A candid conversation with the enigmatic star about picking the right roles, the Zen of riding and why the man behind Neo doesn't own a computer.
(Scans by Kleenexwoman)
by Michael Fleming
Keanu Reeves is possibly Hollywood's most elusive megastar, an actor who has managed to remain mysterious, on the big screen and even more so in real life. But keeping his fans and critics confused and off-guard has paid off handsomely. Reeves, 41, has packed movie theaters by playing an improbable range of characters in some of the most unforgettable films of the past two decades.
Take, for example, the legendary Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, a movie "just stupid enough to be endearing," as one reviewer put it. The role of Ted could easily have pidgeonholed Reeves if the actor had not gone on to appear in parts as varied as a Shakespeare-quoting bisexual hustler in My Own Private Idaho [Vincent Canby called Reeves' performance "very fine"] and a stoic cop in the highly caffeinated Speed, in which he uttered such lines as "Harry, there's enough C-4 on this thing to put a hole in the world!"
Then, of course, there are The Matrix and its sequels, in which Reeves' kung fu and slow-motion bullet dodging make Bruce Lee seem slothful. The three Matrix movies, released in 1999 and 2003, earned upward of $1.6 billion worldwide. Of sci-fi films, only the Star Wars series has made more. Reeves, who shared in the trilogy's profits, took home more than $150 million.
Along the way, there were flops - forgettable [and forgotten] movies such as Feeling Minnesota, Chain Reaction and Sweet November - but there were far more hits, from Much Ado About Nothing, River's Edge and Little Buddha to Something's Gotta Give and Constantine.
Reeves was born in Beirut to an English mother and a father who is part Chinese and part Hawaiian; Reeves' unusual first name is Hawaiian for "cool breeze over the mountains." His parents split when Reeves was young, and he and his sisters were raised by their mother, mostly in Toronto, where he attended four high schools. He was a skilled ice-hockey goalies, nicknamed the Wall, who dreamed of a pro career - that is, until he discovered acting. He dropped out of school when he was 17 and worked steadily as an actor in Canada before moving to Hollywood at the age of 20.
At a time when his fellow stars are acting out in public as well as on film - Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch, Russell Crowe tossing a telephone across a hotel lobby - Reeves is low-key and silent. His characters say relatively little on-screen, and he says even less off. He has continually declined to comment on some of the most dramatic events in his life, including the tragedy that befell him and his girlfriend Jennifer Syme when their baby was stillborn weeks before its due date in 1999 and Syme's death in a car accident, in 2001. Because of his reluctance to expose his personal life, Reeves remains strangely unknown for such a major star. His interviews are rare, and a lengthy one such as this is almost nonexistent. In addition Reeves avoids the paparazzi, stays out of the limelight and often refuses to answer interviewers' questions at all. That hasn't stopped the rumour mill, however; sketch blog reports have alleged romances with everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Diane Keaton, his co-star in Something's Gotta Give. When asked about her supposed affair with Reeves, Keaton responded "with a disbelieving yelp," according to The New York Times.
One of Reeves' upcoming movies is A Scanner Darkly, based on a futuristic tale by author Philip K. Dick; the movie was shot in live action and then animated. Reeves plays a narcotics officer investigating his own alter ego, a drug-abusing dealer of the dangerous new hallucinogen. "Keanu threw himself into the role," says director Richard Linklater, whose movies include Dazed and Confused and The School of Rock. "There's a beautiful innocence about him, a direct line of empathy that the audience picks up. He feels things deeply and conveys them without saying anything or even displaying them in his face. I think when he looks in the mirror he doesn't see a leading man or even a good-looking guy. At different times, he may see a hobo or a guy in an alley, snuffling through life with no food in the refrigerator." Reeves is also reuniting with Sandra Bullock, his bus-driver companion in Speed, for The Lake House.
Playboy sent writer Michael Fleming, who most recently interviewed Jamie Foxx and the Rock, to meet with Reeves. His report: "When he arrived at Le Meridien hotel in Los Angeles, Reeves had longish hair and a substantial black beard ringing his boyish face. It almost seemed as if the growth were intended to give him something to hide behind. He wore a black blazer and gray scarf, never taking either off as we chatted for an afternoon.
"Reeves's intelligence may show through in his choice of roles and his measured performances, but boy, is he guarded. He shields his private life more than any movie star I've interviewed. I waited for him to open up, but whenever it got personal, he became uncomfortable and quiet. If not loquacious, he was at least gracious and polite - even, I noticed, fanning the smoke from his numerous cigarettes away from me."
PLAYBOY: In your new movie, A Scanner Darkly, you return to the genre of The Matrix, science fiction, this time with a halucinogenic animation overlay. Are you a sci-fi, techno-obsessed, geeky kind of guy?
REEVES: Me? I don't even have a computer.
PLAYBOY: Neo from The Matrix has no computer?
REEVES: That's right. It's always made [Matrix directors] Larry and Andy Wachowski laugh.
PLAYBOY: How have you avoided owning a computer in 2006?
REEVES: I'm more interested in people than technology. I'm not a gearhead.
PLAYBOY: How about a BlackBerry? Can you be a Hollywood celebrity without one?
REEVES: Yes. With all technology, I'm interested in the ideas, what it mean sociologically. I love reading about inventions, knowing why and how people use them - the Internet and the rest - but I'm far more fascinated by the human aspects. As far as I can tell, devices meant to save you time and help you communicate actually take away time and give you an excuse not to communicate. People like e-mail because they don't have to answer it. You want to talk to people, but you get less time to do it. I prefer letters. I like to write them.
PLAYBOY: In longhand?
REEVES: On a typewriter.
PLAYBOY: Do you use Write-Out for your mistakes?
REEVES: Nah. I put Xs through mistakes. That's part of the charm.
PLAYBOY: If Star Wars is the standard, where does the Matrix trilogy rank in the pantheon of science-fiction franchises? Financially, it's number two.
REEVES: I would say we're the number one. Everyone has their own ranking, but The Matrix is definitely my favourite. I still get protective about it. I got so mad when The Matrix wasn't nominated for an Academy Award last time.
PLAYBOY: An Academy Award for.....
REEVES: At least for the special effects. Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking insane?
PLAYBOY: The first Matrix movie came out right before the first Star Wars prequel. By comparison The Matrix was reviewed as fresh and cutting-edge. It developed a cult following and inspired fashion trends, and the entire series took in more than $1.5 billion. When you first read the script, did you imagine ti would become such a sensation?
REEVES: I didn't, though I saw a great script and a great story. The ideas pushed the envelope in science fiction. I had never heard of anything like The Matrix before. I hadn't seen any of those ideas before - a guy living in a dream. They were going to slow down the action scenes, and there was this kung fu stuff. I loved all that. I knew it was going to be hard work - I recognized the effort it would take - but it excited me.
PLAYBOY: When you look back, do you remember the effort or the movies' success?
REEVES: It was very exciting to work on those films. I feel very grateful for how my life changed because of them - what I went through, the people I met. Neo has a relationship to humans, to machines and to energy itself. What does he ask for? Peace. I think that's one of the best messages we can strive for. I have strong feelings about that message. That part of it helped me get through the experience.
PLAYBOY: Reportedly, you and numerous co-stars were injured while making those movies. How badly were you banged up?
REEVES: My knees aren't the same. They're just not. I have to get them scoped.
PLAYBOY: Because of the kung fu scenes?
REEVES: Yeah, though it was just movie kung fu, not the real stuff. We hit each other only a couple of times, so it wasn't that bad. But people broke things. Carrie-Anne Moss hurt her leg, and Hugo Weaving had to have a hold drilled into his hip to drain some fluid. I was taking ice baths and massages and trying not to cry at night. But would I do it again? Absolutely! I'm still kind of tired from it, though. I'm still recovering. Five or six months ago I remember saying to a friend that I finally felt as if I'd processed the first Matrix.
PLAYBOY: Five months ago? That film came out in 1999.
REEVES: Yeah, but I'm a sensitive guy. The first shoot was eight months, and the second was 22 months. My stunt double told me I did more wire work than 90 per cent of the stuntmen in the business.
PLAYBOY: After shoots like those, do you stay in touch with the directors and cast?
REEVES: Yes. I saw Laurence Fishburne just the other day. I bought him some artwork for his new house. I haven't seen Carrie-Anne for a while. I saw Hugo at a film festival a few months back. All the people we're speaking about are my friends. If I got married, they'd all be invited.
PLAYBOY: When it finally shuts down, how do you get an intensive shoot like The Matrix out of your system? Do you get lost for three weeks?
REEVES: Three weeks? Is that all I get? Normally when I finish work, I'm very tired, but also restless. I look to reconnect with friends. I ride my bike.
REEVES: I mainly just ride around town, seeking sunsets and the ocean. I ride around the canyons or Malibu.
PLAYBOY: You've had several notable accidents. Have your injuries affected your riding?
REEVES: I still ride every day, pretty much.
PLAYBOY: Which is your favourite bike?
REEVES: A 1974 Norton commando 850. It's an English sport touring twin. Comfortable. You can go up to San Francisco in a jump.
PLAYBOY: One of your well-publicized spills temporarily messed up your face pretty well. Do you wear a helmet now?
REEVES: It's the law, so now I do, except when I'm in places that have no helmet laws.
PLAYBOY: A lot is riding on you when you star in a film. Are you contractually restricted from riding motorcycles when you're shooting a movie?
REEVES: Sometimes I have to state my position, to say whether I will or won't ride.
PLAYBOY: You have said you like going on what you call the devil ride. What is it?
REEVES: There are a couple of spots on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills, where if there's a good moon out, you can coast all the way down towards the ocean. You shut off your lights and go. It's very quiet. You're guided by the moonlight. It's very pleasant. It's not like I'm howling at the moon, but it's quiet, and you can hear and feel the breeze. There is a certain aspect to riding. You're getting away and enjoying nature and riding. You can't daydream when you ride. You have to be here now.
PLAYBOY: Is the thrill, as well as the danger, part of the attraction?
REEVES: Well, I'm not looking to get into any mishaps.
PLAYBOY: What caused your accidents?
REEVES: I've had a few of them. I crashed a few times. Once a car pulled a U-turn from a parking space in front of me into my lane. The driver couldn't see me coming, and I couldn't get out of the way. That one is responsible for my fake teeth - my teeth replacements.
PLAYBOY: How badly were you hurt?
REEVES: I sheared some skin off my right shin. I broke my ankle and a couple of teeth. Not so bad.
PLAYBOY: Easy for you to say. And you have a scar on your abdomen. From what?
REEVES: That was from running into a hillside. I took a turn a little too fast and just ran out of road.
PLAYBOY: Do these accidents ever make you consider quitting?
REEVES: No. After an accident I just vow to go a little slower.
PLAYBOY: How quickly do you get back on the bike afterward?
REEVES: As soon as I heal up.
PLAYBOY: In addition to riding, do you work out?
REEVES: I guess it depends on the day.
PLAYBOY: Do you try to stay in shape? What regimen do you have?
REEVES: Eat right, get plenty of rest.
PLAYBOY: Do you go to the gym? Do any Pilates?
REEVES: Nah. I'm an old-fashioned guy. I lift some, and I run.
PLAYBOY: How about fashion trends? What do your long hair and beard say about you? Would you define your look as more slacker or fashion plate?
REEVES: I wouldn't describe myself as a slacker or a fashion plate. I visit both of those worlds. I like to get dressed up once in a while.
PLAYBOY: Do you wear a character around after the workday is over?
REEVES: I tend to bring it home until I feel I know the guy I'm playing. If I'm doing an accent, I may answer the phone in the accent. When I worked on Sam Raimi's The Gift, I was going to bars and hanging out, jumping into the truck and wearing thick clothes. I enjoy that process of immersing myself in a character.
PLAYBOY: How much of a stretch was it to play a wife beater in The Gift? He was a brutal guy. Besides the accent and clothes, did you bring him home?
REEVES: I said no a lot more than I usually do. I wasn't as polite as I usually am.
PLAYBOY: Hilary Swank played your wife and was the recipient of your brutality. How did it feel to summon that rage and bully a woman?
REEVES: A part of me was afraid of my violent side. Once Hilary and I were improvising in a trailer. I just kept saying "You're lying. You're lying. You're lying." We were rehearing this argument, and Sam said, "Every time you say, 'You're lying,' instead of saying it, just hit her." Hilary was like, "No, Donnie, I wasn't-" [makes slapping noise] "Donnie, I wasn't-" [slaps] Sam was like, "Grab her face." This went on until finally I pushed her up against the wall and started taking her pants off. I stopped, but it was very scary. It was like, "Oh shit. Okay. Now I get it. I get it." It was very frightening.
PLAYBOY: Did it help Swank prepare for her role in Million Dollar Baby?
REEVES: [Laughs] Yeah. And by the way, I also learned a bit of... well, that some of the ladies don't mind it, so... Nah, that's awful to say.
PLAYBOY: In one of your next movies, you're playing Hollywood mobster Johnny Stompanato. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays his girlfriend Lana Turner. Stompanato was a small-time L.A. gangster with a legendary temper. Turner's daughter, Cheryl, stabbed him to death to save her mother. Was he similar to the character in The Gift?
REEVES: I found it interesting that Stompanato had this temper but that he was trying to control and civilize it. He didn't want to be a thug. He didn't want to be Mickey Cohen's tough guy. I liked the struggle of a violent guy who tries to change his nature.
PLAYBOY: By the time of The Gift, you had become one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. It has been reported that you made more than $150 million on the three Matrix films - one of the more lucrative movie-star paydays in history. Before that you had a reputation for living a modest existence. Does such a windfall dramatically change the way you live?
REEVES: Yes. It definitely changed the way I can live. Absolutely.
PLAYBOY: But has it? How?
REEVES: I can buy my mom a house, which is great. Then I can do the renovation. And yes, I can expand my level of philanthropy. A lot of things in my life extended out. How I am personally isn't really affected by it, but my life is. I'm still pretty sparing, though. I haven't gone nuts. I haven't changed much of my lifestyle. No, I don't have a jet.
PLAYBOY: After having long been content to live in hotels, you bought a house. As you get older is it more important to put down roots?
REEVES: That's how I would put it. I guess I was looking for something more. Yeah, and this is after living in the Chateau Marmont for four years in the 1990s.
PLAYBOY: What's the best thing about living in a hotel for four years?
REEVES: Room service. Overall it was good fun, but the fun has to stop at some point. It was time to check out. Now it's nice to have a home.
PLAYBOY: Do you make your own bed?
REEVES: I do. It's good to make your own bed and do your own dishes.
PLAYBOY: Did you decorate your house yourself?
REEVES: Yes. It's kind of modern. Modern comfy, if that's possible.
PLAYBOY: How else has your life changed since The Matrix? Can you go out and be anonymous, or is that time gone?
REEVES: It's important to do it still. Robert De Niro once spoke about the loss of his privacy, how he missed the ability to be a voyeur, to look at other people. As an actor, you don't want to lose that. I can still walk around, do what I need to and not be bothered much.
PLAYBOY: How does it feel when strangers come up and act as if they know you?
REEVES: It's generally nice if people want to say hi. I can move around the world pretty freely. No one freaks out.
PLAYBOY: Can you still go to the mall - anywhere you want?
REEVES: Yeah, absolutely. I went to the movies the other night. It was fine. I got recognized a couple of times, but it's no big deal. You never get supercomfortable with that, but in my experience it's usually pretty much "Hi" and "Can you sign this?" which is fine.
PLAYBOY: After three Matrix films, you did Constantine and Thumbsucker, an art-house film about a guy with an oral fixation. Upcoming you have The Lake House, with Sandra Bullock, and A Scanner Darkly - four utterly different types of movies. After the second Bill & Ted's, you played a bisexual hustler in My Own Private Idaho. Are you intentionally trying to mix it up? Is one film a reaction to the one that preceded it?
REEVES: One film isn't a reaction to the last as much as it is just finding something I'm interested in. At the same time, I don't want to become "that guy" or be known for any one thing. I'd like to be able to do any kind of role in any kind of film.
PLAYBOY: Was it difficult for you to shake the perception of being an airhead from Bill & Ted's? Did it make it harder to get the next job?
REEVES: It wasn't as hard for me to shake the perception as it seemed to be for other people. [laughs] I must have done a good job, because some people thought that was who I was.
PLAYBOY: Were you in high demand for roles that required an air-guitar solo?
REEVES: I never got that. People in the business never seemed to pigeonhole me because of the role, though sometimes I'd get it critically and socially.
PLAYBOY: Now critics finally seem to appreciate your work more than at any other time. Have you gotten better, or have they caught on?
REEVES: [Groans] Have I gotten better, or have they caught on? I feel like I've grown in my craft. I plan to continue that. In terms of catching on, I don't really know. Whatever.
PLAYBOY: You received good reviews for My Own Private Idaho. Your on-screen relationship with River Phoenix is as intimate and daring as the relationship in Brokeback Mountain. What was the reaction to that movie?
REEVES: My Own Private Idaho was well received, but the reaction had a lot to do with the film's structure. In the middle you have Shakespeare. You have street kids, homosexuality, father-son stuff. There is no straight, direct dramatic narrative.
PLAYBOY: If it had come out today, who it be embraced like Brokeback Mountain? Is there more openness to the depiction of homosexual and bisexual relationships now than when My Own Private Idaho came out in 1991?
REEVES: I think so. Brokeback Mountain has been put on a platform as a love story. Is it a more open world because it's a story about love between two men? Well, we've got gay marriage now. So I guess, yes. Idaho still holds up, by the way. I saw it recently. It has aged well.
PLAYBOY: And you? Are there qualities in your acting now that you're 40 that weren't there when you were 20 or even 30?
REEVES: I don't know. I don't look at myself like that. I just look forward to what happens next.
PLAYBOY: Does it worry you to get older in a business that reveres youth?
REEVES: No, I don't have that worry. I look at it differently. I look at Macbeth and wonder, Do I have the stature yet? Do I look too young? That's one I'd like to do. I want to be able to do it and feel like I know what I'm talking about. I just hope I don't have to age too hard to earn it. [laughs]
PLAYBOY: You have said you stank in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. What was wrong with your performance?
REEVES: When I went into the picture, I had done a lot of work - three films in a year. I was psychically beat-up, fragile and not so confident. Actually, I saw that film again about a year ago, and it was okay. As arch as all the other performances were, mine was suitable.
PLAYBOY: Speed made you a bankable leading man. Did you sense in advance that it would?
REEVES: No. What I saw in the script was an action film and a chance to humanize the action hero. At the time, that type of role was changing after Bruce Willis did Die Hard. My performance was in the spirit of the change to more character-based interpretations of the action hero.
PLAYBOY: Why did you turn down Speed 2? In retrospect it was a good decision, but the original Speed was a blockbuster.
REEVES: Aw, this is all ancient history.
PLAYBOY: But it's not a painful memory?
REEVES: [Laughs] Good ancient history.
PLAYBOY: Why did you say no?
REEVES: At the time, I didn't feel the script and story were things that needed to be made.
PLAYBOY: Because a boat moving through water doesn't visually convey the danger of a speeding bus?
REEVES: That was one of my major points. [laughs] My idea was to have my character traveling through the whole film, trying to propose to Sandra with all these obstacles getting in the way. That would have been charming. But also, when the film came around, I wasn't ready to go run and jump. I was in the middle of finishing Chain Reaction. I just didn't feel like running and jumping anymore. So I played Hamlet, and that was fine.
PLAYBOY: Years later why did you agree to make Something's Gotta Give? It had all the markings of a corny chick flick, though it became a hit and revived the genre of smart adult films.
REEVES: I thought it was a great story, incredibly well written by director Nancy Myers. And I got the change to work with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. I liked the humanity of my character, that he was a heart doctor in a story about matters of the heart. There was a nice dignity to him, so I didn't mind not getting the girl.
PLAYBOY: Were you nervous working with Nicholson? Were you more nervous working with him that with other iconic co-stars?
REEVES: I was probably most nervous at a rehearsal of The Devil's Advocate with Al Pacino. It was in a studio loft in Manhattan, where we sat on a couple of chairs that were substituting for a subway bench. It was the first time I got to roll up my sleeves with a master. Yeah, I was nervous. But Pacino is a very generous actor, a lovely man. That got me past it. This was my opportunity, as Laurence Fishburne always says, to swing.
PLAYBOY: To swing?
REEVES: You know, "Let's swing, man. Let's go. Let's hit it out of the park."
PLAYBOY: You left high school to act. Was it a difficult decision?
REEVES: No, because I'd made the decision to act before I went to high school.
PLAYBOY: Was your mother worried about your quitting school?
REEVES: No, she was very supportive. No one tried to hold me back.
PLAYBOY: While it lasted, were you a good student?
REEVES: I was okay. I went to four high schools in five years. I went to one right after grade school for two years. Then I went to a performing-arts high school for a year. I got kicked out and went to a Catholic boys' high school to play hockey. That's where I did my first play. After that I went to a free school so I could work while getting my education. Then I dropped out.
PLAYBOY: Do you have any misgiving about not finishing high school and following the traditional path to college?
REEVES: No, because I'd started working as an actor. That's what I wanted to do.
PLAYBOY: When did you initially go to Hollywood to act?
REEVES: I was 20. I got a green card, got in my old car and drove across the border from Canada. I stayed half a year with my stepfather, who was a writer and director. He let me stay in his guest bedroom because I didn't know anybody out here. Then I made some friends, and I got an apartment and a roommate.
PLAYBOY: Were you at all homesick?
REEVES: Not at all. I was so ready to leave. I'd moved out of the house when I was 17 or 18.
PLAYBOY: How long did it take you to get established? Were there setbacks?
REEVES: I had the courage of youth. I had done a movie of the week in Canada. By the time I arrived in L.A., I had a manager and an agent. I came out with my head shots and went to auditions. After either months of hearing no, I got my first break in a TV movie.
PLAYBOY: Now, after being in LA for 20 years, are you cynical about Hollywood and the movie business?
REEVES: Absolutely not. Hopefully I never will be.
PLAYBOY: There's probably not much ice hockey in Hollywood, yet you were an ice-hockey goalie in high school. Do you still play?
REEVES: I played five or six years ago, when my knees were better. I played a lot of hockey. I played in some under-30 and then over-30 leagues in L.A. I got awards for best goalie and best goals against. One year I got a trophy.
PLAYBOY: Your nickname when you played in high school, the Wall, suggests you were a force to be reckoned with. Did you ever aspire to play pro hockey?
REEVES: When I was 17, I was on the edge. I had a tryout for a major junior A team, which I didn't go to because I did a play instead.
PLAYBOY: After The Matrix, motorcycle accidents and ice-hockey, how bad are your knees?
REEVES: Now it's hard for me even to play. My knees will get swollen. And then there was the neck surgery.
PLAYBOY: For what?
REEVES: I just had two cervical discs removed, but I'm still going to play some hockey. I'd like to get back in the net.
PLAYBOY: Tabloids track most stars' every step. They report rumours, but you generally seem to exist outside their glare. How have you managed that?
REEVES: I lead a very quiet life, I don't get out much. It's kind of sad, but - ah, well.
PLAYBOY: How troubling are the tabloids and paparazzi?
REEVES: No one wants their private life intruded upon by long-lens cameras and flashbulbs. It's more prevalent in Hollywood than it used to be. There are more photos of people going to eat and coming out of clubs. It's unavoidable.
PLAYBOY: Most stars engage lawyers to deny stories and threaten lawsuits as soon as a tabloid publishes something scurrilous. When unfounded reports surfaced that you'd married David Geffen, did you feel the need to defend yourself and refute them?
REEVES: No. When you say defend, in that case it comes down to making a judgement about being gay or not. I try not to live my life by what other people say.
PLAYBOY: Did the report about Geffen make you angry?
REEVES: No, man. To me, it's just bullshit. Like I said, rumours, and that kind of stuff. It's like, whatever.
PLAYBOY: Do you read the tabloids? Do you understand the appeal?
REEVES: People were gossiping about what the king and queen were doing way back when. It's just human nature. We like talking about other people.
PLAYBOY: Do you get drawn in?
REEVES: I get inoculated every year, so I don't.
PLAYBOY: Are you forgiving of the press?
REEVES: I don't think it has the right to peer over the fence or stalk me. It doesn't have a right to my private life.
PLAYBOY: Do you imagine using your celebrity to push politics the way Bono does?
REEVES: I don't have it in me. He's a remarkable man and a remarkable performer. I don't have that kind of scale in me, but I am involved in foundations.
PLAYBOY: Could you see yourself ever publicly backing a political candidate?
REEVES: I like to do things quietly. That's my style. For now.
PLAYBOY: George Clooney has made a series of political movies - Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck. Do you ever consider making movies that would push your politics?
REEVES: It's not to my taste. It's admirable and important but not my style right now. My life now is smaller-scale. I get involved in certain philanthropic entities, but I like to go the private way.
PLAYBOY: Can you vote in the United States?
REEVES: No, I can't. I'm still a Canadian citizen.
PLAYBOY: Do you vote there?
REEVES: I don't participate in Canada, either. I guess one can say that, beyond social and human politics, I'm not a political person. I haven't voted. This is something I'd actually like to change.
PLAYBOY: Do you want to vote here?
REEVES: Yeah, and become a U.S. citizen. I realize I want to participate in different ways than I have been able to.
PLAYBOY: According to press reports, you never had a relationship with your father. Is he in your life now?
PLAYBOY: Do you know where he lives?
REEVES: In Hawaii.
PLAYBOY: Might you try to establish a relationship with him?
REEVES: I don't know. I just don't know.
PLAYBOY: Are you close with your mother and the rest of your family? Where are they?
REEVES: I have a sister in Italy and one in Seattle. My mother lives here. My family is pretty close. We see each other on holidays, whenever we can.
PLAYBOY: Along with acting, you apparently enjoy rock and roll. Do you still play bass in a rock band?
REEVES: No, I don't. I stopped about eight months ago. The band wanted to go on tour and make records, as opposed to just playing when we could. I felt like I was in their way. I stepped aside.
PLAYBOY: The band got much of its attention - and a record deal - primarily because you were in it.
REEVES: Yeah, but we hard-earned that after, like, seven years.
PLAYBOY: While your fame helped in some ways, did it also put pressure on the band?
REEVES: In the beginning, yeah. But if you're going to play music, shut up and play. If you don't want it to happen, stay home. Still, sometimes it was uncomfortable. We were a new band, and 3,000 people were coming out to see us play.
PLAYBOY: Where do you feel more naked: playing a new song live or opening in a play?
REEVES: Both sound pretty good. I like that excitement. I'm most comfortable onstage performing. When I'm acting onstage, I feel very much at home, more so than I do when performing music.
PLAYBOY: What gave you a bigger rush, opening for Bon Jovi, seeing The Matrix for the first time or being onstage in a play?
REEVES: Opening night onstage, but opening for Bon Jovi was fun. That was one of our first big concerts. Being amplified in the Forum is pretty awesome. The drums are like, boom! The bass. You feel the whole place moving. There's so much sound coming out, your pants are vibrating.
PLAYBOY: Is there more camaraderie between bandmates on the road or between cast members on location?
REEVES: They rival each other. You probably learn more about the personal foibles of the band on the road in a van or bus. You learn what everybody looks like at four a.m. The musician's life is a little more of the pirate's.
PLAYBOY: Will you play in another band?
PLAYBOY: Because you know you aren't likely to achieve in music what you have as an actor?
REEVES: No, it's not about that. I enjoyed the creative process. I loved playing shows and making music. There's nothing like writing a song for the first time and having a band come together and play it and then playing it live.
PLAYBOY: Then why did you quit the band?
REEVES: I'm 41 years old. I did the band for about nine years - long enough. It's just about finding time. I have too much else to do.
PLAYBOY: As you think about the future, do you see yourself sitting around the house, with a bunch of kids running around and a gut? George Clooney, a terminal bachelor, says it'll never happen for him. But he has a pot-bellied pig.
REEVES: Well, that goes to show you. We all need surrogates. It's nature. It's Darwin calling. What is it? "Nature is calling a siren song, and not to answer is not to belong. The world must be peopled." Yeah, that impulse is definitely alive and well in me. Yeah. A gut and some kids? Why not?