Keanu Reeves In 'Generation Um...': Exclusive Clip And Interview
by Kevin P. Sullivan
Keanu Reeves may be best known for his wire-fighting kung fu moves, but for the past few years, the "Matrix" star has taken on smaller, quieter projects, the most recent of which, "generation Um..." opens in theaters on May 3.
(snipped for Keanu interview content; clip can be viewed here at the original article)
How did you get involved with "generation Um..."?
I was working on a film, and one of the people I was working with had a script. I said, "I will read it." It was "generation Um..." and I really liked it. It turned out that they had developed it with the writer, Mark L. Mann, and I said, "Let's go make this movie." So we went off to create "generation Um...."
I would imagine the script was pretty sparse. What was in that won you over?
One of the things that did hit me was the dialogue, the characters themselves, and the relationships that they had to each other, how their relationships evolve. To me, it was these three people who were connected, but also very separate. For me, I felt it was an exploration of breakthrough into a hard-earned intimacy, the beginning of a friendship. I thought that the script had a kind of elegance to it.
The title implies that these are generational themes. How did you connect with the stories?
Personally, it struck me to the taste. I hope that this individual story has universal themes to it, especially western cities. There is a generational aspect to it. It's a young lady in her 20s, a young lady in her 30s, and a gentleman who just turned 40. For me, I would just say that the writing and the situation, what happens in the script and the story that we're trying to tell was just to my taste, which I guess was born from my life experiences.
You actually got to film on the streets on New York City? What was it
like being out there with a camera? Those were some really fun shooting days. One of the ambitions of the film is a kind of verite and strict formalism. For me, shooting on the street, Super 16, kind of making it up, but also having a strong idea of what we wanted to get out there. John walks through the city streets. What does he see? What does he look at? We get to know John by this attention to the character, him, and also attention to what John pays attention to. How do the city streets affect him? How do they affect us? In terms of just hitting the streets with a camera and walking the world, that's fun filmmaking.
Did you have to dumb-down your shooting skills in a sense? I can't imagine John knows how to shoot like Keanu.
Absolutely, but John is talented. He's a natural. He's got a taste, an aesthetic sense. He pays attention to head room and keeping the camera stable. I think, for me, one side if I'm listening to one character and another character speaks, it's like when do you pan over? When do you zoom in? When do you not pan over is a decision as well. What is John's focus? On the actor's side of it, this is a moment for the other character, let's pick back.