Ciak (It), May 2001
Keanu Reeves on his recent movies
(Translated from Italian, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
Q: How do you chose your films?
Great script, great director, great character: in this movie.
Q: What did strike you in "Sweet November"?
It was a romantic story; in fact it came out on St. Valentine's Day.
Q: Are you romantic?
No, I'm not. I see myself like a tragic. If I think about a love story, I recall Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. I can't forget my melancholic half. And Sweet November is tragic and melancholic too. It is divided into 3 parts: at the start it is an old-style comedy, like Tracy-Hepburn; in the second part my character and Charlize's learn to stay together and in the third, when you discover that she is ill, they have to learn to part. It is the meaning of love: what is a love story, what remains after.
Q: And what did you like in "The Gift"?
My character: hateful, violent, brutal, reactionary.
Q: Raimi said he thought you were not qualified to play that character.
True, at the start he refused to see me, but at the end I persuaded him: he said that during our talk I slowly became "bad" under his eyes.
Q: How could you act as a man who beats women?
Raimi said me: "Every time you say to your wife Hillary thas she is lying, hit her"; so, slowly, I came into my character's personality. The worst thing was hitting Cate Blanchett, but she helped me: she screamed "Hit me, hit me", and I did it.
Q: Your long beard was a way to be a more credible bad guy?
When I want to Georgia to start the preparation, as I usually do when I don't work, I let it grow. Then Raimi forbade me to shave myself, because he wanted me to be less recognizable.
Q: How do you react to the - usually negative - criticism of your interpretations?
I think that they are too personal; they want to hit not the character but the man.
Q: Nothing to answer?
I am sorry I am not perfect.
Q: You refused Speed 2 but you accepted 2 new Matrix movies: why?
Because they are not films, they are a world.
Q: How long will the training last this time?
5,6 months, with stretching, boxing, kicking, weights lifting, 6 hours a day.
Q: Any preoccupation?
I'll work for the next 16 months, now that, after living in hotels for years, I've just rented a home for the first time. I usually go on the set with only a bag, but this time I want to do like Laurence Fishburne, who comes with all his things, bed included!