"I went under the bubbles and tickled her, and made her laugh..." -- Keanu Reeves
KEANU REEVES recounts the emotional experience in making 'Sweet November' with CHARLIZE THERON, and divulges what scenes, to his dismay, were left on the cutting room floor
ET: So here you are, no big car chases, no special effects. This is a softer, gentler Keanu that we're seeing.
KEANU REEVES: Hmm ... I don't know if it's softer and gentler. I think the character, especially in the first act, is quite possessed and obsessed with work and life, and not dealing with anything else. I really looked at it as an internal journey. I'm really attracted to what happens to this man who has a kind of awakening with CHARLIZE THERON's character. The fabulous Charlize, radiant, beautiful.
Keanu: I think what really attracted me to the role was that my character gets to love someone else and through that really gets the bounty of life, as opposed to just being close off. He's working so hard, he's unconscious about why he's lonely. He doesn't even know he is, and then once he meets this woman, it's revealed to him. Who he is is revealed to him.
ET: How can you go wrong with Charlize?
Keanu: She's a really thoughtful, emotional, smart actress. I think some of the private moments, as well as some of the more lighthearted, spirited moments, some of the things that her and her character have to deal with by being ill, are to me, very moving.
ET: You two have tremendous chemistry. You had it in 'Devil's Advocate,' and you really have it here.
Keanu: Yeah, when I see them on screen, I really feel like, I like that couple. They look like they belong together, which is very necessary for romance.
ET: Now, there were some steamy love scenes that were cut from this, is that right?
Keanu: Well, what happened is that the producers of the film wanted to change the rating of the picture. In order to accomplish that they had to remove, to me, some of the more intimate and vulnerable scenes. PAT O' CONNOR, the director, still feels that the film, the ideas and hopefully the feeling of the film haven't been compromised. I miss some of the scenes, but it's kind of beyond my control.
ET: Can you describe them at all, without changing the rating?
Keanu: I can. It's kind of a hard topic to speak about, because if I do, I'll start to rant. There's a moment that's still in the film, but the vulnerability is changed because Charlize's character wants me to stay with her. I'm leaving and she says, "I'll do anything." I sit on her bed, and I ask her to take that off, and then to take that off, so she's bare.
Keanu: For her, in that character, to be that vulnerable, and to make that sacrifice ... and then she walks up to me, and I've lost my jaw, and I have no idea where my life is. I'm vulnerable. I'm lost. I rest my head in her bosom and she strokes my hair and she says, "Will you be my November?" That to me is a very primal image. But because of the ratings systems, that is considered an R rating. I guess, because I don't kill her. (laugh) You know what I mean? But see, I'm starting now, so I can't. But because of that nudity, it turns into an R rating.
ET: It still comes through.
Keanu: I agree. I don't think it's lost. I really don't.
ET: Plus, you have a cute little bathtub scene that's kind of racy.
Keanu: Yeah, there's a scene where she and I are in a tub together in her apartment, and we're speaking. I'm just asking her about her life. During the course of the scene, we're in a bubble bath and she's playing with my hair, and, I didn't know it at the time, but she gave me a little Mohawk.
Keanu: But it was a kind of ... it is a life-like moment. At the end of the scene I went under the bubbles and tickled her, and made her laugh -- but that's cut, because that's an R rating. You can't have people laugh and have intimate moments, but you can have a woman give you a Mohawk.
ET: What about kissing Charlize? This is the second time you get kiss her on screen. That was fun, right?
Keanu: (laugh) Yeah, most certainly. What do I say to that?
ET: She was quoted in the New York Post as saying that she doesn't think she's a good kisser.
Keanu: I don't believe that (covers face and gets embarrassed). There's a lot of tenderness between the characters.
ET: There's a great line in there where she says to you "Get a life," and you say, "I already have one. And I'm late for it."
Keanu: I have one and I'm late for it.
ET: Boy does that sum it up.
Keanu: It sums some of it up. It might be a zero sum. (laugh) That's part of the film, that dialogue between my character saying, "I work," and her spirit, who's had another experience of life.
Keanu: To awaken to something that's not so driven -- to use the cliche, "smell the roses," that's the dialogue. It's like, do you do anything for yourself? What do you do for fun? My character has no answer. In an odd way, he's kind of addicted to his work and what that's done to him. He knows no other way, doesn't want to see any other way. She shakes that all up, to my great benefit.