Joss Whedon tells The Importance of Being Keanu
Post by MissLilly:
While some have mild heart attacks because University of Oregon is running a class about Keanu's movies, here is something more to make them even happier... This is an opinion that matters and we should [be thankful for it].
Joss Whedon, in May, ran a class at Wesleyan called "The Importance of Being Keanu". Whedon was one of the writers of Speed and admired Keanu since then. People at the university thought it would be some type of joke, but Whedon ran a very serious and educative seminar. Below is the transcript from the site Whedonesque from a Joss fan who was there:
SaltyGoodness: (excerpt) I went to this...it was wonderful fun, as expected.
Joss began by sharing his thoughts about Keanu Reeves as an actor; sounds like an odd way to start but it was quite lovely. He explained how Keanu has mastered his own career by embodying a rare and authentic style all his own typified by a sense of compassion for humanity and a subtle detachment. He shared a story about when he was "fixing" the script for Speed and working with Keanu on the character, how Keanu had spent some time with detectives and law enforcement to get a sense of the character and he said he was struck by how polite they were. How they all used "sir" and "Ma'am." Joss was impressed by how Keanu objected to certain lines and actions in the script because they seemed outside of what the character would truly do. He explained how Keanu's choices of roles has been indicative of his style and how he has kept his private life private. He described Keanu as having an international appeal both by his "pretty" and by his multi-ethnic aesthetic. Ultimately, Keanu is the perfect Neo.
Zannadoo: (excerpt) The Keanu panel was very interesting. I think we all were surprised by how Joss took a topic - which in some ways we were all expecting to be a joke - and created some interesting insights - both about Keanu as an actor and as an example being the type of person who can have a positive influence on the Hollywood machine. By looking at how Keanu embodies a sense of “otherness” (not stereotypically male, having a feminine aspect to his presence, having different intonation, speech patterns, and physicality from what you would normally expect from a Hollywood Action Star), you start to see that it allows people to identify and connect with him as an “everyman” – which is why he is so successful in his performance as Neo in the Matrix. Joss also commended Keanu for his sense of integrity - as a movie star not running after fame, but willing to choose projects that he wants to do, that he believes in. The Hollywood culture is built by those who work in the industry as part of it. The Importance of Being Keanu is that if more people in the industry were thoughtful about their work as an artist, their integrity as a person, their substance as storytellers – rather than chasing fame or that next mega-blockbuster movie – the culture of the Hollywood industry could change for the better. (At least that was my take from it.)