A Star Touchdown
Keanu Reeves has put his whole heart into his new movie
New York - One single look from his dark eyes and girls swoon. As for the guys, they sigh: if only they could find the secret behind his success...
by Louise Blanchard
Charm, Keanu Reeves? Charisma? There is no doubt about it. Talent too? Yes, Sir, no matter if he has been hurt by critics more than once.
But, do not forget the most important ingredient, passion, and you will have a good description of the one who is not only one of Hollywood's cherished children, but one of the hardest working actors in the business.
Are these the thoughts of a groupie journalist? No. Rather they are part of the opinion of the actors who have played alongside Keanu Reeves in "The Replacements", a very funny football comedy that opens next weekend.
Standing on the same football field, receiving the same grueling punishment during training, they soon realized that Keanu Reeves refused to be treated like a star and was going at it like they were.
"I have never seen someone train so intensely." This, from Brett Cullen who plays the evil Martel in the film.
"When the day was over and we were leaving, drained, he would stay on the field to practice his throws for an additional hour under 40C heat!"
"I tackled him to the ground often and he never complained once," adds Jon Favreau, a jolly well-built actor whose role is that of a violent cop-turned-football player. "On the contrary, he would encourage me to hit him harder."
"Keanu is very different in real life than he is perceived to be in his films and in the media", says Orlando Jones, the clumsy player in The Replacements.
"He is sociable, funny and doesn't act like a star. He always tries to help others in a subtle, quiet way."
In fact, Jones couldn't believe it when he saw Keanu Reeves change his extra-large trailer for a smaller one like that of the other actors. "He didn't say anything to anyone, but I saw him with the guy who took back the huge trailer. I have never seen this, a star who is willing to do without in order to be on the same levels as the others..."
The one we are talking about doesn't make a big deal out of this. "I don't need much," replied handsome Keanu, 36 years old, blushing at the mention of this anecdote. "Give me a room, water, fruit in the morning: that's enough for me."
Star treatment, no thanks, not for him. Even though he does confess that he sometimes finds in it some advantages.
"When I ask for something important for a film for instance, script changes or a different camera angle, they agree with me."
His ambition, he says, is to work as well as he can on his craft.
"For me, it is pure joy to have the opportunity to play and to live, by the means of different parts, all these experiences which are not usually experienced in ordinary life," he explains.
He changed his diet, lifted weights and, most importantly, learned all the mechanics behind the making of a quarterback playing pro football. "I have always been a football fan but I never played," he says. "When I was young, I would play hockey and would dream about playing for the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team." (Yes, Keanu Reeves was raised in Toronto!)
Playing a quarterback enabled him to live out some career highs - like that of playing on the Baltimore football field, in front of a full stadium of fans during a Ravens game.
"We had nine minutes and a half during half-time to shoot, without any chance of doing the scene again if we made mistakes. Wow! What excitement!..." But that hasn't changed his mind about acting.
Since The Replacements wrapped, he has already shot two films, Sweet November and The Gift. In November, he will tackle The Matrix II and III, which will force him to live in the same character for seventeen months.
"The Matrix is an exceptional film, with exceptional visuals so I am very anxious to return to it," he concludes.
Here's another small Keanu mention in another article of the same paper. It is an item concerning various aspects of the film, edited here for Keanu content:
Handsome, Keanu Reeves?... Yummy! Tall, thin, brown eyes, short black hair, rebellious, dark beard, he was "eatable" last Monday during our interview. Even though he was obviously drained after doing two days of press to promote the film, he answered questions from journalists in a remarkably calm and very intense and concentrated manner.