"Watcher" dogs Reeves
by Tim Swanson
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Poor Keanu. So many seven figure deals, who can keep track of them all?
Apparently, not even Reeves, nor his reps.
Recently promoting "Hardball" at the Toronto Film Festival, Reeves was quoted in the Calgary Sun claiming that his signature on an agreement to appear in last year's "The Watcher" was forged by "a friend," thus accounting for the A-lister's unlikely appearance as a prancing psychopath in the $25 million schlock shocker.
But sources close to the picture say that Reeves did agree to work, for scale no less, as a favor to "Watcher" director Joe Charbanic, a personal pal who'd been a roadie for Reeves' rock band Dogstar.
At the time, Charbanic, who also had directed a music video for the group, was putting together his feature directorial debut, the low-budget road picture "Macon."
But "Macon" was scrapped, and Charbanic teamed up with production firm Interlight to make "The Watcher." Reeves, as he told the press in Toronto, "never found that script interesting" and tried to back out, but couldn't.
With a reluctant Reeves toplining under threat of lawsuits, "The Watcher" was later acquired and distributed by Universal, which was forced to mount a promo campaign without use of Reeves' image or interview support.
Reeves ultimately received an additional $2 million for his 11 days of work on the picture. Reeves' agents at Creative Artists Agency and publicists at PMK have both declined comment, as have Charbanic and Interlight.