Keanu Reeves opens up, from ‘John Wick’ to ‘Swedish Dicks’
by Ruben V. Nepales
LOS ANGELES—Over the years that we’ve interviewed Keanu Reeves, he has transformed from being shy, reticent and serious to a more open, convivial interviewee.
One thing that has remained constant, though, is that Keanu, at 52, still looks young. The actor attributed it to “heritage, genes.” His father’s roots are Chinese and Hawaiian while his mom is English. He added with a smile, “I need more potions and lotions but I think that I have put this carcass through a lot.”
“I live down the street,” replied Keanu, dressed in his favorite suit and T-shirt attire combination, when asked where his home was. We were at The London West Hollywood hotel. “I am serious. I live in West Hollywood. It’s a nice house. There’s a nice view. It’s kind of small—there’s a couple of rooms.”
Keanu returns to the titular hitman role in “John Wick: Chapter 2,” a sequel to the moody thriller which became a huge global hit. Chad Stahelski, who was Keanu’s stunt double in “The Matrix,” is also back to direct the film, which finds the assassin protagonist returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt. But John Wick finds that a bounty has been put on his life.
Laurence Fishburne, Bridget Moynahan, Common, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane and Peter Stormare costar.
“The Matrix” star also talked about how Peter got him involved in “Swedish Dicks,” a comedy web TV series about two unlicensed Nordic private investigators trying to make a living in Los Angeles.
Keanu will also be back as Ted in the next installment of the “Bill & Ted Project” movie series.
Excerpts from our chat:
What do you do to keep looking young? I get out of the shower. I moisturize—a little face cream, a little body cream and call it a day. I like to eat and drink but that has to stop. I have a wonderful trainer whom I have worked with for decades. She will call me or send me a message and just say, “I haven’t seen you in a while.” So I will jump into that.
What do you like to drink? I love a cold glass of water when [I’m] thirsty. That is heaven. If I have to pick something outside of that, it would be red wine and whisky.
What’s your red wine pick? Off the top of my head, I would take a 1982 Oberon.
You’re a global star, recognized all over the world. Yet, you have managed to lead a very private life. I don’t get out much (laughs). I am at home or working or studying…
What has been your experience with fame? Ultimately, my experience has been really cool. Some of the work that I have been a part of has been well-received by an audience. So that’s where fame hits me the most, in the sense… [that] if I am out in the world, I am meeting people, shaking hands, saying hi and maybe signing autographs and perhaps posing for photos.
Then business-wise, it’s cool just to have other artists who want to work with me sometimes. It affords some opportunity to be able to create and do what I do.
As fascinating as John Wick’s world is, it’s ultimately about his relationship to his dog and car. In a strange way, John Wick feels more connection with those than with humans. Yeah. So the film takes place about five days after the first one. It opens with him trying to get his car back. It ultimately is not about the car. It’s about the letter and a photograph from his deceased wife that are inside the car.
At the end of the first film, he connects with this other hound and walks away into the sunset. That element is keeping him connected to the world, and in a way, keeps a connection with his wife…
In real life, are you also sentimental about letters and people? Yeah, I am pretty normal in that sense. I definitely hold on to letters, cards and tokens or gifts that were given in connection with holidays or events. So I have some boxes of photographs and letters. There are times when I open them up and look at them.
There’s this interesting scene with you in the kitchen. How good are you in the kitchen in real life? I don’t cook. I am confident in the kitchen eating (laughs). If I am a houseguest, I would be happy to help you with the dishes.
I didn’t know how to operate that coffeemaker (in the scene). So I spent some time training (laughs). I made sure that it looked natural. So now, I can make coffee.
You cofounded a company that makes one-of-a-kind motorcycles. Do you drive yours to travel around the world? Yeah. We make one model but each motorcycle is customized to the customer—how it looks, the different finishes and colors. We fit the motorcycle to the client—the length of their arms, what kind of riding style, their height and foot position and controls.
As for taking motorcycle trips, sure. In France I got to ride Route Napoleon, which was amazing. On my list of regrets, I haven’t done all of the rides that I want to do but hopefully, someday. I have had the chance to ride in Northern Australia and the United States. But I still haven’t done the classic ride through Italy, Spain and South America.
There are so many rides that I didn’t get the chance to do. I am so old that my list of regrets is turning into a bucket list (laughs). It started out [as] things I hoped to do, then [became] the list of regrets, and now, the bucket list.
Let’s talk about “Swedish Dicks.” How and why did you end up in that TV series? Peter Stormare is an actor whom I have worked with before in a film called “Constantine.” And actually, Peter is in “John Wick: Chapter 2.” We happen to train in the same neighborhood gym. I see him oftentimes in the morning. So it’s actually where “John Wick 2” came in, too, because he liked the first film. He was like, “Is there anything that I could do?” I was like, “By the way…”
So Chad Stahelski, the director, contacted Peter. That same kind of social interaction happened with “Swedish Dicks.” Peter produced a series in Sweden called “Swedish Dicks.” He was talking about it. I have such respect for him as an artist. He is a really cool cat. So I was like, “Can I do anything?”
He told me the show’s premise. I was interested in doing some comedy. He said, “OK, that could be a good idea.” Then we started to creatively riff. He was on the exercise machine and I was standing there. I was like, “OK, I want to play this character.”
He was like, “OK, that’s good.” Then I was like, “But you have to kill me.” He was like, “Yeah, that sounds good.” I believe I am in five episodes. I play Tex. It was really cool.
Back to the film, the ending sets up “Chapter 3” very well. What’s the story on that? That is really up to the audience. From my and the filmmakers’ point of view, everyone involved would love to be able to continue the story. I love the character and the world that it created. I want to know what happens to John Wick. I am rooting for the guy. He has a lot going against him.
It’s fun to think about the possibilities where the story can go. As the director likes to say, “There are no rules with rules.”
Can you ask for a love interest? Yeah, that has been spoken about.