Keanu Reeves: Romance after tragedy
Romantic comedy Sweet November provides a stark contrast to the personal tragedy that befell star Keanu Reeves before and after filming.
He loved the script so much he agreed to star in Warner Bros' football drama The Replacements in order to secure its backing.
But just months before the shoot his partner Jennifer Syme miscarried. The couple then split, and Syme was killed in a road accident in April this year.
Reeves says he was ready for a romance after playing a violent husband and a serial killer in, respectively, The Gift and The Watcher.
"At the time I was really looking for something like this," he says of the film, in which he plays an emotionally blocked executive who discovers love.
"I hadn't done a film like this since A Walk In The Clouds. It was time to put romance back into my career."
Reeves says the part was a tonic after the intensity of his role in The Gift.
"I got to see how that kind of violence could happen but I was surprised I could feel that kind of rage so easily. That's one of the things I love about acting - you learn things about yourself."
Having proved his box office worth with hits like The Matrix and Speed, Reeves was allowed to hand-pick his Sweet November co-star.
His choice was towering ex-model Charlize Theron, his co-star from 1997 hit Devil's Advocate.
"It's not essential for me to have this kind of connection with a co-star because we're actors, but it allowed us a certain comfort level with each other," he says.
He explains why he wanted to play a man whose unorthodox relationship turns into love.
"Charlize's character wakes my character up to what is important. He becomes more human. Love is one of the most exhilarating things you ever experience. I know I've had relationships that have been really important to me."
The star has not done badly for a boy who dropped out of his Toronto school 12 years ago and hit Hollywood with just a battered Volvo to his name.
"It had bricks under the seat and newspapers covered the holes in the back," he recalls. "But I had faith that I was going to make it.
"I had this feeling about what I wanted to do. I remember doing a scene out of Romeo And Juliet in 10th grade and loving it."