Glamour (Italy), November 2000
A mystery named Reeves
What Keanu thinks...
(Translated from Italian, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
Very beautiful and not too talkative, mysterious and clever, he is considered an enigma in Hollywood. He is loved by audiences for his against-type choices and by directors for his acting skills. He tells Glamour about himself.
by Carlo Bizio
He arrives and is dressed in black: not Neo-style (like in Matrix) but wearing a smart jacket: a bit detached, combed hair, thoughtful, looking like in Devil's Advocate. Keanu Reeves is the biggest mystery in American cinema. He is 36 (but he still looks like he is 17), he is a movie icon and, since Matrix, an A-list ultra-paid superstar.
Not at all talkative and mysterious, the beautiful Keanu is loved by audiences (he has also a website called www.dogstaronline.com after the name of his band). But he is loved also by very important directors of the likes of Kenneth Branagh (Much Ado About Nothing), Francis Ford Coppola (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Bernardo Bertolucci (Little Buddha): they all agree in saying that Keanu has got a special "emotional" intelligence which is typical of the most great naturally-talented actors. And he is so busy: right now, he is filming Hardball and in March he will be in Sydney for Matrix 2-3. Meanwhile, we can see him at the Italian cinemas in The Replacements and The Watcher.
Football is the subject of The Replacements. Do you like this sport?
I like it very much but when I was a teenager, in Canada, I used to play hockey. I was good at it and named The Wall; I used to dream of taking part in the Olympic Games. The movie is about a football players' strike and a great coach, played by Gene Hackman, has to turn a team of mediocre athletes into a winning team.
Did you have to train for it?
Yes, for 2 months. Now I am phisycally stronger and I have learnt to play football ( never done before). I like my characters to become part of myself.
The Watcher is being released here: you play a dangerous serial killer.
I am a nightmare for James Spader (he acted in Sex, Lies and Videotape). He is Campbell, an FBI agent traumatized by the horrors he discovered while doing research on serial killers. He moves to another town in order to escape from me. But it's not enough because I have just chosen him as my last victim.
An unusual role...
Yes, I accepted it because changing is exciting. I like to try whether I can play any character. And I don't want to be typecast.
Don't you fear a negative reaction from female audience?
No... and, anyway, it is a risk I want to run - whatever the consequence.
You said NO to a fortune when you refused to do Speed 2. Instead, you are going to do Matrix 2 and 3. Why?
Matrix is more than just an action movie, it is a psychological drama - first of all, it is "real". it is intelligent and sophisticated. And I want to keep on doing this work with the Wachowski brothers, the two directors and scriptwriters of this saga.
The plot of the two sequels is totally unknown to the public...
Yes, I can't speak of it. I just add that the mythical town, Zion, will be shown. Larry Wachowski is very much interested in the philosophical issues dealt with in these movies. He spoke to me about it but vaguely. And he told me to read Hume and Schopenhauer.
So you must study and train...
Yes, I like good books. But I like training even more. In November I will start training in kung-fu for the action scenes: such scenes were so outstanding and special in Matrix 1.
Anything new in the cast?
No, just the same actors. This makes it easier. We are a well-mixed group who get on well. There will be also Charlize Theron, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne.
A lot of your fellow actors say you are bothered by celebrity and you would like to be less famous.
Not true. I want to work in Hollywood. Cinema has been important in my life. But I want to have a private life, as well. I am like Mickey Mouse at Disneyland: nobody knows who is behind the mask.
So you are the typical a-house-and-face actor - a typical icon...
I don't know..., it depends on the moment and on the feelings, I am fairly instinctual. Sometimes I work because I feel alone, sometimes I want to be alone. Sadly, I am not in love right now: so I like to work together with a lot of people. Now I am more mature but I felt the same way like when I was 16 and got my first money - working for a theatre. And acting is still a play for pleasing my curiosity.
And do you think you are more "balanced" in your feelings now?
No, I am still a mess inside. I am a messy and "secluded" 36 years old guy but I keep on trying to improve...
After Little Buddha, they say you have become a Buddhist.
Not really. But I have learnt meditation and this was helpful in quite a few moments. And I have also learnt that sometimes it is better just to sit down, on a armchair, and look out of the window.
My band play rock...
Mysterious Keanu's other passion is worldwide known. Music. He has been a bass-player for Dogstar for years. "And now I want to sing," he says. Some years ago, he was booed in Europe, during a concert,"but while filming Matrix 1, I did some gigs in Australia and we got a lot of success" - he says. "In a couple of years, Dogstar will turn into a very good rock band... and not only because Keanu Reeves is the bass-player".