Expressen (Swe), July 15, 1999
(Translated from Swedish, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
They say that we are in Spain. And that the man in front of me is Keanu Reeves. But you can't be really sure, for it's about "The Matrix", the film which is not that which it pretends to be.
To get the hang of Keanu is not so easy. He wants so much: to be independent in low budget productions, to create action that costs half a million (swedish) crones, to play with his band Dogstar and to sometimes do a Shakespeare play when he wants. He used to get that idea from Kenneth Branagh after Branagh let Keanu act in "Much Ado About Nothing". The fact that Kenneth Branagh also thought Keanu looked good in leather pants is another story. When Keanu did "Speed" in 1994, the world thought that his name would forever stand first on top of film posters. It is true that he continued to be on top, though his choice of roles had been a little bit strange, including mega-flops such as "Johnny Mnemonic", "A Walk in the Clouds", "Chain Reaction" and a hit - "Devil's Advocate". Now Keanu strikes back. With "The Matrix", he hits all critics and doubters. The laughing is over, and "Matrix" is a punch on the nose.
When Keanu and Carrie-Anne Moss do their entree in the room on Hotel Arts in Barcelona, I and the other journalists jump up where we stand. Both are dressed in black, exactly as they were in the film. If it wasn't for Keanu's carelessness in shaving for several days, it could have been another scene from "The Matrix". And with a thought of how cyberspace is acting, maybe it is. Now, when the crown of action is on Keanu's head again, I begin with a question: if he feels resurrected as an actor and a movie star. "Resurrected," says Keanu, looking at me and getting quiet for a long while. So long that I wonder if he is still in the room or has left somewhere else. "Things change," he says. "It´s ebb and flow for all of us who are a part of this business." Then follows a moment of empty phrases, as he is proud to be in a movie that is so good, and he is glad that the audience like it.
Can you as an actor feel when a film can be a success? "No". (Silence again). Hm, I knew that it was true that people who give up high school are never such big speakers or thinkers.
What is the message in "Matrix"?
"There are some," Keanu says, before he turns to Carrie Anne Moss, who says it's about "breaking away from everything that preys on you, psychically and physically." Keanu nods, satisfied at her answer. I ask how it was to train four months for a role, and suddenly Keanu is talkative. "When I was first asked for the role, I said I was tired and only wanted to play Tjechov. But they said, "Tjechov you can you do when you are old". After I while I thought it was fun to hang and dangle in these wires. Some of the things I did were real bungie jumps. And I was really good at somersaults, both forward and backward. I also learned to run up against walls." Knowledge which can be good for Keanu. He has crossed some walls before.
Which is most important for you now, the band or the film career?
"I´m an actor, so of course it is the acting that comes first. But Dogstar is a nice break and we have been a band for 6 years now". To be in a blockbuster is in fact good for the wallet. It says that Keanu has been offered about 165 million (Swedish crones) to do a "Matrix" sequel. "If the script is good, it will be so…"