Star-directors Franco, Fiennes, Reeves say pulling double duty a tall task
by Nick Patch
(snipped for Keanu content)
Reeves realized that [simultaneously directing and acting in a film is very hard] on his first day of production for "Man of Tai Chi," an ebullient China-set martial-arts flick about an innocent bicycle courier and tai chi practitioner (Tiger Hu Chen) who is gradually lured to the dark side by a mysterious mogul (Reeves himself, in a villainous role).
The 49-year-old, who grew up in Toronto, was making his directorial debut. And it struck him early on that flourishing in both roles would require some serious dexterity.
"The first day was not fun," Reeves said earlier this week. "Because one is so objective and one is so subjective. As an actor, you only have your responsibility to your role within the whole, and the director has a responsibility to the whole and you in it. So it's a different mindset. And you're literally, physically, in two different spaces. You're either in front of the camera or behind the camera."
"It was definitely difficult the first day," he added. "It wasn't fun. We were also on time pressure the first day I had to do it. By the end of it, I didn't mind it."
And on whom did Reeves lean for constructive criticism?
"I have enough critics in my life," he joked, before saying that the film's writer, cinematographer, assistant director and producer all offered feedback.
"I think I asked you a couple times: 'How was that?"' he said, turning to his co-star Chen. "He was just like, 'no,' and I was like: 'OK, I'll do it again."'