AOL Moviefone Online Chat(Transcript)
Christopher Spinder: Hello, everybody, welcome to AOL Live. I'm Christopher Spinder. Keanu Reeves is with us. He has a brand-new movie coming out called 'The Replacements,' a very funny football comedy. We have Keanu in today. Thanks for stopping by. You're a football player now, is that the case?
Keanu Reeves: I'm a movie football player now.
Christopher Spinder: What's the difference?
Keanu Reeves: I don't get hit and there is no game. But I got to play a little bit of - I got to learn about quarterback. I didn't play in high school or anything, so it was a new experience. But it was a lot of fun.
Christopher Spinder: Is this something you think you can handle then professionally? Do you have any aspirations for that?
Keanu Reeves: Of course not, but it made we wish that I had played in high school. I really enjoyed the game. I played the position.
Christopher Spinder: A lot more than the athleticism of it all? The leadership aspect.
Keanu Reeves: The leadership aspect. Watching the plays involved. The execution. The camaraderie of the team. Yeah.
Christopher Spinder: Let's take a look. We have some fans out there with some questions for you. We're going to start off with - by the way, the screen names are the most fun to read. Minad One wants to know if you have always been a fan of football.
Keanu Reeves: I have. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, so I was infiltrated by the American Football League propaganda. I found I enjoyed the game. So, yeah, I watched it growing up.
Christopher Spinder: Were there a lot of fans up there in Canada?
Keanu Reeves: Sure, they had their own league, the CFL. I grew up watching football and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Christopher Spinder: I was going to ask you if there was a favorite.
Keanu Reeves: I liked Pittsburgh.
Christopher Spinder: Back what years?
Keanu Reeves: 1974 to 1985.
Christopher Spinder: A string of Super Bowl wins.
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, but the character of the team.
Christopher Spinder: Kind of a hybrid, that's coming up.
Keanu Reeves: That's what's coming up now. Evolution in change.
Christopher Spinder: CareBear681 wants to know if this was your first time working with Gene Hackman.
Keanu Reeves: Yes, it was indeed, my first time with the great Gene Hackman. A great fan of his. I had a fantastic experience working with him. He's a great actor. He was [great] to all the players and everyone. Once in a while he kicked some ass.
Christopher Spinder: He has to. He's the coach, right?
Keanu Reeves: He's the coach and he's Gene Hackman. When things weren't moving as fast as they were moving - but he's Gene Hackman. A wonderful sense of humor. Very dry, very dry. A consummate actor.
Christopher Spinder: I always wonder when you're on a set with a veteran actor like that who has been on so many films with Oscars and all of that behind him, is there any starstruck nature to you when he walks on the film?
Keanu Reeves: Certainly, of course. It is a kind of reverence. Yeah, certainly. I mean, you know, he's earned it.
Christopher Spinder: Kind of hard not to.
Keanu Reeves: Orlando Jones, who is an actor in the film, though, I didn't give him any of that. I just came up to him and attacked him. But Gene took care of that.
Christopher Spinder: Balance it all out. A little respect.
Keanu Reeves: You don't want to be so closed off that there is no humanity going on, you know.
Christopher Spinder: Exactly. God forbid, that would be very unHollywood-like. What about Kind464, who wants to know: How do you protect yourself from paparazzi and fans? Do you feel uncomfortable when you have to be surrounded by bodyguards?
Keanu Reeves: Yes. In terms of - yeah, bodyguards, sometimes I have done that in public events, you know, sometimes. Oftentimes in Europe. But in the States, not so much. And in terms of the paparazzi and privacy, yeah, it's tough. You know, it's frustrating. I mean, it's OK if it's at an event like an opening or something like that, then it's - you know, it's expected, but if it's - sometimes I have been in cities and, you know, they will have an article in the paper, you know, what you ate, what you bought, you know. You're coming out stumbling and then flash, and you're like, I wish you didn't have that shot. My mother wishes you didn't have that shot.
Christopher Spinder: The sad thing is your mother will probably see the shot at some point.
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, yeah. But yeah, it's frustrating sometimes.
Christopher Spinder: Is it different for fans of Dogstar versus fans of your movies? We were somewhere where the fans of Dogstar were. They were going crazy.
Keanu Reeves: They really are. On the street, I get more people coming up to me with - if a film does well or if they have enjoyed it, you know. For example, 'The Matrix' recently, I will get people saying hi, which is great. I enjoy that. But with Dogstar, it's more of a rock 'n' roll kind of thing.
Christopher Spinder: It's a different nature of a fan base for the rock fans.
Keanu Reeves: Yeah.
Christopher Spinder: LawMJD1 wants to know if you perceive yourself to be a sex symbol.
Keanu Reeves: No, no, no. That's something that's - that I find very absurd, but - no. I'm an actor. I'm full of self-loathing and all that good stuff I think [makes] for good theater.
Christopher Spinder: Of course, when your face goes up on the cover of a magazine and they have the words "sex symbol" underneath that, do you just block that out?
Keanu Reeves: What do I do with that? It's changed over the years. Basically, I try to - I think of it as an alternate universe. Once in a while, the gravity from that universe has an effect, but most of the time I try to, you know, not deal with it because it is, you know, it's a fantasy aspect of it, you know. And I hope people enjoy the films I act in, I hope they enjoy my performance. I hope for all of that. But in terms of, like, you know, the top 50, the top 100, the most big, all of that kind of stuff, it's - it's surreal, to say the least.
Christopher Spinder: But I guess it's better to have that than, you know, I guess, the ugliest guy in the world or something.
Keanu Reeves: That's in the self-loathing aspect.
Christopher Spinder: That part you're still trying to avoid.
Keanu Reeves: It's a line in the play, the actors are like the unlicked cub. The mama bear had seven babies and the seventh didn't get all that loving. Here we are. To be or not to be.
Christopher Spinder: You're trying to compensate for the lack of licking?
Keanu Reeves: Aren't we all? I know you have said "Mommy."
Christopher Spinder: In one form or another, we're all coming back from that. This is where we move on at this point. A fan called TheRavenesque says: I'm a Baltimore Ravens fan, which is where you shot most of the movie. Is it true you shot during one of our games?
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, we shot during an exhibition - excuse me, preseason game last year. We did that at half time, a deal where we came out for - we did eight plays in - what was it? Nine minutes or 11 minutes or something like that. And the fans were great. Respect - it was fun.
Christopher Spinder: What's that like? You walk out, a full stadium or what?
Keanu Reeves: It was about 65,000 people. All the players got really jacked up. It was the closest I came to playing a game, in the sense we had such a limited amount of time that if I screwed up - you know, I couldn't screw up. I had to execute, you know. But it was fun to watch all the players be excited and to be on the pitch and feel the energy of the stadium. Everyone had a - it was a good night. It was fun.
Christopher Spinder: Indecision - you say eight plays in nine minutes. In addition to the actors, you have crew and cameras.
Keanu Reeves: There were seven cameras doing all kind of flag things, yeah. So the last football game in the film, a lot of those sequences are during that Baltimore Ravens game. I don't recall who they were playing, though. I don't know specifically which game it was.
Christopher Spinder: Did the fans in the audience know you guys were coming on?
Keanu Reeves: There were announcements, etc. It was cool, because one of them I had to do, like - you know, I pull the ball away from a field goal and run for a touchdown, and I think that we won, and then the flag was thrown, so the - everyone in the stadium was really on our side and, you know, cheered when we scored, and then when the flags came down, there was some hearty boos, hearty booing going on.
Christopher Spinder: You had the fans on your side?
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, it was really nice. It was a good time.
Christopher Spinder: Some guy was up there probably wondering, he's an actor, now he has a rock band, now he is a football player. What does he need, the money?
Keanu Reeves: I was out there trying to have fun.
Christopher Spinder: The next question comes from CoolDude: I heard somebody taught a class about you at USC. What's that about?
Keanu Reeves: I don't know. I didn't take the course. I don't know what happened. I've heard in the past of kind of comparative studies with some of the films that I have acted in, you know, comparative in terms of - what, in terms of history, in terms of fashion, of the ideas or themes. I don't know the one at USC in particular.
Christopher Spinder: Well, now, do they clear this with you ahead of time, or do they have to?
Keanu Reeves: No one clears anything with me. It's a debacle. The closest I get to anything once in a while is, you know, script approval, but even then it's like - no, it's - it's - no.
Christopher Spinder: Interesting. I wonder if that would replace like a language or a social science requirement for someone.
Keanu Reeves: Yeah. I don't know.
Christopher Spinder: Where would you put yourself if you were a college class? What school of education would you be? History?
Keanu Reeves: I don't know. Can I do like - can I do - I don't know. Physics, can I do some quantum physics and tie that into...
Christopher Spinder: Tie that into 'Chain Reaction.'
Keanu Reeves: ...tie that into cosmological kind of theory? Ancient arts, ancient languages.
Christopher Spinder: I would like to know the guy who did this exactly and what his idea was, but never mind. Strike to me. Bill Haasler, he is probably the professor of the class. What's more intense for you, writing music for Dogstar or getting into character for acting?
Keanu Reeves: Most definitely getting into character in acting, yeah, definitely, yeah. I mean, writing music for Dogstar is kind of a found expression. You know, you're in a room, you're playing the instrument, and you feel something and it's expressed. Finding a character involves a lot more searching and something that is not necessarily present in oneself. You know, you have to find the character. I look at it, these are my experiences and these are what's inside, and then the character's experiences, and, you know, either going to learn about the history or past or reading or trying to imaginatively go into their place and a kind of melding of the two. So it's - it's much more involved than just kind of a feeling and then a song. There are things to try to form a song, once you have an idea and a feeling, and then the collaborative - trying to put it together in terms of, like, we need a chorus now, or do we, you know? But certainly preparing for a part is much more involved and terrifying.
Christopher Spinder: So then when it comes to actually writing a song, then, more of a personal expression for you?
Keanu Reeves: It starts that way. It definitely comes from a personal feeling. If I'm the one, you know, who has the riff or who is expressing something, then from there it kind of takes on a different life as it's kind of absorbed and played with and communicated to the other - you know, to Brett and Robert.
Christopher Spinder: So is there such a thing as having a favorite or having a [time] where you feel more like expressing yourself musically or through acting?
Keanu Reeves: They kind of exist all the time. Sometimes - more often in acting, that's more of where I am. But, you know, like right now we just came off of a tour. We went to Japan and played a few shows. I just saw Robert, the drummer, this afternoon. He was dropping a bass off for me. We looked at each other and said, we miss playing, we miss being on tour, miss the road.
Christopher Spinder: A whole different feeling there? Probably akin to that whole 65,000 fans in the stadium feeling there?
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, but I'm also having the opportunity right now to be working on a part in a film called 'Hardball,' so today is a good day.
Christopher Spinder: A lot of good things. A lot of good things to talk about.
Keanu Reeves: Some good things.
Christopher Spinder: You hesitate?
Keanu Reeves: I always have to hesitate.
Christopher Spinder: Keep up the good work, and you're all set. RealGenuineOriginal, that's a very emphatic screen name he has there, he wants to know: Since you were introduced to martial arts in 'The Matrix,' do you still study them on your own time?
Keanu Reeves: I still - the training for the - for 'The Matrix 2' and 'The Matrix 3' is scheduled to start in November now. So I haven't studied formally. I haven't kept up formally training, but I still try to stretch once in a while. But I haven't formally kept up with it.
Christopher Spinder: But there is going to be a lot more of that, I imagine?
Keanu Reeves: A lot more. But I still jump around and kick a bit, but I haven't kept up with it like going to class, all that sort of thing.
Christopher Spinder: What about staying in shape for 'The Replacements'? Was there a lot of physical training for that?
Keanu Reeves: Yeah, I wanted to have that football body. I went to 192. I live around 180. I just lifted weights and wanted to have those forearms and neck, the presence of a quarterback - at least an ex-quarterback, so [I had] to do some drinking as well. I could have a beer, where sometimes that's not something that I do.
Christopher Spinder: The food Nazi people that eat skinless everything.
Keanu Reeves: For 'The Matrix,' when I wanted to lose weight coming out of the pod, I did a lot of kind of eating like this.
Christopher Spinder: Or maybe licking a chip and putting it back.
Keanu Reeves: No chips. Couldn't even have them in the room. You look at them, and it was 20 minutes of exercise.
Christopher Spinder: MovieFan21 asks: Were you always slated to be Ted "Theodore" Logan or Bill Preston, Esquire?
Keanu Reeves: That's funny you ask. That was a very intense auditioning period. There were 10 guys who rotated playing either Bill or Ted. I got a call saying that I got the part. So I went to the wardrobe fitting, for my wardrobe fitting, assuming I was playing Bill, and I get there and Alex Winter, who eventually played Bill, went to the wardrobe fitting thinking he was playing Ted. Then we were informed that that wasn't the case.
Christopher Spinder: At the wardrobe fitting?
Keanu Reeves: When the costumer was like no, you're Ted. I thought I was Bill. No, you're Ted. Then we talked to the director. It was a bit of a to-do because Alex didn't want to play Bill originally.
Christopher Spinder: Why not?
Keanu Reeves: He wanted to play Ted. He thought there was more of a stretch for him.
Christopher Spinder: Did you have a preference? What kind of a stretch was that, exactly?
Keanu Reeves: Come on. Those were some very developed comic characters.
Christopher Spinder: Did you have a preference going into it either way?
Keanu Reeves: Well, I thought it was Bill, but I turned out to be Ted. It was funny, because we ended up going to Arizona to shoot, and we were doing camera tests, and Alex and I went to McDonald's across the highway to get something to eat while they changed the setup, and we're sitting there, we're talking. You know, Alex is [a New York] film student. He's an intellectual. But we're hanging out, we have our costumes on. We're in McDonald's. We come back in and listen to one of the technicians, and he's like, I just saw the real Bill and Ted, and it was us.
Christopher Spinder: He was at McDonald's?
Keanu Reeves: He was at McDonald's getting whatever he was getting, and he looked at [us]. It was destiny.
Christopher Spinder: It was meant to be. Is that a compliment?
Keanu Reeves: Oh, man, I love the heart of that film. I love the characters. Alex and I had a great time making that picture. There is such a wonderful heart and beauty to those guys and how they want to play, the bodaciousness that they have going at the same time. There was a sideline thing where we had the Bill and Ted porno we did at the same time, but I can't do that one for you.
Christopher Spinder: That one I'm sure they can find on the Internet.
Keanu Reeves: Sometimes it was so clean cut that he and I would do these dark kind of stories for people hanging out.
Christopher Spinder: A little extra special for the real die-hard fans. TheMatrixBaby. This is somebody who really had a baby after the film, I would imagine. "Whoa" is like your catchphrase. Is it in the script? Is that in scripts or do you ad-lib those in?
Keanu Reeves: That one was scripted, actually. That was a scripted one. And I kept trying to do other ones, because, you know, I have done it. I guess the brothers just really liked my - the way I did it, because I have done it once or twice before.
Christopher Spinder: Sparing use of the "whoa" would be more -
Keanu Reeves: I tried other ones, but it just didn't work as well, I guess. Then, of course, the - I guess the same feeling that you have, the people who decided to sell 'The Matrix' with a "whoa" kind of highlighted it even more. It's like, thanks for putting me in a box. Is there any way out of here?
Christopher Spinder: I think it's actually on the box of the video cassette, it's actually "whoa" someplace on there.
Keanu Reeves: I guess if you can do it, you can - you know -
Christopher Spinder: Play your strengths, I say.
Keanu Reeves: I keep trying to go into other things. But there was a scripted "whoa."
Christopher Spinder: There are no "whoas" in 'The Replacements,' is that correct?
Keanu Reeves: I don't believe so. It's a good show.
Christopher Spinder: Even without that. 'The Replacements' is good, even without the "whoa." GiftedGirl14: Hey there, Mr. Reeves, I'm a huge fan of yours, and I was just wondering, of all the movies you've done, which is your favorite?
Keanu Reeves: I don't have one favorite. I like most of them. Just today, if I was going to riff on it, I would say 'Little Buddha' was a special experience, 'River's Edge,' 'Devil's Advocate,' 'The Matrix,' 'Tune In Tomorrow,' 'I Love You to Death.'
Christopher Spinder: When it comes to saying which is your favorite, there are different ways you could apply that. Which is your favorite film watching it as an audience member, versus the experience you had making it?
Keanu Reeves: If I was going to discern like that, I would think certainly 'River's Edge,' 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure,' 'The Matrix,' and again I like 'Permanent Record.'
Christopher Spinder: You draw something from your experiences, I would imagine?
Keanu Reeves: Hopefully. It's nice to be conscious, as much as we can be.
Christopher Spinder: Be awake. It's always a good day when you get out of bed and the sun is up.
Keanu Reeves: Or going to sleep when the sun is up, that's a good feeling.
Christopher Spinder: That's a good feeling? Maybe not on the nights I have had, but whatever works for you. Lunaniko24: Keanu, what was the best part of filming 'The Replacements'?
Keanu Reeves: The best part? I would say working with the cast that we had. Just a great cast. Just the actors that we had were just for me the best part of it, and through that, you know, getting to play Shane Falco.
Christopher Spinder: Even though you're headlining the cast and the leader of this whole group, is it a different energy when it's an ensemble for you?
Keanu Reeves: Certainly. I always thought of the pieces as a democratic experience. I think of what Howard Deutch said about this, you should see my eyes, make me a part of it and not isolate me. But once in a while - but to really have a democracy about it. There is - everyone who came to work on the film really was on the same page in trying to have authentic characters and to have a humanity for the piece and have the humor come out of it. We used to sit in circles all the time, talk about the film, talk about the script. We worked on the script a lot and on the situations. Everyone just made each other laugh. We really enjoyed each other's company, and there was a real respect and a real sharing. Sometimes in comedy, especially an ensemble cast, you can kind of eat the furniture, you know. But everyone had a real give-and-take and a real kind of, you know, sharing, you know, which I think shows in the film.
Christopher Spinder: When it comes to eating furniture, I would recommend you don't do that in this room because this stuff is toxic. You don't know what they had to do to make it this color purple. This is not a natural purple. This comes from another planet. Don't eat this.
Keanu Reeves: It used to be kings and the papacy.
Christopher Spinder: Now it's AOL Live. That's what it's gotten to.
Keanu Reeves: We're all kings.
Christopher Spinder: RexMan23 wants to know: What can we expect from 'The Matrix 3,' more action or more sci-fi?
Keanu Reeves: I have only read the second one of the two, and it's much more dense in ideas, it's much more ambitious, and - in its action and in its cinema.
Christopher Spinder: Interesting.
Keanu Reeves: I'm not allowed to say anything else. I feel like I'm watched. In reading the script, I was really excited by it, and I don't know how they are going to do it. They are doing - I mean, they want to start principal photography in March, April. Two months ago they started R&D on the special effects, on the cinema aspect of it. So it should be hopefully something special and something worthwhile, and, again, the ideas in it are, you know - I can't...
Christopher Spinder: Stop right now. The assassins are waiting.
Keanu Reeves: You know, even with something silly, you know, not like this, I guess, but whenever someone says, you know, can you keep a secret? Even if it's - you know, you got to do it.
Christopher Spinder: Exactly. 'The Matrix,' when it came out, was hailed for new groundbreaking for the science fiction and computer technology and special effects. From what you have read so far, they will have to go to another level yet for this one?
Keanu Reeves: Most certainly, and they do, they do. They do.
Christopher Spinder: This is very good self-censorship.
Keanu Reeves: I'm coughing.
Christopher Spinder: Can we get the man some water? It's very tough in here. We'll move on.... Keanu, it's this person's birthday today. This person, I don't know if it's a he or she, wants to know if you could please say happy birthday to me, Amelia.
Keanu Reeves: Happy birthday, Amelia. I hope it's a good year for you. I hope you have a good day.
Christopher Spinder: Happy birthday to Amelia. That's all we have time for today, with the exception of this one last question, which comes from - I don't know how to pronounce that, Lambheck? - wants to know if you are pressing for any particular film project right now, for instance a book, play or biography that you would like to bring to the screen. Any pet projects or babies that you're trying to nurse to health?
Keanu Reeves: At the moment, no. I - I - no, I haven't. I don't. There was talk for a while where a producer I have worked with is trying to do - not worked with, actually, but met - is trying to do "The Count of Monte Cristo."
Christopher Spinder: You're ready for whatever comes your way, basically?
Keanu Reeves: I'm doing this picture 'Hardball,' and I'm shooting for 'The Matrix 2,' which goes to November and then shoots until 2002.
Christopher Spinder: You'll shoot those simultaneously?
Keanu Reeves: That's the hope.
Christopher Spinder: Like the hope in the script you read that all these things are going to happen. It sounds like the next two years are going to be an interesting time for you.
Keanu Reeves: I hope so. Looking forward to it.
Christopher Spinder: Congratulations on 'The Replacements.' It opens Friday, August 11. We thank you for stopping in, Keanu. Get to the movie theater this weekend and check it out.
MrLiveGuy: Thanks for all of your great questions - be sure to check out Keanu in 'The Replacements' and catch him on 'The Tonight Show' this evening! 'The Replacements' will be in theaters this Friday, August 11th. Take care and have a great night, everyone!