I'M STILL LOOKING FOR LOVE
by Brad Ritzer
He doesn't have a mansion or a settled home life. And his biggest kick is playing guitar for free beer. Will Keanu Reeves ever grow up?
At 33, Keanu Reeves remains the mystery man-boy of Hollywood -- one minute reaching for megastardom, the next settling for obscure, low-budget roles before dropping out again. His IQ is debatable, his sexuality more so.
After rumours, which he's repeatedly denied, linking him with gay movie mogul David Geffen, he seemed on the verge of romance with British wild child and TV presenter Amanda de Cadenet.
Press him about joint living arrangements and all he'll say is, "I love Amanda very dearly. In Hollywood it's very important to have a friendship and it's great we can share things." But as for children, the answer is a firm no. "I went through a phase of wanting to be a dad last year. But I'm over it. I'm still looking for love, hopefully not in all the wrong places."
Apart from his collections of motorbikes and guitars, Keanu places little value on possessions -- possibly because of his unsettled early years. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in its pre-war heyday. Later, he and sister Kim spent a spell in Australia before the family moved to Canada. "Home is where my couch is. I have a home. I just don't have a house or apartment," he says mysteriously, although he admits LA, where he's lived for 13 years, is the city he considers home.
Earlier this year, Keanu made another foray into the big time opposite Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. "At first it was a little intimidating. But then it became like he was a peer, actually a father," says Keanu, whose natural father left the scene early on and was last heard of serving a prison sentence for drugs offences.
Keanu returns to British screens this week in a small-ish role as a pool-playing barfly in The Last Time I Committed Suicide, set in the Fifties among the Beat Generation. Clearly, he's happier with this tasty acting morsel than the full Hollywood banquet.
"When you're not playing the hero, you don't have such an obligation. You generally get to do more stuff, such as developing the character."
With his nomadic lifestyle, he's been dubbed a modern-day version of the famous Beat poets. "I've tried to search for new sensations -- living in the moment, travelling, experiencing. But I've always found it sort of melancholy on the road. Searching for something, but not necessarily finding it. I'm still doing it, but now I'm a little older so I have to pick my times."
As for escape, Keanu says he can find plenty of that on his couch. "Sometimes I just sit and think or read or play chess," he says. "Or I hang out with the band I play in."
He denies rumours that his devotion to the group Dogstar, in which he plays bass guitar, led him to turn down a huge fee for Speed 2. "It had nothing to do with the band. The script wasn't great and I could afford to say no."
The occasional 5-million-pounds per movie comes in handy, though, as pickings with Dogstar are likely to remain slim. "Hopefully, you're bringing in enough people that they give you free beer," he says enthusiastically.
The only signs he shows of slowing down are with his favoured form of transport, the motorcycle. "I've had quite a few accidents. Getting hit by a car going 40mph was pretty bad. My two Norton motorcycles are my prized possessions. I don't know if I'm getting any better at riding them. But I'm definitely getting better at crashing!"
Ten years after he shot to fame as airhead Ted in the film Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure, the hunger to act is still there, despite the burdens of stardom. "I guess I'll just keep on working. I love to work and I love acting more and more."
SIDEBAR: "Keanu File"
Birthdate: 2 September 1964.
Name: Supposed to mean cool breeze over the mountains
Image: Exotic, beautiful, hard to pin down. Catch him if you Keanu etc.
Nickname: 'The Wall', from his days as a hockey goalie.
Academic qualifications: None - even failed gym.
Addicted to: Cigarettes, chess.
Home: The Chateau Marmont Hotel in Sunset Boulevard. Or is it?
Weirdest rumour: He'd married music and film producer David Geffen.
Unfulfilled dream: To swim with Sharon Stone.
Famous for: Baffling Keanu-speak, such as when he was asked if he could keep his ego under control. "I guess it depends what aspect of the ego you're talking about. OK, if the ego puts forth desire for the ego..."