Keanu Reeves charms the Woodstock Film Festival
by John W. Barry
Actor Keanu Reeves charmed a sold-out crowd at Upstate Films in Woodstock Saturday, during a question-and-answer session that followed the screening of "Henry's Crime," a film in which he starred.
Reeves was engaging, funny, humble and thoughtful while taking questions from the audience during the fourth day of the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival, which concludes today. Reeves Saturday night, after his appearance in Woodstock, received the film festival's Honorary Excellence in Acting Award at the film festival's awards ceremony in Kingston.
"Henry's Crime" is about a man named Henry Smith who is framed in a bank robbery, then actually robs the bank upon his release from prison. Smith takes a role in a play because the theater is adjacent to a bank, with an old tunnel from the days of prohibition connecting the two buildings. Ulster County resident Vera Farmiga played opposite Reeves.
Reeves was hilarious, recalling his lips freezing in 12-degree weather while filming a scene at Niagara Falls. And after explaining his hopes for the film landing a distribution deal, a member of the audience said "good luck," to which Reeves responded, "what do you mean by that? I hope you mean that in a good way."
Reeves said he contributed to the script, in addition to acting in the lead role. He liked the "preposterous" situations that unfolded in the film, and likened them to the filmmakers asking the audience to believe in them.
"I called them 'asks,' 'come on with us, in this crazy situation,' " he said.
James Caan, who starred with Reeves, improvised lines during the filming, Reeves said. Caan, Reeves continued, "is a piece of work. And I mean that in a great way."
"He's a force of nature," Reeves said of Caan.
And then he joked, ""I probably wouldn't have said anything if he was here, actually."
Then Reeves turned serious about Caan.
"He's full of wonderful stories," Reeves said. "He brought such life to the set. He and Vera got along realy well."
And then came another joke: "He didn't have much fun with me."
"He really believes in a sense of camaraderie and easiness to the work," Reeves said. "And as long as you agree with him, everything is fine."
Caption: Keanu Reeves at the Woodstock Film Festival Saturday, taking questions from the audience following a screening of his new movie, "Henry's Crime," at Upstate Films in Woodstock. (John W. Barry/Poughkeepsie Journal)