Keanu Reeves: Acting is a universal language
(Translated from German by Anakin McFly using Google Translate)
He was the cool cop in the action blockbuster Speed and became a definitive cinema hero with the Matrix films. In recent years, however, Keanu Reeves (49) has been pretty quiet. In an interview with the news agency DPA in Munich, the actor, who is now back to playing the lead in a major motion picture, tells us why.
Q: You acted in a samurai movie, 47 Ronin, and your directorial debut - also coming to theatres this year - is Man of Tai Chi. You seem to be fascinated with Asian martial arts.
A: Yes, it seems like it, doesn't it? It wasn't something I planned, but every since I was a kid I've been around so much Asian culture, and that attracted me. I watched kung fu movies and samurai movies, I love the cuisine, I'm interested in Confucius, Zen and so on.
Q: In 47 Ronin you play the underdog Kai. What attracted you to the role?
A: What intrigued me about Kai were his sorrow and his love. He was abandoned by his mother, never knew his father, and then was raised by these mysterious monks to whom he doesn't want to belong. He flees, is captured, and falls in love with the princess. He must always fight, but he is an honourable guy who respects other people even if they look down on him. He has a lot of compassion, and that impossible love for which he has to fight. There was so much to act and think about.
Q: We haven't seen you in a major film for a long time. Why?
A: I'm not exactly sure. It's probably a combination of wanting to find the right material and the fact that the studios didn't really have projects for me. And I was gone for half a year doing Man of Tai Chi in China.
Q: You worked with Japanese actors in 47 Ronin. How was the experience, and how did you communicate?
A: With a translator and with English - and also through the performance. Acting is a universal language. In fact, the biggest difference was the lunches. I have a lot of understanding with my co-star Hiroyuki Sanada. He taught me a lot about Japanese culture and behaviour, and that relationship dynamic was also good for the role. They all accepted me, but I don't speak Japanese and was therefore a bit of an outsider.
Q: Is it harder to do action scenes now that you're almost 50 years old?
A: No, because what one loses in energy, one gains in craft and effectiveness.