"I don't have a celebrity chart"
(Translated from French)
by Laurent de Groof
After making us fall for him in 'Something's Gotta Give', the actor goes back to the dark side of sci-fi as a detective working with the occult in the movie 'Constantine'. A tailored role for 'Kianou' who admitted to believing in ghosts.
You got involved with the 'Constantine' project while working on the 'Matrix'
Yes, it was about a year after the first 'Matrix' film. The script was very well written and the character fascinating. I like his fatalistic, cynical, pretentious side. Even if, deep down, he's a generous guy.
He's also a heavy smoker...
Absolutely. Some days were pretty hard for me on the set (smile)
How many packs of cigarettes have you smoked during filming?
It all depended on the scene. About a pack a day…?
Have you quit smoking since then?
No. Sometimes I think I should really stop. Then I look at my pack and think: come on, just one more…
You have said in the press that Constantine was pretty close to your own personality
He's got a wonderful sense of humor. Even though he's destined to spend the rest of his life in hell, he's not afraid to insult the devil. I like his inner anger. He hates what's happening to him. It reminded me of my high school years…
In the movie, he says that God has got a plan for all of us… Do you share that vision of things?
I sometimes read my horoscope in the morning. And when it says that this or that is going to happen… I want to believe it. But there are good and bad times in life, and I don't really question their reason for being.
What about occult sciences, are you interested in that?
Mmmmmmmm… I believe in ghosts. I have seen some.
I saw my first spirit at 5. I met a second one when I was having lunch with a friend in Austin, Texas. We both felt the presence. It wasn't the same one as when I was a child. That one had appeared to me when I was sat on the bed in a small bedroom. My sister was asleep next to me and the nurse was there as well. And then, this kind of cloth with breasts appeared before us. It didn't have a body nor legs. It moves back and forth for a few minutes then it disappeared.
Were you scared?
No, but my nurse's eyes looked like there were gonna explode! I know a lot of people who have seen ghosts.
Is life beautiful to you these days?
Oh really, do you think so?
Well, you are amongst those people who can ride their bike on Mulholland Drive without wearing a helmet...
Because I do it when the police isn't watching! Everyone can go down Mulholland Drive without a helmet, but it's harder not to get caught. It's not like I have a special pass saying I can ride a bike without a helmet because I'm a celebrity.
But these days, you have nonetheless a certain power in Hollywood?
I don't know if you can call that power. People at Warner Bros like me. The 'Constantine' project was theirs. I told them i was interested and things happened. That's it.
The 'Matrix' trilogy is a worldwide phenomenon. Do you feel more pressure regarding what fans expect from you?
That what the producers hope for. But, to me, acknowledgement is secondary. They are movies that take you into another world. They're well made, entertaining, and you can debate on them for along time afterwards. They make you think and that's what I'm interested in.
Eleven years after 'Speed', you will soon be reunited on screen with Sandra Bullock...
Yeah, the movie is called 'Il Mare' and will be directed by the Argentinian director Alejandro Agresi. I'm really looking forward to work with Sandra again. We're still in touch and I think we make a cute couple.
You remain faithful to your on-screen partners...
Yes, that's true. I have worked a few times with Charlize Theron, Rachel Weisz…
Is that because you refuse to kiss other actresses?
Noooooooooooooo, that's not my style… (smile) You know, I'm not the one making the decisions. Sandra was involved with the project long before I was. I don't get to pick who I work with on films.
Do you still manage to remain critical about your work?
I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night thinking that I should have done a specific scene differently. I try to learn from my mistakes.
You are very protective of your private life...
I don't think I'm overprotective. I just try to live my life.
You can't deny that you are one of Hollywood biggest stars...
I'm not THE biggest star in Hollywood.
The 'Matrix' was a huge success...
Yes, but I wasn't carrying the whole movie on my shoulders. I don't have much to do with its success. It's nice to be part of a movie that does well, but it's not the reason why I'm in this business. What I'm interested in is having the opportunity to make more. It's my job. That's what I love doing.
Faithful in friendships, the same could be said about Keanu Reeves and his female co-stars. After working a few times with Charlize Theron, Sandra Bullock and Tilda Swinton, he teams up again with Rachel Weisz with whom he had previously worked on 'Chain Reaction'. 'I thought the huge success of the 'Matrix' would have changed him, has she confided. But no. He's a bit older, a bit wiser, but he has remained the same. He's got his feet on the ground. He's got real friends. And his private life remains private. He's not part of the whole Hollywood circus.' Is Rachel a fan? 'I tried to kiss him 3 times when it wasn't required in the scene!! (laughs) It didn't work though. He's a loner. What can you do?'