"I've had personal experiences that have made me
believe that it is a human possibility...."
-- Keanu Reeves
KEANU REEVES fills us in on his own experience with the supernatural which left him questioning "Is this real?" Read on for his revelations and about the new thriller 'The Gift.'
ET: Have you ever played as surly a guy as Donnie Barksdale?
KEANU REEVES: Yes I have, in KENNETH BRANAGH's 'Much Ado About Nothing,' I played a pretty surly guy.
ET: The scene where GIOVANNI (RIBISI) comes in with the crowbar, you're sitting in there as it goes on right?
ET: What's it like being on the receiving end?
Keanu: It sucks. That's why Donnie Barksdale gets a gun. He says enough of this banging up this truck. But that was a fun scene to act in. Giovanni gives a fantastic performance, and it was really fun to act in that scene with him. The stakes were so high, and he was so great, and you get to such a pitch, which is fun.
ET: Does working with a little kid like that carry any more with it?
Keanu: Well, he knew what was going on. He's an actor. For me, what was interesting about that scene, and SAM (RAIMI), the director) agreed, I wanted to have a certain gentleness to it. I thought that's what made it ominous. There's a gentle honesty to it, like, "This is what's going on, son. You need to pay attention to this, I feel sorry for you, because your mom's a witch. I know your father's dying, but if you don't tell your mother to stop, I'm going to burn your house down. I'm going to kill your mother." I didn't think the face of evil would necessarily be a scary mask. They couldcome in, I take his arm gently, and I bring him in, and I calmly tell him how it is.
ET: The scene where you rough up...
Keanu: With HILARY SWANK, who's playing Valerie, my wife. That was a lot of fun to do. I know that's odd to say, but it was. We worked with the stunt coordinator, Sam and Hilary, and we just tried to design the shot that would be safe, but that would be very physical and violent. The whole point of that sequence, I think, is the shot of the kids watching this happen. To see their innocent faces being shocked by this eruption of violence that's in their house. The stunt coordinator put a handle inside the wig, with a harness on Hilary, so that it allowed me to really have a physical freedom with Hilary, but not to put her in any situation of jeopardy. I wasn't pulling her hair. Between her and I and the cooperation, she was like, "Why don't you drag me here? And then pull me up here?" And I'm like, "Okay. I'll do that, Hilary." (laughs)
ET: The overriding theme of the movie is a person's intuitive sense, right?
Keanu: Yeah. Everyone's intuitively trying to find ... is it their freedom? Or is it understanding themselves? Or what happened to them? Everyone has some kind of a happening that they don't understand or what they're going through. Giovanni's character doesn't know what happened in his youth, he's trying to find that. The gift is to try to realize that event and express it. When it's not expressed, violence happens. For some reason, CATE BLANCHETT's character is not dealing with the loss of her husband, and somehow the gift is helping people kind of see, and yet it's because it's repressed that there's these violent actions that are almost erupting to cause people to have these realizations.
ET: What's your take on this clairvoyant level which the character expresses?
Keanu: I've had personal experiences that have made me believe that it is a human possibility -- like clairvoyance is real. To me the analogy is almost like we didn't know that there were electromagnetic energy. We didn't know about radio waves. But then all of a sudden, there's the wireless, and this kind of voice, and this magic thing. I feel like that and clairvoyance is just some kind of level of energy that some people have, but we don't clinically or scientifically understand it yet. But I think it's real.
ET: Do you want to be specific?
Keanu: I saw this clairvoyant in New York who told me things about my family and things about my past that she couldn't possibly know. But she was specific with times and names and events and ... what else can I do with that but go, "this is real?"
ET: Are you working on 'The Matrix'?
Keanu: Yeah, with the actors ... the core group of actors ... LAURENCE FISHBURNE, myself, CARRIE-ANNE MOSS, and HUGO WEAVING have all started training.
ET: For how long?
Keanu: Two months. We'll start filming hopefully at the end of March.
ET: A lot more martial arts for you in this one?
Keanu: A lot more of everything. It's very ambitious; the films are very ambitious, which is exciting. It's a little daunting, but hopefully I'll be up for it and can realize what they hope to do.