Faces and Places - The Matrix Reloaded Premiere
The hottest ticket in Los Angeles on May 7 was for the "Matrix Reloaded" premiere. So big it took over "two" theaters, the debut brough out the star power of Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, Will Smith and more. "ER's" Leslie Bibb laughed, "I have no idea how I got this ticket. It's such a huge deal. I'm nobody!" Folks on the blue (yes, blue) carpet were looking forward to the eye-popping effects of the film. Of the original "Matrix," Lance Bass told "Us," "I loved it. The special effects were great!" Star Keanu Reeves agreed: "We've done things that I don't believe have ever been attempted in Western action cinema before." Ain't that the truth! to get more of your "Matrix" fix, turn to page 56.
The Reclusive Keanu
The guy's made almost 40 films in nearly 20 years, but even his closest costars admit that Keanu Reeves remains one big mystery. Us answers all about the very private star of The Matrix Reloaded.
by Matthew Graham
What's he really like?
If his costars only knew. "There is something closed about him," Reloaded's temptress Monica Bellucci, for one tells Us. "He's very shy. You want to understand more about him, but he doesn't let everybody approach him as a person." Laurence Fishburne, who worked with Reeves on 1999's original Matrix and spent a year with him in Australia filming Reloaded and its upcoming sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, is equally in the dark. "I love the motherf-ker, but I don't know a thing about him." Well, this much we do know: He is undeniably generous. After spending weeks shooting one action scene, he presented each of the 12 stuntmen with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. "That made me smile for months," Reeves tells Us.
How does he stay so fit and trim?
"I don't think there's any other person that I've seen work as hard as that man," says his Reloaded costar Jada Pinkett Smith. No joke. Before filming began, he went on a high-protein, low-fat and oil-free diet and trained for six months, working out at 7:30 every morning, often for up to 10 hours. but that didn't quite prepare him for the daily two-hour stretching routine he adopted to prepare for fight sequences once filming began. The brutal sessions often left him screaming in pain. "It's 20-pound sandbags on your legs," he says. "It's people pushing down on you until you get that 'pop' sound." To help him recover, he kept a bottle of McClelland's in his trailer. "A glass of scotch after some fightin'," he says, "is really good."
Where does he call home?
Although he keeps an apartment in New York City, Reeves lives like a nomad, checking into one hotel room after another, depending on where he's shooting. (Los Angeles's chic Chateau Marmont is a common hangout.) "That's the way I like things. I like room service," he has said. Still, "I'd like to have a home with all my belongings in it, but things just haven't worked out."
Is he single - or taken?
Reeves is famously mum about his personal life, especially since his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, miscarried before giving birth to their baby in 1999; tragically, Syme died in a car accident in 2001. But he's been spotted with Amanda De Cadenet, 31, ex-wife of Duran Duran's John Taylor, and he huddled at an Oscars after-party last March with actress Clare Forlani, 30. She was spotted on May 5 at the Viper Room in L.A., where bass player Reeves was performing with his latest band, Becky. Says costar Bellucci, who smooches him in Reloaded as she did as a vampire in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula: "He's a good kisser. It wasn't painful."
What's next on his agenda?
He's currently filming the drama Thumbsucker, and he's attached to Constantine, another potential franchise that's based on the comic book Hellblazer. He's also teeming with Jack Nicholson, in a still-untitled romantic farce in which the two fall for the same woman... Diane Keaton! So, is Reeves funny? "I hope so," he says with a laugh. "I think they're all hoping."
Just the essential facts
Name: Keanu Reeves (His first name is Hawaiian for "cool breeze over the mountain.")
Age/Height: 38/Six foot one.
Hometown: Born in Beirut, Lebanon, moved to New York City, then Toronto as a child; moved to Los Angeles at age 20.
Career High Points: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (above, 1989), Speed (1994), The Matrix (1999)
When Not Acting He's: Riding motorcycles, playing hockey and performing with his new rock band, Becky. The group recently played concerts in Japan and Bangkok, Thailand.
In The Matrix Reloaded, the machines that created the virtual-reality world of the Matrix have discovered Zion, the last human city. Now they plan to destroy it! It's up to Neo (Reeves), who, as in the first film, battles a now-reprogrammed super-cloning Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving, left) to save the world from annihilation.
Picture caption #1: With mom Patricia (left) and half sister Karina at the LA Matrix Reloaded premiere.
Picture caption# 2: What working on The Matrix taught Reeves: "It's like, can you live up to the best part of yourself every day?" he says. "It's hard, but I try."