Daily Mail (UK), December 7, 2008
'I started smoking at 30 and now I can't stop': Keanu Reeves reveals the bad habits picked up on films sets
Keanu Reeves, 44, shot to fame in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in 1989. Since then, he's had dozens of monster box office smashes to his name, from the surfing thriller Point Break and blockbuster Speed, to the groundbreaking Matrix films.
His latest starring role is in The Day The Earth Stood Still, a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic. Reeves is single and lives in LA.
WHAT WERE YOUR DREAMS AS A CHILD?
As a kid, I didn't dream of becoming a movie star. No, I dreamt of travelling to distant planets in flying machines. I loved acting, though, and by the time I was a teenager, it was something I wanted to do with my life.
I was acting professionally by the time I was 16. I grew up around the business - my stepfather was a director, my mother was a costume designer - but I also loved sport and, at one point, thought of doing that as a career. I played hockey, basketball and baseball.
WOULD YOU RATHER BE RICH AND FAMOUS OR POOR AND ANONYMOUS?
I never cared about the money, that's not why I started acting, and I never liked the fame. The paparazzi culture is more pervasive than it used to be, kind of: 'Let's watch the actor pump gas.' It's nice not to have to worry about bills, though.
It's a cliche that money doesn't buy you happiness, but it does buy you the freedom to live your life the way you want. Knock on wood, I've been very fortunate: I've been able to earn a really good living and start a charity foundation, which is nice.
ARE YOU A SHOPAHOLIC OR SHOP SHY?
I don't shop a lot, but I do like nice clothes and, I guess, if I have a look it is suits and T-shirts with casual boots. I like to have a suit that fits well. I wear Kiton, Costume National and Gucci once in a while.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Settling down. I am pretty nomadic. Staying in one place is hard for me. I've rented homes before and I've stayed in hotels - I was in a hotel for almost four years in the early Nineties - but the road has also been my home.
I was in Australia for 16 months doing The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded. I've made more than 40 films, so if you think that each of those take three to four months minimum, living in a trailer, it works out at quite a few years on the road!
WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
My bikes. I love British bikes and I'm a Norton man. I have a 1973 Norton Commando 850cc MkII Roadster, a 1972 Combat Norton Commando and a 1969 Norton Fastback. I also have a West Coast Chopper from Sandra Bullock's husband, motorbike builder, Jesse James. I got that for my 40th birthday.
I also bought a house recently. It's 'chateau modern', with two bedrooms, 13ft ceilings and oak floors. I'm kind of behind on furniture, though. I must get some.
At 44, I am so grateful to have my house and I enjoy it. You have a few more responsibilities, though, owning a home. There's no room service, no one makes your bed, no one does your laundry and when the pipe bursts, it is your problem. But it's fine, I've enjoyed it, it's a creative act.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF HEAVEN?
I love riding my bike through Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway. I also go to the Santa Monica Mountains. It is like losing myself, like playing a musical instrument or any other pastime that takes away regular cares and responsibilities.
ANYTHING YOU ARE TRYING TO GIVE UP?
Smoking. I didn't even start until I was 30. I got hooked making Feeling Minnesota and now it's a prison, but I want to stop.
DO YOU THINK YOU TAKE AFTER YOUR MOTHER?
Yes, my mother is the one who raised me - she is a very independent woman and she probably passed that on.
She is from Hampshire, she left England when she was very, very young - 14 or 15 - but she gave me some English manners. She taught me which side the fork went on the plate, but also there was the two-fingers attitude, an irreverence.
I love the irreverence and the word play of British humour and the social commentary. I was raised on The Two Ronnies and Monty Python.
WHAT WOULD SURPRISE US ABOUT YOU?
I read a lot. I have just finished Proust's A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu and John Updike's Rabbit novels. That was cool, reading literature looking at America over the past 40 years.
WHAT TURNS YOU ON?
Music, performing live. I don't have my band (Dogstar) any more, but I enjoyed the fraternity of playing with a band. I love the creative act of writing a song and I enjoy playing live. I like to be on the road.
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS?
I want the best for my friends and family, good work, a healthy relationship and some fun. My idea of fun? Spending time with friends, a little travelling, some good wine and a good book.
The Day The Earth Stood Still is out on Friday.