Matrix Star Reeves Says He's No Indy Jones
Maybe it's the dark glasses. Keanu Reeves, who plays the superpowered character Neo hiding behind his cool black shades and long trench coat in The Matrix Reloaded, said he is certain he can avoid being typecast in similar superhero roles in the future.
"I don't think, as an actor, that is going to be a concern, in terms of being pigeonholed. 'Well, just go be that Neo guy,"' he quipped, mimicking the voice of a casting director.
The Matrix movies have created a cult-like following with their story about humans -- Neo among them -- battling machines that enslaved them in a computer-simulated world.
The Matrix in 1999 raked in $456 million worldwide, and by Thursday Reloaded was being shown on over 8500 American movie screens, or roughly one-quarter of those in the U.S.
As Neo, Reeves risks a fate suffered by many actors in widely hyped, plum roles: repeat the part and become not an actor of many faces, but an actor of only one.
Harrison Ford is still seen by many fans as Indiana Jones of the Raiders of the Lost Ark series.
"Harrison Ford is that character. He's such a central figure in that piece. Neo is much more a part of a whole," Reeves told Reuters, alluding to the film's ensemble cast.
That's somewhat true. His team's Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity are cool and sexy killing machines.
The Matrix Reloaded picks up where The Matrix ended. The machines are hellbent on human genocide and Neo, or "The One," must stop them. The story was dreamed up by writer/director brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski.
IDEAS, AND FUN TOO
A sci-fi fan, Reeves likes the humans' determination against adversity and their sense of right and wrong. But best of all, he said, the Matrix movies are just plain fun.
"It has ideas you can take with you, but it is a film you can also be entertained by," he said.
Neo, of course, flies. He sees speeding bullets in slow motion. He walks on air, flips, twirls, then punches his rivals with deadly force, although Agent Smith just won't die.
With his slick black hair and chiseled jaw, Neo looks nothing like the tousled and slightly rumpled Reeves.
Reeves, 38, has faced this typecasting issue before.
His role as doofus Ted, in 1989's Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, left Hollywood thinking he could only play a dim-witted dude. After 1991's Point Break he was dubbed a pretty boy, and 1994's Speed made him an action hero.
Each time, Reeves broke the stereotypes by taking diverse parts -- a street hustler in My Own Private Idaho, or Don John in Kenneth Branagh's version of Much Ado About Nothing .
He said he tries not to think about nearing 40, and what that means in terms of his career and new roles.
"I don't think I can be a virgin in high school again," he joked.
He has one more shot at Neo, in The Matrix Revolutions which hits movie screens in November and is the final chapter in the trilogy of films.
Reeves said he doesn't know whether there will be other Matrix movies, and he did not say if he would return as Neo.
"If there is, it might be an incarnation that is something else. The story they (the Wachowskis) wanted to tell, is told."