E-mail (US), September 23, 1997

Another perspective on the Homeless Pic

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 03:49:53 -0500 (CDT)
From: Tonia Lorenz
To: Keanu Mailing List

Hi, Gardeners!

I got this in my mailbox tonight from someone who had heard I was a bit concerned about Keanu's, ahem, "slumming" on Skid Row in the now infamous "Homeless pictures." I'm just paraphrasing what this person is telling me -- I don't have any *real* knowledge about whether the following version of events is true or not, but this person has NEVER steered me wrong in the past. I'll leave it up to each of you to make up your mind for yourself.

(BTW, I'm reposting with permission -- the person who emailed me with the info would like to set the record straight.) Here are the particulars:

1) The incident happened recently... in the past 3-4 weeks.

2) It was an act of a kind heart ("Good Samaritan Keanu"). Not "down in the dumps Keanu" or "bummed-out Keanu," but a good man, trying to be nice to someone less fortunate than himself.

3) He was NOT aware that pictures were being taken and NO -- repeat, NO -- interview ever took place! Nada...Nil...Zip...Ixnay on the interview! It's a complete fabrication. (I knew the quotes didn't sound like Keanu's normal speaking style, but I thought they may have been paraphrased for the benefit of those folks who are "Keanu-speak-impaired.")

4) The pics were taken by -- believe it or not -- a Japanese tourist who was visiting L.A. and recognized Keanu (he's very popular in Japan). Some other tourists from the same group also took some photos once they were alerted just who it was on the curb. Obviously they recognized a money-making opportunity once the photos were developed. Keanu had no idea he had been photographed until the photos started being published.

5) Keanu spotted the street person (in the photos) on one of his cycle rides through town. He just stopped to ask the guy if he needed anything; and the guy said "Whiskey." Keanu obliged and bought him a bottle. When he returned with bottle in hand, the guy asked if he'd stay and talk a bit, since no one ever pays any attention to homeless people. Keanu stayed A FEW HOURS...that's it -- definitely not four days, and not overnight. The street person apparently had no idea who Keanu was.

6) Keanu is now aware that the photos have been published and also knows about the "interview" that he never gave. Apparently he thinks it's highly amusing.

7) There is no movie project about a homeless person.... well, there may be, but if there is, Keanu doesn't know about it! The next thing on his slate is Matrix. The whole incident was NOT done as a research project or to get into a character -- it wa s just done from the goodness of his heart.

8) Keanu's a quirky guy, he follows his heart and doesn't care much about convention. He's done stuff like this before, like the incident at the end of the 1991 "Details" interview where he left a restaurant with a doggie bag and offered it to a homeless person ("'Before we start talking, he jumps up toward a particularly bedraggled, bearded soul. 'I don't know if you need it or not,' he begins a little nervously, holding out the remnants of his meal, 'but I had some spaghetti. I'm not going to eat it. Do you want it?'")

Well, that's what I'm being told. Again, I'm in Chicago, not L.A., so I obviously have no personal "eyewitness" testimony to give. Submitted for your approval, as they used to say on "The Twilight Zone." Just wanted to throw this into the soup....

- Tonia
"I get to a few charities, but at least in my own small world, I have become totally sensitized to other people's pain. I have become more patient."


Matrix, The

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