Unknown Source (US), June 11, 2006
Together Again...But Actually Apart
by Amy Longsdorf
A dozen years after they helped turn "Speed" into a monster hit, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are back together again for "The Lake House," a much more romantic outing than the bomb-on-a-bus thriller.
Through the years, the pair have kept in touch. They've met for dinners and drinks. But communicating with Reeves hasn't always been easy, Bullock says, because Reeves refuses to buy a computer.
"You can't e-mail Keanu, which is a bit frustrating," Bullock says. "But he writes letters. And letters are historic. You have something in your hands that's tangible." Reeves, who is, ironically, best known for playing the cyber warrior Neo in "The Matrix" movies, goes out of his way to downplay his aversion to the Internet.
"My friends have computers, so I can ask them to do something for me if I need to," he says. "But letters are something from you. It's a different kind of intention than writing an e-mail."
Reluctantly, Reeves reveals that he has an entire philosophy behind his love of letter-writing. "I use a typewriter because I like the contact of it," he explains. "And when I write, it seems kind of thoughtful. I also like to write sort of quasi-poetically. I enjoy the sensation of sitting down and taking my time. I like the physicality of it, the imprint on the paper. The object is independence -- and effort and thought."
The old-fashioned courtliness of letter-writing turns out to be a very important element in "The Lake House," which opens Friday. In the film, a remake of the South Korean romance "Il Mare," Bullock stars as a doctor who vacates her lake house in rural Illinois when a position opens up in Chicago.
Before leaving, she drops off a note for the next tenant of the house -- an architect played by Reeves -- asking him to forward her mail. Soon, the two strangers are trading long letters. Eventually, they fall in love. But the pair encounter a big problem that has nothing to do with the long commute: Mysteriously, they're living two years apart.
"It's an atypical romance, and I was drawn to that," Reeves says. "I liked the dialogue. I liked the sweetness. I liked these characters trying to figure out their own lives and then coming together in a way that I hadn't really seen before in a movie."
In person, you couldn't find two actors more diametrically opposed than Reeves and Bullock. He's quiet and watchful, she's bubbly and talkative. Sit them down together for an interview, and she happily fields most of the questions while he looks relieved to be able to keep his thoughts to himself.
Q. There's a strong fantasy element to this love story. Keanu, as the sci-fi veteran, did you try and help Sandra out with that aspect of the story?
Reeves: Did I?
Bullock: Actually, I think that the less I thought about it and just reacted the way that anyone would react to such a bizarre situation, the easier it was. If you start to over-think it, it gets a little trickier. Keanu did help me, though. He did actually try and help me through some stuff.
Reeves: I did?
Bullock: I'm a very logical person, and he has a very good way of barreling right into it. I like to dissect and circle around. He kind of dives into it more than I do.
Q. Did you both watch the original Korean film?
Reeves: No, I didn't want to see it beforehand. I'm probably going to watch it now because I hear that it's a great film.
Bullock: I saw it just before I signed on because I wanted to know what the tone was. I didn't want our movie to be goofy and commercial, so I watched the other movie for proof that it could be done. When I saw the tone was right, I thought, "I'd like to dive into this."
Q. Your characters communicate through a series of letters. It's a bit like Internet dating. Do you think you could ever fall in love without meeting someone?
Reeves: Falling in love and having a relationship are two different things. But, yeah, I can imagine that you could do that. I think that it depends on one's psychological state.
Bullock: You can learn a lot about a person over the Internet if you are both being honest. But I don't think that I could fall in love with someone without meeting them first. But that's me. I'm too much of a cynic and a hard head. But you could get to know them and be drawn to qualities about them, for sure.
Q. Why did you wait so long to re-team? You could have done "Speed 2" together.
Bullock: Yeah, Keanu. Did you hear that? He was smart. He had good people surrounding him at the time going, "Don't do it. Don't get on a boat going 10 knots, which looks like it's pretty much standing still." You never called to say, "Don't do it."
Q. "The Lake House" belongs to a tradition of classic Hollywood romances. Do you have a favorite love story?
Bullock: "Cinema Paradiso" because it's not just about romantic love. It's about a love of film, family, life and people that are gone. By the end of that film, no matter how many times I see it, it reminds me why I fell in love with movies and music and architecture and all of that. It's about the love of life.
Reeves: "Cinema Paradiso" makes me cry, too. I don't know. A nice romantic book can be good, too.
Q. Keanu, do you still play in a band these days?
Reeves: No, I'm retired. The band that I played with for nine years -- Dogstar -- we kind of came to a place where we couldn't play music together anymore. But nine years is a good run. Then I played in this other band for about a year called Becky. Then, I kind of got in the band's way. They wanted to tour and do some things that I couldn't commit to.
Q. What's next for you, Keanu? Is it the project about Johnny Stompanato?
Reeves: We tried to have that happen, but it didn't work out. It's a long story. It's a fantastic script, but it didn't work out. I'm not sure what's next. I have "A Scanner Darkly" coming out.
Q. How about you, Sandra? You have a Harper Lee movie coming up soon, don't you?
Bullock: I like how you call it the Harper Lee movie. Thank you. It's mostly about Truman Capote. It's called "Premonition."
Q. Is it tough coming out in the wake of "Capote"?
Bullock: What is nice about both films is that they take a strong point of view on a certain time in his life and ask, "What really happened? Was every word true?" Our movie is based on George Plimpton's book, and it's also about Capote's associates and friends, the people that he burned.