Keanu's the Devil's own enigma
He's weird, he's mysterious, he's cute but, most importantly, he's Canadian
by Liz Braun
NEW YORK -- Ask anybody. Keanu Reeves is weird. No, mysterious. No, ethereal.
Taylor Hackford, the director of Reeves' newest movie, Devil's Advocate, calls the actor "a unique entity," and goes so far as to speculate that it's all due to what he calls Reeves' mixed heritage -- that Chinese/Hawaiian/British background.
Oh, get over it. Keanu Reeves' distinguishing characteristic is not that tough to figure out: He's Canadian.
KEANU THE CANADIAN: He's a great hockey player. He is unfailingly polite. He has just the sort of energy, self-deprecating spirit and slightly bent sense of humor that are almost national characteristics up here in the frozen north.
He didn't grow up in America, and so lacks the self-absorption that is acquired (by osmosis) through living in an insular and xenophobic land. But never mind.
Reeves' most Canadian trait is that he's so funny.
KEANU THE COMIC: Here to promote Devil's Advocate, in which he plays a young hotshot lawyer who finds out too late that his boss (Al Pacino) is Satan, Reeves displays a dry sense of humor that seems to be confusing to many in the media. Also, he never sits still, which adds to the general air of pleasant dementia.
For example: Reeves is the bass player in a band called Dogstar. Asked by an earnest reporter what music can give him that acting cannot, the actor displays perfect comic timing before he deadpans, "I get to play music."
KEANU THE KID: There was some chat about conflict with his co-star, Al Pacino, on the set of Devil's Advocate, but Reeves says he actually felt a kind of father thing with the older actor.
Asked if Pacino encouraged him in his work, Reeves imitates the older actor's growly voice perfectly when he says, "Well, it's not like he said, 'You really sucked, Keanu!'"
And what did he learn from Pacino? "Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight for yourself. Never stop fighting for the film, for the scene, fighting to create."
KEANU THE CUTIE: Reeves was once written up in the supermarket tabloids as having been united with David Geffen in a gay marriage, though the two men hadn't actually ever met in real life. The actor's personal life is off-limits.
Meanwhile, what's his take on the tabs?
"The only story I've read I wish were true was the one that had me swimming with Sharon Stone."
KEANU THE CONFESSOR: Okay, this Devil's Advocate is all about sin and the modern conscience. What's Reeves' own religious background? "My mother taught me to reject the High Church of England."
Then there was an adolescent phase of questioning and searching: "And of my own volition I went to Saturday morning bible classes."
KEANU THE CONQUERER: His next movie is a sci-fi kung-fu film called The Matrix. It's from the Wachowski Brothers, who did Bound.
"So of course with the Wachowski Brothers there will be tons of blood, guns, action, death, shooting, fighting, t-ts, a--, tons of cool s--t." He swings his arms around wildly for emphasis.