The David Letterman Show (US), February 1, 2001
Keanu Reeves on the David Letterman Show(Transcripted by Betty Spagetti)
Keanu comes out wearing black pants, a black t-shirt with a black blazer over it, and grungy brown boots. And yes, he's still sporting that patchy-looking beard.
D: Welcome back. (Dave and Keanu shake hands)
K: How are you doing?
D: I bet you've stayed in the Four Seasons, haven't you?
K: I have...
D: Yes sir.
K: I have, in Chicago.
D: Nice, isn't it?
K: It's really good.
D: How have you been?
K: I've been well, thank you.
D: How was your New Year's?
K: Oh, my New Year's...uh...my New Year's...um...
D: Like earlier in the month, remember? (laughter from the audience, Keanu grins)
K: Yes, I do, yes...it wasn't that good...um, it was good, it was quiet.
D: Good. Now, are you still out traveling with your band, Dogstar?
K: I am not, I am not, sir. I, uh...right now I'm, uh, training for the, uh, Matrix 2 and 3.
D: When you say training, what does that mean? Memorizing lines?
K: Uh, no. Doing, uh, the film there's some, uh, kind of movie Kung Fu, so we've been training right now for about two months, and we have...I have another three months of training.
D: Now, do you like doing that kind of thing?
D: Yeah. Now, did you know anything about the Kung Fu before the movie?
K: Absolutely nothing.
D: And how are you now, do have a belt in Kung Fu?
K: In movie Kung Fu? (laughing) Uh...do I have a belt...no, I just have pain...pain...lots of pain and stretching...lots of stretching. Well, you have to do high kicks and jumps, flying...(makes a flying gesture with his hands)
D: Oh, you have stretching? Now, say, god forbid, when you left the theatre tonight, a tough guy, a thug, a ne'er-do-well comes up and kind of, you know, just gets smart with you?could you handle yourself using the Kung Fu?
K: No! (audience laughs) Because it...
D: Well, there you go.
K: Well, I mean that should...(mumbles)...maybe I could scare him with a pose or something. But you see in movie Kung Fu, you have to like...(demonstrates a movie Kung Fu punch on his own hand which stops just short of contact)
D: Right, because you don't want to kill everybody...
K: ..that you're working with.
D: No. Then they make a lot of money, it gives the production a black eye and a bad name.
K: No. (shakes head, smiling)
D: But, uh...so you want it to look good so when people who know Kung Fu say "oh geez, the guy..."
K: Yes, yes. Very important...straight lines, grace...
D: Now, have you given up the band Dogstar altogether?
K: Um, no, no, we've been playing, we'fve been playing...we, uh...
D: And you would go out on weekends when you were...
K: Yeah, uh, last month we...it was the end of when we did, uh, six weekends in a row. We just jumped out, different parts of the country...
D: Tiring, isn't it?
K: Yeah. Well, I would train during the week and then fly and go wherever...
D: What kind of places did you play?
K: Let's see...we, uh, played Murray State, Kentucky...
D: I've been there. I've actually entertained?(laughs at himself) 'entertained' there.
K: Ah, at the Four Seasons.
D: I didn't actually stay there. I've been there, but I didn't entertain there.
K: Oh, really? (Keanu playfully makes an odd face, audience laughs)
D: It was this homecoming thing, I had to do this...oh god, it was awful, I had to write everyone who came to the homecoming a letter of apology. So how did the shows go? It must be fun.
K: Yeah, yeah, it was...it was fun. We played there, we went to, uh...where else? We went to Traver City (sp?), we went to Santa Cruz, San Francisco...yeah, some of them were crazier than others.
D: Right. When something crazy happens...now first of all, do people know it's a big-time movie star or do they just think, "oh, let's go hear the band?"
K: Both, both.
D: Really? Oh, that's nice.
K: Yeah, yeah.
D: And so when you walk out on stage, they say, "oh look, what a coincidence, it's the guy Keanu Reeves." (audience laughs, Keanu laughs)
K: I don't know. I'm up there playing bass and hanging out, I don't know.
D: So when crazy things happen, what kind of crazy things?
K: Oh, um...flashing boobs (makes boob-flashing gesture)...um...uh...(waving hands around, a little flustered) um...ah...um...uh...lots...um...you know...(audience laughs)
D: No more hijinks, you honor. (more laughter from the audience) Have you ever been injured...ever been electrocuted...ever plugged the equipment in wrong?
K: No, no. The lead singer has been...a couple of times had contact with electricity.
D: Really? Wow. And so he just goes down, or...
K: Well, generally...well, he kind of falls back. (awkwardly makes falling backward motion with his hands)
K: Yeah, yeah. It's...yeah, I mean a couple of times his equipment has been burned up. Like we went to Sydney, Australia once and the transformers for whatever didn't work and so one of the people there thought, well, maybe if I just take the plug off and put an Australian plug on into this equipmentc(makes plugging-in motion with his hands)
D: Oh, without the converter...without the transformer...
K: Without the transformer, yeah.
D: It don't work that way, does it? (laughter)
K: Nah, it didn't...I know...so we started to play and then his equipment went on fire and, uh...so we had to grab the opening band who was putting their stuff in a pick-up truck, actually, we grabbed their ______ (unclear word, sounds like follow?)
D: That's a great act, by the way, I've seen that.
K: Have you?
D: You have guys come out and load stuff in their truck.
D: They opened for me at Murray State. (laughter) Uh, what about the Superbowl, did you get to watch that?
K: Yes. Yeah, it was great.
D: You were in a football movie, weren't you? Do you like football?
K: I did. Yes, The Replacements, yes, yes.
D: Did you play when you were a kid?
K: Yeah, I actually got to...we actually played in Baltimore in that stadium and, uh, I think you have Tony Siragusa (it sounds more like he said Thomas Saraguisa, but he means Tony) here tonight.
D: That's right, that's right. Here's a guy, here's a big guy, we're not kidding around, this guy is three and a half, 340 or something like that.
K: Yeah. Well, what's interesting...when I was learning how to play quarterback, one of the things they talk about...cause this happened on time when one of the defensive linemen came up and tried to tackle me and said, "now if I was really playing and really tackling you sometimes what I'd do is I would pin your arm when I was taking you down to the ground, so I could break your shoulder."
D: That's right, try to dislocate it if possible.
K: Yeah, cause what happens is they have pools in the, uh, locker room about, you know, taking out the quarterback. You should ask Tony about that. (smiles, covers his mouth as if he let something slip)
D: Well, we'll get to all that, but...here's a guy who's actually taken out quarterbacks.
K: Oakland Raiders. I don't know if that's how it went down...
D: You still riding your motorcycle?
K: I am, I am indeed, yeah.
D: What kind of bike do you have?
K: I have a '74 850 Norton Commando.
D: Oh really? An old British bike. And are you cautious, do you...you ride straight, that's the key, you gotta ride straight.
K: Well, I was...a few years ago I was riding straight and this man pulled out from a parking spot, did a U-turn in front of me (demonstrates with his hands) and I tried to get around and I broke my ankle and lost some teeth.
D: Oh my god. And is this the thing where the bone is actually busting out through the leg?
K: Well, no, this was all...it's right here (pulls up pant leg to show a long scar that is half-inch thick running diagonally across the his ankle and shin) I have a little scar.
D: Oh geez, that is a scar, look at that...man alive!
K: So that was all peeled up and I was on the ground and I was kind of rubbing my leg (rubs his scar) cause it was really white and I was in shock and my friend pulled up and said, "stop doing that."
D: Excellent first aid advice: stop rubbing the exposed bone! (everyone laughs)
K: Well, shock is a good thing, I don't know if anyone...shock is great, really helps. What was even weirder was that this woman pulled up, a couple of people stopped, and then, uh, she asked me for my autograph. I had blood, teeth and bone...my friend was just, "what, are you crazy?"
D: Yeah, yeah, that's ugly. And the movie, Sweet November?
D: Well, tell us about that film.
K: Well, itfs directed by Pat O'Conner, uh, it stars myself and Charlize Theron.
D: So it's a love story.
K: A romance...romance, yeah and, um, I play a work-obsessed, uh, ad executive whose personal life is in a crisis and I meet her and she tells me she can help me, and I say I don't need help, then my life unravels. (motions unraveling with his hands)
D: You change...your character changes. You start out being kind of a jerk.
K: Yes, work-oriented, no intimacy skills, compassion...self-involved...
D: Was it fun playing a jerk like that? I play one on TV (laughter)
D: I've had pretty good success with it.
K: You're really good. (clapping)
D: Thank you very much. Uh, it's Sweet November and it opens soon.
K: Yeah, February. February 16.
D: February...February 16, great. Well, I hope it's a great hit for you.
K: Thank you, sir.
D: Happy New Year, pleasure to see you.
K: Happy New Year.
D: Take care of your leg bone. Keanu Reeves, ladies and gentlemen!