Ever the unpredictable actor, Keanu Reeves outdoes himself by starring in two different genre films this year: the romantic drama The Lake House with Sandra Bullock, and the futuristic thriller A Scanner Darkly with Winona Ryder. Both films are from Warner Bros., the actor’s unofficial home studio for which he made the blockbuster films The Matrix trilogy, Constantine and Something’s Gotta Give.
Reeves, reunites with Bullock in The Lake House for the first time since their memorably combustible pairing in Speed was taken by the story’s unusual premise. “The way our characters come together is so original and heartfelt,” he says, noting how the film’s timeless idealism meshes completely with its contemporary setting and characters. “I’m not the hero here and she’s not the damsel in distress. It’s not about two people seeking someone or something to make themselves whole; it’s about two people who discover that together they can create something new.”
That Alex (Reeves) and Kate (Bullock) find each other at all is in itself a mystery beyond anything they could have imagined. Who could explain how she could place a letter into a mailbox in 2006 and he could pick it up on the same day two years earlier? They are two people with separate lives talking to each other across an unfathomable two-year divide and yet, in every other way they couldn’t be more perfectly in sync.
Alex, a gifted architect, has been squandering his talent on a standard condo development rather than remain at the prestigious design studio run by his famous architect father Simon Wyler (Christopher Plummer).
“He’s trying to go beyond things that his father has predetermined for him, in life and in his profession,” offers director Alejandro Agresti. Estranged since the elder Wyler’s increasing fame and arrogance drove away Alex’s beloved mother and damaged the family, father and son still find it difficult to occupy the same room. Alex has struck out on his own to see if he can make something of himself away from his father’s shadow, even if it means putting his own design dreams on hold.
“They’re in a period of transition,” offers Reeves. “Kate in 2006 and Alex in 2004 are both in the same place in their lives where they’re waiting for something to happen but they haven’t yet figured out what that is.”
Meanwhile, Reeves’ other film, Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly is set in suburban Orange County, California in a future where America has lost the war on drugs. When one reluctant undercover cop (played by Reeves) is ordered to start spying on his friends, he is launched on a paranoid journey into the absurd, where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode. It is a cautionary tale of drug addiction based on the novel by Philip K. Dick and his own experiences.
Like a graphic novel come to life, A Scanner Darkly uses live action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process (interpolated rotoscoping) to create a haunting, highly stylized vision of the future. The technology, first employed in Linklater’s 2001 film Waking Life, has evolved to produce even more emotional impact and detail.
The Lake House opens across the Philippines on June 14, to be followed by A Scanner Darkly in September.