Reeves negotiates for 'Sweet November'
by Chuck Walton
Reminiscent of his decision to take on the sweeping romance "A Walk in the Clouds" after breaking out in the action-packed "Speed," actor Keanu Reeves is in final talks to star in a remake of the 1968 love story "Sweet November," fresh off his sci-fi-action megahit "The Matrix."
Financed by Warner Bros. and Steve Reuther's Bel Air, the film is written by Kurt Volker and is set to be directed by Pat O'Connor ("Circle of Friends"). Daily Variety reports that the feature will begin production Feb. 28. Upping his post-"Matrix" base salary, Reeves is expected to receive $15 million against 15% of the feature's gross.
Already on its way to the cineplex for Reeves is the football comedy "The Replacements," co-starring Gene Hackman and set for release by Warner in August. The "November" project represents one of two films the actor will headline before settling in for a 250-day shoot filming two sequels to Larry and Andy Wachowski's "The Matrix." That production is set for winter 2001.
The original "Sweet November" starred Anthony Newley as a wealthy Gotham businessman who falls for a girl who insists on a new lover every month because of a fatal illness. Erwin Stoff and Deborah Allan Stoff, a former high-profile television executive who retired to teach screenwriting at USC, are producing the current project.
When Reeves showed interest last summer, Deborah Stoff decided to come out of retirement to develop the script, which was a longtime passion. Their mutual interest led to O'Connor, an Irishman who lives in London with actress-wife Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Besides "Circle of Friends," O'Connor has directed "Dancing at Lughnasa" and "Inventing the Abbotts."
The movie will be Reeves' first love story since the $100 million worldwide-grossing "A Walk in the Clouds." His representatives in negotiations for the film were CAA and 3 Arts. O'Connor and scripter Volker were both repped by UTA.
Plans for Reeves' next film before "The Matrix" sequels have not yet been set, although Variety has speculated that he may opt for "Fishing for Moonlight," a story about a stockbroker who risks his livelihood to rescue a Russian woman caught up in prostitution.
That project is being set up at Village Roadshow Pictures (also responsible for "The Matrix") by producers Dylan Sellers and Erwin Stoff. The screenwriter is Jack Olson, who recently completed "33 Liberty Street" for Warner Bros.