Keanu Reeves on "Generation Um" and New Projects
(Translated from German to English by LucaM's sister. Translation slightly edited by Anakin McFly)
“Threesome. Eine Nacht in New York“ (“Threesome. One Night in New York”) is a sensitive drama about night-time excesses, about the yearning for bourgeois/middle-class life and about the awareness of life of a generation living the modern city life. Leading actor Keanu Reeves spoke in an interview for DPA News Agency about the film and his current projects:
Mr. Reeves, do you still like cupcakes? How difficult was it to reveal John's life in one scene where he is eating this cupcake?
Reeves: The scene with the cupcake was a wonderful opportunity. You don’t often have the chance to spend so much time on only one action and to have time to observe a character for so long in this way. That is why this made me very happy and I had a lot of fun revealing John like this.
What fascinated you when you first read the script of “Threesome”? What was your first thought about the story of Mia and Violet and John?
Reeves: I thought it was a very beautiful script by Mark L. Mann and I could put myself very well into the position of the characters: it was this idea of closeness and intimacy; one accompanies the characters for a day and a night and I found this to be very charming and courageous.
Even before John himself takes the camera he is often being filmed with an unsteady hand camera. In your opinion, what role does the hand camera play? Why is it suitable for John in “Threesome“?
Reeves: John, who works for the two women, steals a video camera and starts interviewing the women, spends time with them and at their place. They reveal themselves during these serious discussions and I think it was the intension of the director to show us John, to show us what he is interested in and to learn more about John. (...) Violet takes everything as a TV- show and for Mia it represents a confession of intimate things, about which we do not know, whether they are true or not. (…) and the video camera, which John uses, allows us a particular closeness to the actors.
The film was released in the USA with the title “Generation Um“. In Germany it was released under the title “Threesome. One night in New York”. Which title better suits the film and the story that is being told?
Reeves: Surely “Generation Um”.
Reeves: New York plays a very important role in the movie. I think “Generation Um”, the story is very humane. "Threesome" can function very well outside New York, but what I mean is that the connotation of the concept can be misleading and the title “Generation Um” is more open.
What is, in your opinion, the main characteristic of the Um Generation; what distinguishes it? And: is it strongly represented in the USA; did you encounter it in other countries?
Reeves: You see, (...) I believe it is universal: the movie shows people which are to a certain point cut off from their own past, and asks questions about closeness, and trust, and these are themes which are for many people very real. (…) I think many people can identify with this.
Which is in your opinion the stronger of the two women, Violet or Mia? Which is more vulnerable?
Reeves: I think they are equally strong.
John‘s camera, the movie within the movie, is important for "Threesome". Mutual trust emerges. In the closing credits, the "Threesome" becomes a foursome. Maybe this is a question for the director, but why does this happen in the closing credits and not during the film itself?
Reeves: I think the scene is very well placed. We see these people in the “last scene”, which shows a lot of pain and vulnerability, but also great hope. John is considerate. And then we see the closing credits, how they have rediscovered themselves a little, a kind of friendship in the way they handle each other, especially in comparison with the first scene. (…) I found it very charming for the director to have placed this scene in the closing credits (…) and it was the only scene that was not in the script and we were able to improvise. From the narrative point of view, “Threesome” is a unmistakable/distinctive movie, very powerful and unique.
Mr. Reeves, what projects are you working on at the moment?
Reeves: I am close to finishing the postproduction of "Man of Tai Chi", a contemporary, modern Kung-Fu movie, in which I have played and directed. I hope to be done in the next 8 weeks. “47 Ronin” will probably be released in October, November or December.
Do you already have a premiere date for “Man of Tai Chi”?
Reeves: No, we do not have a premiere date for the moment.
This year the Berlinale was opened by Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster”, a portrait of Ip Man and Wing Chun Kung Fu. Some critics found the movie over-aestheticised. You are producing and directing “Man of Tai Chi”. What is the story of the movie and which martial arts concept are you following?
Reeves: I wanted, of course, to present the Tai Chi fighting technique, but also its spiritual side. In order to make money for his temple, this young man has to participate in illegal fights. The more he fights, the stronger he gets. The dark side of his Chi becomes stronger and stronger, the more he gets involved in the search for success by means of his own violence. With the fighting scenes I wanted to show how powerful and also beautiful Tai Chi can be, (...) and cinematically it should by no means amount to a fight between the good and the bad guy.
And you are playing the bad guy?
Reeves: Yes, I am playing the bad guy, the villain; I am the teacher, the master of the dark Chi.