Chicago Sun-Times (US), September 7, 2000

Peeved Reeves in snit over another local film

by Bill Zwecker

Now we know Keanu Reeves loves Chicago--at least the people, nightlife, music scene and restaurants. He's made that clear to this columnist and others. But the box office kingpin sure seems to be somewhat unlucky with the films he makes here. "Chain Reaction" was a big bomb, and then there was last week's furor with Mayor Daley and Paul Vallas over the script for "Hardball," which is currently lensing.

Now comes word the actor has consciously backed away from the Chicago-made "The Watcher," the $30 million thriller (originally called "Driven") opening Friday. Reeves has done no publicity for the picture and has insisted his acting credit be listed as unobtrusively as possible--below James Spader and Marisa Tomei. Universal Pictures has also agreed to limit Reeves' exposure in the trailer promoting the movie.

According to Hollywood scuttlebutt, Reeves is peeved about "The Watcher" because of a rift with the filmmakers--particularly his former hockey-playing pal Joe Charbanic. The former music video producer makes his feature film directing debut with "The Watcher." After reading the original script, Reeves signed on to play a serial killer in what originally was slated to be a small independent-style production. Because he thought it would be more of an arty film and a new acting challenge, the actor agreed to work for union scale, instead of his usual $15 million, against 15 percent of the gross box office.

"The script did change," Charbanic tells "It got bigger than [Reeves] wanted. He wanted it to be a little boutique film."

Reportedly the actor attempted to exit the project altogether, but did not after lawyers warned him it would be futile.

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Watcher, The


Chain Reaction , Hardball , Watcher, The

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