Keanu Reeves: "I'm just a guy from the Star Wars generation"
(Translated from French by Karamelle, translation edited by Anakin McFly)
Keanu Reeves is back in great shape with two films under his belt: 47 Ronin in theaters Wednesday and Man of Tai Chi the April 30. While in Paris, the actor spoke about these two very personal projects.
Two martial arts films in the same year ... Where does this passion come from?
Definitely my childhood. I watched a bunch of movies about kung-fu, about fighting... I always loved action and adventure movies. At that time, I wanted to go into space, fight, do stuff like this (he gestures in a vacuum and laughs). But I've never really been a fan of heroes in particular. I'm just a guy from the Star Wars and Excalibur generation.
In 47 Ronin you play Kai, a half-blood taken by samurai. What attracted you to this project?
His ambition. I'm very attracted to stories of honor and sacrifice, against the backdrop of an impossible love. It's a little like Romeo and Juliet. My character wants to connect to a group, and by extension the world. He wants to change his life and doesn't always control things. He has to fight against the prejudices imposed on him. This makes him a universal man with modern concerns where things are never won beforehand. I recognize myself in his state of mind.
Man of Tai Chi marks your first time behind the camera. Was it a way to reconnect to your Asian roots?
To be honest, I haven't looked at it that way. That said, when in China, I was surprised to be so comfortable. I felt good, and I don't know if that had something to do with the Chinese blood flowing in my veins. I wasn't really trying, as you say, to delve into a part of who I am. (He thinks) I've always been attracted to the East: their haikus, books, Buddhism, philosophy, the quest for understanding the energies that constitute the body...
Why did you wait so long before directing?
I've been in the business for a while now. It's very simple: I arrived at the age when I wanted to do it. Develop a story, film it. And there I worked in excellent conditions for our 100 days of shooting. It allowed me to tweak the combat sequences and translate them onto the screen through different techniques. I really hope to be able to repeat this experience.
Unlike 47 Ronin, you play a villain in Man of Tai Chi who organizes fights to the death. And that's rare with you!
Isn't it? (laughs) I loved it. Villains are great to play because they know what they want. They have little or no hesitation. They're the kind who shout: "I want!" (he does a pout).
Do you practice a martial art in real life?
Absolutely not. I only know movie kung fu and it takes a lot of training beforehand. I've experienced the action. When I was younger, I did a lot of sport. But not anymore. In the movies, I love the physical acting of, say, Harrison Ford. Tom Cruise is like that too. He can jump and run for a long time (laughs).
A new Matrix trilogy is being developed and there's a remake of Point Break in preparation. What do you think?
I haven't heard anything about the Matrix. It's funny... (thinking) For Point Break, it's not so much a remake as a reinvention. It'll be a different story with an old title. I wish them good luck.