Daily Telegraph (UK), August 24, 2002

Lone rider - Sydney's wrapped in Matrix

Famously reserved, Keanu Reeves has embraced Sydney in a big way - and the feeling's more than mutual.

by Michael Bodey

No limos. No minders. Just a black Harley Davidson and an open ticket to the city. Through his involvement with the Matrix films, Keanu Reeves has given plenty of joy to Sydney. The successful film franchise has brought big bikkies to the State and has cemented the city as a more than viable movie making alternative to Hollywood. But unlike any other big time film star who has temporarily called the Harbour city home, Reeves has made the most of it. Really made the most of it. He's enjoyed our food, our beer, our wine and our weather. He's even enjoyed the company of our women, even if that is nobody's business.

Cool, calm, collected Keanu fitted right in.

When production for The Matrix sequels wrapped in Sydney on Wednesday night, Keanu Reeves gave each crew member a bottle of vintage '93 Dom Perignon.

It was a typical act from a man known for his considerable generosity and kindness.

Reeves is not only one of the world's more bankable film stars, he's also one of its more enigmatic.

An international man of mystery, you could say.

He's wealthy enough to buy properties for friends and family but chooses to remain homeless, drifting between expensive hotel rooms as his career takes him all around the world.

In Reeves's world, there is no need for limousines or entourages the size of a footy team. Nor is he particular about what he keeps in his wardrobe.

That's why Sydney has been a great temporary home for the 37yearold. He's slipped right in -- not quite going unnoticed, but he's certainly been able to enjoy it on his lonesome.

For well over a year, he has made the most of the Harbour City, enjoying its restaurants, bars and general lifestyle.

"I've had a great time," he told The Sunday Telegraph last week. "I've met some wonderful people and eaten at some great restaurants. It's been really nice to be in Sydney and experience part of Sydney."

The actor has also made good use of the roads heading out of town -- putting his black HarleyDavidson through its paces on weekend afternoon trips to places such as Kangaroo Valley, on the South Coast.

Reeves has done his best to avoid celebrity traps such as Otto at Woolloomooloo but has been spotted at Double Bay's Arte e Cucina, Catalina, Wine Banc on a Thursday nights as well as the Italian hangs in Leichhardt.

He's also been seen visiting the odd city strip club. Everyone who has welcomed him or served him would agree he is a reserved, but polite customer.

A wine lover, he's searched the city for an elusive bottle (or three) of Grange Hermitage and was a friendly but challenging customer for sommeliers around town. But while he's not afraid to give his credit card a culinary workout, Reeves has shown he is just as comfortable -- if not more so -- sitting in the corner of pubs like the Old Fitzroy Hotel, in Woolloomooloo. Earlier this year a group of British tourists noticed Reeves sitting in a corner of the the pub, keeping company with a young woman, a schooner of VB and a pack of Marlboro.

They approached him for a chat and a photograph. Cool, sure thing. He then challenged them to a game of pool.

He's also played ball with the media, to a point, reluctantly posing for persistent paparazzi or simply ignoring them and letting them take their shots. Not once has he been seen delivering the onefinger salute.

The only time his love affair with Sydney has soured was when the media speculated about romance ... real or rumoured.

"There have been a few quite serious invasions of privacy," he said, saying it was inappropriate for the media to speculate about his relationships with women.

Tom Cruise's gift to Sydney was a terrible movie called Mission: Impossible II, which worked better as a tourism show reel. Reeves gift to Sydney has simply been him being a part of it.

Come back soon, dude.


Matrix, The , Matrix Reloaded, The , Matrix Revolutions, The

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