The Book LA (US), August 26, 2003
by Emmanuel Itier
Q: So how was it to go back to The Matrix?
Keanu: I read the script and I thought it was beautiful and so exiting and I couldn’t wait for it to start. I went into intense and extensive training and then we began, first in Oakland, Northern California. And it was about working on the script, figuring out things with the directors and getting myself into shape for the shoot.
Q: Did the first movie change you, did it open “doors” in your mind?
Keanu: Well, I’m lucky that the material, itself is so beautiful and asks some universal questions on top being fun. My role, Neo, is a very reflective role and a searching role as well. I was important to figure out my part in its deepest form.
Q: What did you learn about yourself?
Keanu: That I had a lot of questions…
Q: Did you find any answers?
Keanu: I’m still finding out…figuring out answers…
Q: How was it to shoot in Australia and to be gone for so long?
Keanu: It was a great experience even though I missed friends and family. I spent a full year in Sydney but it was such a labor of love... it was very demanding... it was a great experience.
Q: Apparently some people connected to the film died during and after the shooting, did this affect you?
Keanu: Well, sure but I focused on the work. If you work and put your mind into it you can move on and keep going.
Q: Do you identify to the aesthetic of the film?
Keanu: I love the costumes and the glasses, the production design is amazing, and the vision and effects are so unique. It was fun to be Neo… but in real life I stay away from my costume… unless it’s for Halloween! I’m so glad that people around the world enjoy the whole Matrix experience.
Q: How did you approach the role as an actor?
Keanu: There is real strong formalism with the style of the film. It’s about having strong feelings and very minimalistic, direct behavior to express them. It’s a real economy of acting, when you move it’s like a Japanese samurai, this is my intention and it’s what I do, it’s straight and not flamboyant, it’s clean acting.
Q: How was doing the sex scene with Carrie Anne Moss?
Keanu: Well, sometimes it’s very uncomfortable to film those type of scenes because you’re in the nude and you’re in public and being filmed. So we talked about it way before and we figured out a comfortable environment for Carrie Anne and I. We got used to the set, to each other and to the camera and we tried to figure out how to shoot it without being too graphic. I trust her and I was eager to do this scene. That scene is about true love, about communion of the souls. It’s Neo sharing his love with her but also expressing his fear to her, of losing her. And she is very giving and accepting and it was great to show their strong relationship.
Q: You were both totally nude?
Keanu: No…we both had things to cover our genitals…it was not like Adam and Eve before the apple…
Q: What about kissing Monica Belucci, she says you’re a great kisser?
Keanu: Well, thanks, she is quite fantastic herself! She and I worked before on “Dracula” and we did a lot of kissing also! Every time we meet we kiss! I can’t wait to work with her again!!
Q: Do you think your career really changed with Matrix?
Keanu: I feel very grateful with my career and to work with such a great film. It definitely helped me develop a good relation ship with Warner Bros. And hopefully I will be able to do more exceptional films. Besides I’m busy, I’m doing a film with Nancy Meyers with no title for the moment with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton… To go back to your question I feel that The Matrix is bigger than me, and people like it because it’s an ensemble of great things, I’m just a part of it…
Q: How was it doing your fight scenes?
Keanu: It was so much harder to “Matrix 1”! To learn the weapons and do the multiple fights with sometimes more than one enemy. It really was tricky and intense. A great challenge!
Q: At what point Neo has a difficult choice between trying to save his love and saving humanity?
Keanu: My character didn't choose humanity... I chose love... that's my choice, my character's choice.
Q: Do you still do martial arts?
Keanu: No I don't …What I learned was really movie Kung Fu…it’s not quite the same as the real thing…
Q: What’s your favorite power in The Matrix?
Keanu: To fly! It’s so much fun doing the shooting on wires and to fly…in the film I’m flying like Superman… it’s so much fun!
Q: What are you afraid of…the dark?