Keanu to party on 20 years later, dude
by Kevin Williamson
Excellent news, Bill and Ted fans.
A cheerful, scruffily-bearded Keanu Reeves sounds perfectly willing to party on as a middle-aged air-guitarist in another, much-belated Bill and Ted sequel.
After all, with so many other 1980s franchises being brought out of cold storage, why not the metalheads embodied by Reeves and Alex Winter? Talk of a third episode has been around for years. And Reeves is well aware how the characters have endured since 1991's first sequel, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.
"I know, I know! We've spoken about (a sequel). But should we do that?" Reeves asks during an interview in a downtown Toronto hotel. "It's been fun for me every once and awhile, because I'm of the age now, where (the fans are showing it to their kids.
"If they come up with a good script and there's a worthwhile story, it would be fun to play him at 50."
As for sequel scenarios, Reeves suggests one possibility. "They were thinking that the pressure of having to write the perfect song to save the world has driven (Bill and Ted) crazy. But now they've got kids and they've kind of missed out on raising their kids because they've been trying to write the perfect song that's really going to save the world."
That Reeves, 46, should be so open to reprising his breakthrough - some might argue signature - role illustrates both his lack of pretension as well as a sincere willingness to experiment.
Granted, he's best known for such big-budget thrillers as The Matrix and Speed, but Reeves has consistently divided his time between Hollywood fare and independent productions. His recent credits include Thumbsucker, A Scanner Darkly, Street Kings and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. "I've always been hoping to make different kinds of films."
Case in point: the romantic caper Henry's Crime, which he both starred in and produced, and which premieres at this year's Toronto film festival. "Producing is a creative thing as well. I'm drawn to the finances and making the deal. But I'm also drawn to the physical production - you know, making the movie, getting the cables and trucks and camera and lights and actors."
Not that this signals a loss of interest in acting - though he expects to produce films in which he doesn't appear. "I'd like to be able to find material and hand it off. At the same time I'm developing stories for me, find material and help other filmmakers get money and make movies."
In Henry's Crime, Reeves portrays a sad-sack, rudderless toll-booth employee unwittingly caught up in a foiled bank robbery. Although he's innocent, rather than surrender the names of the actual culprits, he allows himself to be convicted and jailed for three years. Once out of prison, he conspires to steal from the same bank he was accused of robbing since, he reasons, he already served his sentence for the crime. Alongside Reeves, the cast includes James Caan, Vera Farmiga, Judy Greer and Fisher Stevens. But what was it about Henry - a late bloomer and downtrodden "every man" who spends the first half of his life aimlessly - that attracted Reeves, who has been on a trajectory towards movie stardom since he was a teen?
"There's something about him," he says, remarking on "Henry's wanting to search."
He is somewhat more succinct - and less abstract - about how producing a film compares to just acting in one.
"It's a different kind of begging. You're an artist - you're always begging. But it's a nice kind of begging."