The Quiet Man
So, what's the real reason Keanu Reeves distanced himself from The Watcher, last week's surprise box-office topper?
Was it because the small indie script Reeves had committed to became a bloated studio movie that made his serial-killer role more prominent? Or was Keanu unhappy after working for scale as a favor to first-time director Joe Charbanic, while costars James Spader and Marisa Tomei earned $1 million each for their work?
While those were the reasons cited in published reports, Nile Niami and Patrick Choi, executive producers on The Watcher, say Keanu never intended to take a high profile for the film.
"Nothing really changed from when we made the deal to today," Niami says. "It's not like he saw the movie, hated it and decided not to do any press. He committed to this movie for his friend, and he stuck to it."
Reeves did the film, Choi and Niami say, because he wanted to do something different. He's never been killed in a movie, and he's never played nasty--he just didn't want to make a lot of noise doing it.
Reeves' contract, says Niami, specified they couldn't use his image to sell the movie (he doesn't appear on the film's poster), his name couldn't appear above the title and he wasn't obligated to do publicity. After all, he's not the star of the movie; Spader is.
So, what does Keanu think of the critically-lambasted thriller? "As far as I know, Keanu still hasn't seen the picture," Niami says.