts Machiavellian control by seeming to do nothing at all."
Keanu's other major effort in 1996, "Feeling Minnesota," was 'so utterly inept, period, that you have to wonder why reputable actors signed on to it," Taubin said. "Imagine for a moment that you are Keanu Reeves and that Danny DeVito and Michael Shamberg of Jersey Films, producers of 'Get Shorty,' 'Reality Bites,' and many less charming, but commercially successful pictures send you a script...Imagine you are leafing through this script paying special attention to the character you've been asked to play, whose names is Jjaks (not a misprint but perhaps an indication of the unbearably arch quality of things to come). And imagine you come upon your first big scene in which you act upon the overwhelming attraction you feel toward the woman who has just married your brother by throwing her such a hard fuck on the bathroom floor that it provokes the following exchange: BROTHER'S WIFE: Did you come for me? JJAKS: I don't even know you. BROTHER'S WIFE: No, did you come for me?
"A this point, would you not simply close the script and return it whence it came, perhaps with a note attached to the effect that whoever sent you this mess of pigeon shit must be crazy? Well, you or I might, but Reeves evidently saw it differently. Lured by the opportunity to play a part that's out of his range (an impulsive white trash stud a la Brad Pitt or Nicholas Cage), he said yes." Cathy Che in HX didn't much like it either: " 'Feeling Minnesota' starts with a bang--splashy graphics spin wildly to Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' as the audience sits mesmerized, anxiously awaiting the promised love affair between dreamy eyed candy Keanu Reeves and the equally enticing Cameron Diaz. When they appear, they are luminous and angelic--set off by the bleak and desolate Minnesota landscape and what seems like a town full of bloated working-class meatheads. But their appeal quickly fades as the movie degenerates into a massive tangle of bad acting and ridiculous dialogue."
It broke our hearts to hear that Jason Patric had been cast in "Speed 2" replacing Reeves. "While the official word has been that Keanu had to bow out due to a motorcycle accident, "Billy Masters commented, "people in the know tell me that the big reason Keanu wanted out was that he gained quite a bit of weight and wasn't all that keen to go back to the gym and buff up for the part. Judging from recent photos that show an extra chin and prominent jowls, I'd have to say I agree with his decision." SPY claimed to have the scoop: "If press accounts were to be believed, tubby actor Keanu Reeves dropped plans to star in the sequel to 'Speed' to pursue a career with his rock band. But insiders say that it's less a music career than a yen for Chicago deep-dish pizza that's preventing Reeves from donning his action duds: Reeves put on 30 pounds, and was struggling to work off the weight."
Worse than that is the fact that Keanu's personal hygiene habits need some work. Justin Zane in the Bay Area Reporter observed, : "Now if Keanu Reeves briefs are gray it's only because they're dingy and unwashed. We say that because the Impression we get of the actor in his latest Vanity Fair interview is that of a messy ragpicker in need of a shower. No doubt he's adopted the persona of Mr. Rough and Tumble to get around persistent rumors that he is gay. And get around them he does." One talk show host in Tampa told me that when the star show up for a live interview, "he stunk to high heaven." Obviously your dream date with Keanu would have to start out with a long hot shower! How grand it would be to give him a good scrubbing--everywhere!
And, according to the tabloids, it seems he's also unwilling to clean up his room--two different maids each turned down $100 to clean up his rented beach house, where the floor was littered with fruit pits, cans and food wrappers and dirty socks and underwear were hanging from the lampshades. Now where are those naked-boy cleaning services when you need them?
Well, no wonder Keanu loves touring with his band, Dogstar; maids at hotels are so much more forgiving.
Upon the release of Dogstar's album last fall, "Our Little Visionary" on the Zoo label, Keanu said, "Our songs are kind of deceiving. They have a pop aspect to them, but the lyrics are not poppy. We're not trying to cop anyone's sound: We're doing our own thing. Hopefully, people will like it."
Most critics gave thumbs-down to the concerts themselves. "The Shepherd's Bush Empire, in West London, is a venue normally home to a mix of grizzled rock stars out for credibility, and precociously talented chart-hoggers," Empire magazine reported. "But in July it was a different story. For appearing tonight was Keanu Reeve's band Dogstar and their not-so-unique brand of moody grunge rock.
"Their one-off London gig was populated by nigh hysterical teens eager to catch a glimpse of Reeves indulging in his axe-thumping...However, the show itself proved to be a strangely muted affair. Arriving on stage ten minutes late, with the crowd having been whipped into a frenzy...But any suggestion that he would bound enthusiastically on stage was quickly scotched as the bearded, black-clad, newly-slender would-be rocker briefly acknowledged the audience (i.e. looked up), strapped on his bass and appeared to spend the best part of 50 minutes rooted firmly to one spot.
"Leaving all the hard work to singer Bret Domrose, the threesome thwacked their way through a selection of Dogstar's finest--a competent but peculiar hybrid of U2 and soundtrack faves The Gin Blossoms, only nowhere near as good as either. And while Domose raced about the stage, posed in his leather trousers and shook his blond mop over his face at regular intervals, his more famous bassist remained rigid, calmly thumping away at his instrument, head bowed and seemingly oblivious to the gargantuan crowd who had turned up just to hang on to his every word, and the ever diminishing squeals as one remarkably similar number merged into another.
"...The whole show--encores and all--lasted just under and hour, and the hotly anticipated stage invasion was completely absent, with not one person brave enough to defy the bouncers and hop on stage to place a smacker on their loved one. Only at the end did Reeves finally step up to the mike to say his piece, but, scuppered by technology, the microphone sputtered a bit and amplified its last, rendering the star's thank-you's inaudible to all but the man tuning the guitars at the side of the stage. Quitting the day job would be a tad inadvisable..."
At year's end, Keanu was making "Devil's Advocate," co-starring with Al Pacino. US columnist Peter Travers quipped, "He has yet to give a fully realized performance in a movie that he took to stretch his talent. But there is a glint in his eye when he gets close, as in 'Idaho,' that suggests he'd rather be in over his head than under a speeding bus. Maybe he is nuts, but he will keep up the fight."
Of course, touring means groupies and many opportunities to get your rocks off. With all this activity, is it any wonder that Filth claimed that more and more people come forward every week with their own Keanu stories: "I have almost as many of these as Tom Cruise stories! Anyway, the most popular one alleges that Keanu goes over to cute guys and says something along the lines of 'I'm not homosexual. I'm not heterosexual, I just like sex. Come on home with me.' Boy, was Keanu disappointed when two of my sources turned to him and said, 'Well, I'm gay and only sleep with gay men,' and walked away!"
Perhaps Keanu should just hire rough trade.