Has Keanu lost his sex appeal?
by Iain Blair & Lucy Hunter
THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE'S LIPS IS, CAN KEANU STILL KICK IT?
Not so long ago, he was the boy babe of Hollywood, slipping seamlessly from his role as strung-out teen in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, right through to the hard-bodied, all-action hero in Speed. The whole world wanted a piece of him. Then it all went wrong. A run of lukewarm reviews, rumours about his sexual orientation, and a much-publicised "friendship" with Amanda de Cadenet didn't help. Neither did the love handles, the less-than-meticulous attention he paid to his personal grooming, or all the new pretty-boy actors arriving in his wake. So is it all over for Keanu? Maybe not. In his latest film, Devil's Advocate - in which he co-stars with Al Pacino - he looks svelte, clean-shaven and as gorgeous as before. So far, so good. But would the famously secretive star be willing to share what's been going on in his life and blitz a few of those rumours? Read on ...
Okay. Rumour No. 1: You're homeless and just stay with friends.
No, I don't stay with friends. I stay in hotels. Room service is good, especially in the morning. I tend to stay in the same hotels and I'm pretty good at it - I've been doing it for three or four years! I don't mind spending the money - although it is a concern. But for another month, it'll be okay.
Money's a bit tight, then?
The biggest extravagance I've had lately is a case of very expensive wine. A very, very good case of wine. It's an '82 Cheval Blanc, first-growth Bordeaux, and it's delicious.
Rumour No. 2: You're gay. How did that long-running story start?
(Takes a deep breath) I have no idea how it started. I mean, I don't really care what anyone says or thinks until it begins to affect my work. When I heard that I was secretly married to a producer called David Geffen, I went, "Oh, that's so silly." Then it just took on a life of its own.
First of all, you ignored this rumour. But now you're talking about it. Why?
My manager and agent were like, "Look, you have to address this." And for a long time, my response was, I don't care what anyone thinks. I just don't care." But then it got to such a point that they impressed upon me that I had to say something. If you ignore the Press, they seem to get angry and then they attack.
Rumour No. 3: Are you seeing, er, anyone at the moment?
(Politely but firmly) No, I'm not in a relationship right now.
(Dammit, will we ever find out about him and Amanda de Cadenet?!) Okay, no home, no girlfriend. You don't seem to have ties to people or things.
Of course I do. Friends and family and books and stuff.
But you're happy to be on your own?
Yeah, very much so. But some days like ... well, I call it the ache.
Can you see a day when you'll settle down?
I have no idea. But that's also an ideal that's not quite true. Even if you have the traditional American white picket fence, you've got to f****g paint the thing and deal with the day-to-day stuff. The kids are screaming, you have no time ... It's just a dream, it's not real.
You don't sound very romantic. Or do you have hidden depths?
Sometimes, yeah. I mean, I've done nothing as grandiose as that great scene in A Walk in the Clouds where I serenaded a woman under her balcony, but sure, I can relate to it (pause). Gosh, I guess I'm a little lacking in the romantic gesture. But I've done presents and gifts ...
Ever had your heart broken?
Um, I never came home to find my girlfriend cheating. Peripherally, though, it happened to me like that, but I only found out later after we had broken up that something had been going on. But in terms of having my heart broken like that, no.
Can you tell us when was the last time you cried, and why?
I cried at one point, during the filming of Devil's Advocate, just out of frustration with the work. It was a really hard shoot, and I just became really frustrated with not being able to ... I felt like I wasn't getting a chance to do my best work and I was feeling overwhelmed by the process.
Do you worry about who you are in terms of your career?
No. I'm still trying to work it out. And what I've learned from working with older actors like Anthony Quinn and Al Pacino is that it never ends. You're always searching for another gig, always got to keep working. So that's what I'm doing.
You don't have a master plan, then?
Who has a master plan? I didn't go out of my way to appear in films that bombed, but it happened (laughs). Yeah, that was a really good plan!
What about your group, Dogstar? Would you give up acting for that?
Not full time. I love acting too much and it's my gig, you know? But certainly, when I do focus on the music, then that is my main focus, like all the rehearsing when we're going on tour. Last summer we toured the States, doing 50 shows in 65 days. So when I'm in it, it's not something I just kind of go, "oh" about.
You passed up megabuck films like Speed 2 to do a small independent film, The Last Time I Committed Suicide (about Beat icon Neal Cassady). Why?
It's not such a big deal. I've done movies like Speed 2 recently - last year I was in Chain Reaction - but I'm also happy to do films like Feeling Minnesota. The big action film and the smaller movie. Hopefully, I'll get to do both types again.
So have you ever thought about suicide yourself?
Oh God (laughs). Sometimes you have that, you know, extinction impulse, and then something really bad happens to you. You know, your life is threatened through illness or accident or whatever. You're fighting for life, and you realise that when you thought about suicide, you were kidding yourself.
I guess you must be talking about your motorbike accidents?
Yeah. I've had quite a few - the foot, the teeth ... Forty miles an hour getting broadsided by a car!
Did it scare you?
Yeah. My friend once said to me when I was riding with her, "You ride differently now, you're riding scared." And I said, "I know."
You have a car now?
A black Porsche. It's the closest thing I could get to a motorbike - and I still have a few of those.
Ever been stopped for, er, speeding?
Yeah, I'd been going at something like 120, but he didn't say anything, except, "Oh, you're the Speed guy." If I'd made any cracks like I can't slow down below 50, he'd have taken me to jail - he'd have shot me. He did that cop thing where it's like "I could take you to jail."
What's the most important thing you've learned in your life and career?
Those are big questions, and the two are very different things, but also kind of the same. I guess, acting-wise, it's just to be prepared and do your work. In life, I would say it's important to use compassion.
How would you like to be remembered if you died tomorrow?
A good man.
Really? As simple as that?
Yeah. That's not bad. It's something.