You gotta love Keanu
Sensational actor Keanu Reeves is Julian Mercer, the young doctor who's competing with Harry (Jack Nicholson) for the love of Erica (Diane Keaton), in Warner Bros.' delightful romantic-comedy Something's Gotta Give.
For director Nancy Meyers, Reeves was a dead-on choice to portray the young physician. "What's unexpected is not that Keanu is playing a doctor," she notes. "What's unexpected is that he's the other man."
"It's a beautiful story, absolutely lovely. I thought it was clever, enjoyable and something that doesn't come around that often," says Reeves of the film. "There's a freshness to it. A wonderful aspect of the script is the development of these characters who are so alive, searching to know themselves and each other. It's something you don't often see in Hollywood films."
What was it like having all that comedy going on around you, the straight character in the film?
Well, while I have a couple of jokes, to a certain extent I'm the straight guy, which was great actually. He's a cardiologist, an Emergency Room doctor and he's dealing with matters of the heart. He's a caregiver, so whatever I did, I had to support whoever I was with -- whether it was Diane Keaton or Jack Nicholson. My feeling was to do whatever it took to play this straight guy and to set up the comedy.
When Julian meets Erica, he's really taken by her. Can you explain why he likes her so much?
When my character is first introduced to Diane Keaton's character, Erica Barry, he thinks, "Wow, you're Erica Barry?" He's enjoyed her plays. Then one of those things happens. He just has that feeling and in the scene just before he asks her out, he's watching her on the telephone and he's just enamored. He sees her smile and moves. He's speaking with her and he's falling for her and her beauty, and -- eventually -- with who she is: a beautiful, interesting woman.
You're at the top of your game but you're still acting with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Do you still get a little star-struck? Did you like them as people?
Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson are remarkable people and very gracious. I came on to the set later on in the production and they were very welcoming. They're people with great humor and sensitivity, and it was really an enjoyable experience. The ease, grace and hard work that they bring and the work they put into making it all look effortless is remarkable. They really have a comfort with and a knowledge of the camera and storytelling. They have a way of revealing and creating their characters. They're seamless.
Is there a difference in doing what you've been doing for the last few years and doing a romantic comedy?
I haven't had the chance to work in a romantic comedy for awhile. It's a genre I really like. It's fun to fall in love and it's great to deal with matters of the heart.
A big deal is made in the movie about your youthful appearance. How do you stay so young? Do you know how you'll celebrate your 40th birthday?
I don't feel that young. I'm 39. I'm either going to be really alone in the middle of a desert or I'm going to have an outrageous party.
Walking around town, is your celebrity ever a handicap for you?
It's important to me to be able to move in the world and, luckily, I can. Sometimes before a premiere, it seems to intensify in terms of people following you and taking your picture as you walk off your car, which is a drag.
Do you remember the first time you were recognized and what was that like?
I remember one time I was going to the cinema in Los Angeles and I went into an ice-cream store with a friend. It was a hot summer's day and the guy gave us our ice for free. I went to pay and he said, "No, man." I asked, "Why?" And he said, "River's Edge."
How do you look back on The Matrix now? How do you feel about it?
I had the most amazing time working on those beautiful films and some of the best days of my life as a person and an actor. I think they're remarkable films.