Gala (Ge), May 20, 2003

The Unreachable Hero

(Translated from German)

by Sarah Lau

In the newest "Matrix" film, Keanu Reeves is supposed to save the world. In real life, the Hollywood star had to cope with a series of difficult tragedies. Since then, the heartthrob lets even less people get close to him.

Blocking is his specialty. As a hockey guard during high school, he earned the nickname "The Wall". Today, he no longer needs the hockey uniform to build walls. One of his melancholic-distant looks is enough to let anyone across from him know that it is difficult to get close to Keanu Reeves, 38. Even friends like Laurence Fishburne, who recently returned to the screen with Reeves in the Sci-Fi spectacle "Matrix Reloaded", states about his film partner: "I worked with him for five years. I really like the guy. Nevertheless, I know nothing about him." His-primarily female-fans definitely know one thing: Reeves is sexy. He's one of these men, with whom women would throw themselves without hesitation into a "Dangerous Liaison" (1988). Or would, inspired by "Little Buddha" (1993), convert to Buddhism.

His attraction is undisputable. But hardly anyone is able to really get close to the screen beau. No wonder, when one considers everything he has already been through. Keanu was born in troubled Lebanon, the son of a Chinese-Hawaiian geologist and a revue dancer. His father Sam leaves the family when Keanu is still in toddler shoes. The boy suffers. But he pushes aside his own pain to stand by his two little sisters, Kim and Karina, as well as his mother Patricia.

With 17, while already in the US, he drops out of school. He wants to become an actor. The anger towards his father, which is still inside him, is released with wild motorcycle rides. After one of his nightly demon rides without headlights lands him in the hospital in Los Angeles. But even this situation can’t get him down. When the ambulance driver drops the stretcher with Keanu on it, he keeps his humor, in spite of broken ribs and a torn spleen: "I wanted to laugh so bad, but I couldn't even breath," the daredevil later states. Of course he still rides motorcycles. Fast of course.

But in December 1999, even this resilient guy may not be able to pick himself up. His girlfriend Jennifer Syme looses the baby they both wanted. The relationship falls apart when Jennifer flees into depression and drugs. Reeves uses the "Matrix" shoot as his personal rescue anchor. But not 17 months after Ava's funeral, he is hit with the next tragedy. Jennifer’s mother delivers the news that her daughter had a fatal car accident on the morning of April 2, 2001 with her Jeep. Selflessly, Keanu offers to identify Jennifer. He doesn't want to leave her mother with that duty. And as usual, thinks about himself lastly.

Today, his biggest nightmare is to lose his sister Kim, who has been ill with Leukemia for the past 10 years. Just like she would stick motivational notes on the refrigerator during their teen years ("You have the stuff to be a star"), today, Keanu gives her the strength to battle the disease. Whether with joint trips to the island of Capri or spontaneous visits to the hospital in Hawaii: For Kim, Keanu interrupted the "Matrix" shoot several times. What does he do for himself? As an example, he plays in his rock band Dogstar bass. For him, it's the "best method to express his feelings". To gather new strength. The man, who collects 15 million dollars per movie knows: "The most valuable thing I have is the love of my family."

Does anyone outside his family have a chance to break through Mr. Reeves' wall? "It would be great to marry, settle down, and raise a family," admits the heartthrob. But he can't settle down since the death of his girl friend. His home is a suite in the luxury hotel "Chateau Marmont" in L.A. He's been filming non-stop for years. He's booked until 2004. Work as a flight from life? "I admit that I'm a coward," says Reeves. "But I'm so frightened of this world." Who can blame him.


Matrix, The , Matrix Reloaded, The , Dangerous Liaisons , Little Buddha , Lives and Deaths of Jennifer and Ava , Dogstar , Reeves Family , Articles Translated from German

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