Grazia (It), March 16, 2017

Keanu Reeves: The love I still do not know

(Translated from Italian by LucaM, translation edited by Anakin McFly)

by Armando Gallo

In life, he's lost the people dearest to him. In cinemas, he's back, after a long hiatus, to play a lone avenger. Keanu Reeves is the Hollywood actor who - most of all - has proven that he can rise again.

Keanu Reeves is over fifty, but age for him is just a detail. Besides, we too have lost count of how many "second youths" the American actor has lived.

The boy who pretended to play the guitar in the zany Bogus Journey became the FBI agent in cult classic Point Break, the enlightened Prince Siddhartha in Little Buddha, and Neo, the chosen one in The Matrix who wanted to liberate humanity from the dominion of the machines.

Keanu, off the set, has lived through painful experiences: between 2000 and 2001, he had to deal first with the stillbirth of his daughter Ava, born from his relationship with actress Jennifer Syme, and then Jennifer's death shortly after in a car accident.

While he could have disappeared, Keanu instead has come back with John Wick, the action film about a lonely avenger that relaunched his career. And now here we are talking about the sequel, John Wick - Chapter 2, in cinemas March 16, once again starring him, the actor who more than any other in Hollywood represents the ability to return; and whom in April we will also see in the legal drama The Whole Truth.

We are at The London West Hollywood Hotel - just a stone's throw away from the legendary block where shines the famous Whisky a Go Go, one of the birthplaces of American rock and roll. We thus begin the interview talking about music.

Keanu, you were in a band, Dogstar. Do you still play together?
We met again after a long time. We tried, we drank a bit of wine, tried to write a few songs, and then we realized we didn't have enough wine.

Is music still important to you? You even went to Italy, as a guest of the Sanremo Festival.
Of course I love it. Usually when I read a script, I do it with headphones on my head: melodies help me to hear the character better. Not all of them, however: for John Wick I didn't perceive music, just the sound of bullets and punching.

(Translator's note: A separate article from the same author included this quote from Keanu, responding to whether he listens to music while reading scripts or working: "Yeah, I have done that in the past. I haven’t really in a long time. Once in a while, I will have a certain kind of soundtrack for a role or listen to some music to get into a state of mind, to place your emotion or energy. With John Wick I have no music. I don’t know why, I don’t listen to music when I play him. In seeing the film I was really impressed with how Chad Stahelski, the composer plays with tone. The rock kind of aspect to it and the modern kind of operatic kind of aspect. He is really good with sound design and the sound design opportunities in John Wick are pretty big, the sounds of the guns and the ricochets and the music, everything is intentional to how you feel and the rhythm and the release of something, yeah!")

In America the film did very well, despite having to compete against that story of love and extreme sex, Fifty Shades of Grey. How do you explain that?
I believe what made it work was the code of honor of John Wick and the people he hangs out with: today, you do something for me, and I, one day, will do the same for you. No questions asked. It is a covenant of life and death, literally, and this keeps the tension high.

In the first film, John Wick turned into an avenger after a gangster killed his puppy, a gift from his departed wife. What happens this time?
John tries to recover the car that was stolen by the ones who killed his dog. But the car doesn't matter. What matters is that inside it is a letter that his wife wrote to him before her death. It's a way to not lose the thin thread that binds him to the love that's gone.

You shot many scenes in Rome. What impression did the city leave on you?
Roma, bella Roma, fantastica ("Roma, beautiful Roma, fantastic," he says in Italian.) I worked with Riccardo Scamarcio, Claudia Gerini and Franco Nero: we shot at the Baths of Caracalla, the Villa Borghese, while the city was still asleep and you could only see pigeons on the streets. I remember a beautiful, peaceful place.

There's even a scene where you prepare coffee for Scamarcio.
Fortunately, they didn't ask me to cook. That would have been too much even for an actor with a long career like mine.

We've known each other for 20 years, and today you seem happier and more relaxed than in the past. Is it love?
I think to receive love and to give love is really the nourishment in our lives, right? Certainly through the journey of life, that story of love changes, grows, takes roads you don't expect. Without it, it's like not having any water for the vine. Love is very important, but it also changes."

Have you found it?
Well, in the 984,000 versions of love, I have got a few thousand of them. But yeah, I am going to go super traditional. I am not married. I don't have children, so maybe that is something that I can respond to. Hopefully, I get lucky.

In your to-do list is there also "find a soul mate"?
That's been there for quite a while. I've put it both in the list of things to do and in the one of things to hope for. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to cross it off the list, sooner or later.

If I were you I wouldn't put myself down: for 52 years, you still have a great physique.
Those are my genes, but some credit also goes to the secret potions that I use.

Are you joking or are you a beauty products junkie?
I'm joking. For more than 10 years I've had a fantastic personal trainer. If she doesn't hear from me for too long, she brings me back on track.

At this age, do you have less will to build muscles?
Age is just a number that has little meaning, if you continue to get excited about the right projects and to hang out with people who love you for who you are and not for what you represent.

And this is where the elusive star appears. How do you want to be described instead, Keanu?
I was born in Lebanon, my mother was English, my father part Chinese, part Hawaiian, part American. I never went back there, since we left the country, and it's one of the things I most regret. I started acting in Toronto, Canada, who was 15, then left for Hollywood: the first person to help me get a part was one of my mother's ex-husbands. And now I live in Los Angeles: indeed, I live literally across the sidewalk. (He shows me a small house outside the hotel's windows). But the only ones who get to enter are those I want to.

(Translator's note: While relatively near, Keanu's house is not a small house nor visible from the London West Hollywood Hotel, neither is it literally across the sidewalk; something probably got lost in translation. The 'part American' phrasing is also weird, because Hawaiians are Americans, and Keanu's father was a Chinese-Hawaiian American.)

I know that you want to maintain your privacy, but doesn't it bother you that there are many people pretending to be you on Facebook?
I don't know what you're talking about. Are there really so many?

Yes, and they often post some good quotes, which may sound like you. Do you recognize yourself, for example, in that Latin phrase tattooed on the back of John Wick: "Fortis fortuna adiuvat", fortune favors the bold?
Not long ago I wrote the text for Shadows, artist Alexandra Grant's book. I really like the first page: "I was born twisted / I don't want to die."

Beautiful phrase. But back to John Wick: when you find yourself with your back against the wall, maybe like what happens to him, who do you call?
It depends: sometimes my family, other times friends, sometimes a lawyer. And some other times, the police.

In its original Italian:

Keanu Reeves: L’amore che ancora non conosco

Nella vita ha perso le persone che gli erano più care. Al cinema è tornato, dopo una lunga pausa, per interpretare un vendicatore solitario. Keanu Reeves è l’attore di Hollywood che più di tutti ha dimostrato di poter risorgere.

Keanu Reeves ha superato la cinquantina, ma l’età per lui è solo un dettaglio. E comunque anche noi abbiamo perso il conto di quante “seconde giovinezze” l’attore americano abbia vissuto.

Il ragazzo che faceva finta di suonare la chitarra nel demenziale Un mitico viaggio è diventato il poliziotto dell’Fbi nel cult Point Break, l’illuminato principe Siddhartha del Piccolo Buddha, o Neo, il prescelto che in Matrix voleva liberare l’umanità dal dominio delle macchine.

Keanu, fuori dal set ha vissuto esperienze dolorose: tra il 2000 e il 2001 ha dovuto affrontare prima la morte della figlia Ava, nata dalla relazione con l’attrice Jennifer Syme, poi anche quella della compagna, in seguito a un incidente stradale.

Poteva sparire, Keanu, invece è tornato con John Wick, il film d’azione sul vendicatore solitario che lo ha rilanciato. E ora eccoci a parlare del seguito, John Wick - Capitolo 2, nelle sale dal 16 marzo, ancora una volta protagonista lui, l’attore che a Hollywood rappresenta più di ogni altro la capacità di risorgere e che in aprile vedremo anche nel dramma legale Una doppia verità.

Siamo al London Hotel di West Hollywood, proprio a due passi dal leggendario isolato dove brilla il famoso Whisky a Go Go, uno dei locali del rock a stelle e strisce. Quindi, l’intervista comincia parlando di musica.

Keanu, lei aveva una band, i Dogstar: suonate ancora assieme?
«Ci siamo rivisti dopo tanto tempo. Abbiamo provato, abbiamo bevuto un po’ di vino, cercato di scrivere qualche canzone e poi abbiamo capito che il vino non sarebbe bastato».

La musica è sempre importante per lei? È venuto anche in Italia, ospite del Festival di Sanremo.
«Certo che la amo, di solito quando leggo un copione lo faccio con le cuffie in testa: le melodie mi aiutano a sentire meglio il personaggio. Non tutti, però: per John Wick non percepisco musica, ma solo il suono dei proiettili e dei pugni».

In America il film è andato molto bene, nonostante la concorrenza della storia di amore e sesso estremo Cinquanta sfumature di nero. Come se lo spiega?
«Credo funzioni il codice d’onore di John Wick e delle persone che frequenta: tu oggi fai una cosa per me e io, un giorno, farò altrettanto per te. Senza fare domande. È un patto di vita e di morte, letteralmente, e questo mantiene alta la tensione».

Nel primo film, John Wick si trasformava in vendicatore dopo che un malvivente gli uccideva la cagnolina, dono della moglie scomparsa. Stavolta che cosa succede?
«John cerca di riprendersi l’auto che gli è stata rubata dagli stessi che gli hanno ucciso il cane: ma la macchina non c’entra, è che dentro si trova una lettera che gli scrisse sua moglie prima di morire. È un modo per non perdere il filo sottile che lo lega all’amore che non c’è più».

Avete girato molte scene a Roma. Che cosa le è rimasto della città?
«Roma, bella Roma, fantastica», dice in italiano. «Ho lavorato al fianco di Riccardo Scamarcio, Claudia Gerini e Franco Nero: abbiamo girato alle Terme di Caracalla, a Villa Borghese, nella città ancora addormentata, quando in strada vedi solo i piccioni. Ricordo un luogo bellissimo e tranquillo».

C’è perfino una scena in cui lei prepara un caffè a Scamarcio.
«Per fortuna non mi hanno chiesto di cucinare. Quello sarebbe stato troppo anche per un attore con una carriera lunga come la mia».

Ci conosciamo da 20 anni e lei oggi sembra più felice e sereno che in passato. C’entra l’amore?
«Credo che darlo e riceverlo sia il vero nutrimento delle nostre vite, non è così? Certo, nel tempo, le storie cambiano, si evolvono, prendono strade che non ti aspetti: senza amore, non c’è acqua che possa far crescere gli alberi nel tuo giardino. L’amore è importantissimo, ma è anche mutevole».

Lei l’ha trovato?
«Diciamo che, tra le 984 mila manifestazioni diverse che può avere l’amore, io ne ho conosciute alcune migliaia. Ma, alla fine, non sono sposato, non ho figli, quindi in una visione del mondo più tradizionale, forse io dell’amore proprio non so niente».

Nella sua lista di cose da fare c’è anche la voce “trovare l’anima gemella”?
«Quella c’è da un bel po’: l’ho messa sia nella lista di cose da fare sia in quella di cose da sperare. Magari sarò fortunato e riuscirò a spuntarla, prima o poi».

Fossi in lei non mi butterei giù: per avere 52 anni, lei ha ancora un gran fisico.
«Quelli sono i miei geni, ma un po’ di merito ce l’hanno anche le pozioni segrete che uso».

Scherza o è un maniaco di prodotti di bellezza?
«Scherzo, da più di 10 anni ho una fantastica personal trainer che, se non mi faccio sentire per troppo tempo, mi richiama all’ordine».

Ha meno voglia di farsi i muscoli alla sua età?
«Gli anni sono solo un numero che ha poco significato, se continui a entusiasmarti per i giusti progetti e a frequentare persone che ti amano per quello che sei e non per quello che rappresenti».

E qui salta fuori la star schiva. Come vuole essere descritto, invece, Keanu?
«Sono nato in Libano, mia madre era inglese, mio padre un po’ cinese, un po’ hawaiano, un po’ americano. Non sono mai tornato lì, da quando abbiamo lasciato il Paese ed è una delle cose che più rimpiango. Ho cominciato a recitare a Toronto, in Canada, che avevo 15 anni, poi sono partito per Hollywood: il primo ad aiutarmi a ottenere una parte è stato uno degli ex mariti di mia madre. E ora vivo a Los Angeles: anzi, abito letteralmente dall’altra parte del marciapiede», (e mi indica una casetta fuori dalle finestre dell’hotel). «Ma lì entra solo chi voglio io».

So che tiene alla sua privacy, ma non le dà fastidio il fatto che su Facebook ci siano tanti che si spacciano per lei?
«Non so di che cosa sta parlando. Sono davvero così tanti?».

Sì, e spesso dicono anche delle belle frasi a effetto, che potrebbero sembrare le sue. Lei si riconosce, per esempio, in quella in latino tatuata sulla schiena di John Wick: “Fortis fortuna adiuvat”, la fortuna aiuta gli audaci?
«Non molto tempo fa ho scritto dei testi per Shadows (“ombre”, ndr), il libro dell’artista Alexandra Grant. Mi piace molto la prima pagina: “Sono nata diversa dagli altri e non voglio morire”».

Bella frase. Ma torniamo a John Wick, quando lei si trova con le spalle al muro, magari come succede a lui, chi chiama?
«Dipende: a volte la mia famiglia, altre gli amici, a volte un avvocato. Altre ancora, la polizia»

Article Focus:

John Wick: Chapter 2


John Wick: Chapter 2, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Point Break, Little Buddha, Matrix, The, Translated from Italian


Guest... lost in editing... (2017-09-21 00:32:59)
 I don't understand how exactly you "edited" the translation done by LucaM (who, by all means, is closer to italian than you are).
If by editing you mean "putting words in somebody's mouth", than knock yourself out.
Anyway, because the translation seemed somehow syncopated, I checked a part of the original article and (rolling eyes)... surprise.
I'll just go along with the fact that you replaced "there's no water to make the trees grow in your garden" with "not having any water for the vine".
But this paragraph is too twisted to let go (for anyone interested):

"Diciamo che, tra le 984 mila manifestazioni diverse che può avere l’amore, io ne ho conosciute alcune migliaia. Ma, alla fine, non sono sposato, non ho figli, quindi in una visione del mondo più tradizionale, forse io dell’amore proprio non so niente"
your site: "Well, in the 984,000 versions of love, I have got a few thousand of them. But yeah, I am going to go super traditional. I am not married. I don't have children, so maybe that is something that I can respond to. Hopefully, I get lucky."
what he REALLY meant: "Let's say that, among the 984 thousand different manifestation that love can take, I've known a few thousand. But, in the end, I'm not married, I have no children, so therefore, in a more traditional vision of the world, maybe I just don't know anything about love."


to 'guest' (2017-09-21 03:27:51)
 What Anakin did was to edit and correct the Italian-to-English translation I have done of that interview. The mistakes and misinterpretations are all mine.

About the paragraph which caught your attention: at first, I translated it as you did. But then I found an English version, Keanu's original words (one would hope), in another interview, very likely from the same day, and I suggested we use that instead, thinking it would be closer to what he REALLY said than an English to Italian then back to English translation.

As for where he is right now in love, Keanu answered, "Well in the 984,000 versions of love, I have got a few thousand of them. But yeah, I am going to go super traditional. I am not married. I don't have children, so maybe that is something that I can respond to. Hopefully, I get lucky."

As for the "there's no water to make the trees grow in your garden", the words used by Keanu in the same English interview were "Love is a force and it takes on different colors and takes on different responsibilities, commitment to the other. So without it, it’s like not having any water for the vine. We become extinct, we die."
(Now try to translate the 'not having any water for the vine' into Italian, see what you come up with.)

Hope this clarifies the "putting words in somebody's mouth" issue.

I never claimed to speak proper Italian, learned it by myself so the translations I attempt to do are mediocre attempts at best. Any (constructive) criticism and comments are welcome ;)

Anakin McFly
(2017-09-21 08:28:52)

I usually try not to get angry, but given that this is the second time someone has accused me of making up translations:

Translating these articles takes a lot of time and effort out of our already busy lives. Most of the time, none of us are native speakers and have to do the best we can with some help from Google Translate. Where possible, we try to find the original English sources. There was one for this, and so I replaced all the translated answers with Keanu's original English answers where those were available. Our objective is to always stay as close to the original text as much as we can discern it. If we just made it up it would take a hell lot less time and then I could go play Skyrim instead of slogging it out with online Italian dictionaries trying to figure out what a phrase meant. We spend hours trying to get this right.

LucaM is not a native English speaker, and she usually gives me her translations to revise for grammar and sentence structure so it flows better in English. That's the editing I do. I change things like "do not" to "don't". I never edit the meaning of the translation itself.

What motive could I possibly have? I don't always agree with everything Keanu says, but when he says those things I put them in anyway, because those are his words and my job is to get those words out as close to their original form as I can. If you think he didn't say those things, take it up with the interviewer and original translator.

Both LucaM and I spend a lot of time fighting against fake quotes from Keanu, reporting his fake social media pages and getting them removed; I was responsible for why Snopes now has a page clarifying that Keanu did not say some of the dubious things he's been accused of saying just because someone claiming to be him posted them on Facebook.

Making up fake quotes myself would go completely against what I personally stand for. I deplore dishonesty more than anything else. I hate that "alternative facts" now exist. I spend a chunk of my life as an activist specifically researching and debunking falsehoods and being angry that people keep inventing or twisting facts to serve an agenda. I would never do that myself. That isn't to say that I'm any sort of saint, but I've been accused before of being "pathologically honest", even when it hurts me, and I'm more likely to murder a puppy than to claim Keanu said something that to my knowledge he didn't.

I have no interest in what Keanu does in his love life and even less interest in making him seem more or less eager to get married than he actually is. I'm less of a romantic than he is. I'm a fan of Keanu, not of who I want Keanu to be. If you were the person who also commented on that other translated article ("Women are superior to me") with the same accusation, it was a tough one to translate precisely because a lot of those answers didn't sit well with me, but I was determined to do justice to the original text; so to then be accused of fabricating those answers because it made me happy or something was an added insult.

That said, if you're good with Italian, we always more than welcome extra translators on board.

No! Not the puppy! (2017-09-27 18:59:37)
 Otherwise John Wick will be coming for you, Anakin!

Just let them talk, there are always people on the side who think they know better. I've tried translating articles in the past, and it's a tough job, both for grammar and meaning.

But thanks for explaining how you two work. I really appreciate it. Google still messes things up badly, so it's nice to read a coherent story in english. I hope 'guest' will help with the italian translations.

I check in now and then, thinking this time the site will have died, so pleased to see it still alive after so many years. Keep up the good work and "keep being awesome" Anakin, LucaM and all the others contributing.

Just one complaint (2017-09-28 05:58:45)
 It is really, REALLY time for a new dinosaur, Ani! :-D
GuestOther Guest (2017-10-02 11:30:28)
 We do appreciate all of the work you both put in.
Thank you!
Anakin McFly
(2017-10-05 23:37:02)

@SaneSun - hahaha yes. Thanks for the reminder! :D I'll get to that... eventually.
Guestwe appreciate both of you a lot (2017-10-08 20:17:25)
 Both of you are so vital to this fandom
Thank you so much for your untiring dedication and effort!
(2017-10-08 20:34:51)
 awww, thank you :)

I know my translations are flawed, but I'm trying my best :)

Anakin McFly
(2017-10-09 12:25:50)

thanks. :)
(2017-10-16 10:43:08)
 Coming here for the express purpose of dumping on Anakin's and LucaM's excellent and much-appreciated translations just sucks. If you feel compelled to do that, please just f<€k right off now. Thanks for nuthin.
Taluthah (2017-10-31 02:18:17)
 Luca did great German - English translations. I'm a native German speaker so I think I can voice my opinion regarding this.

I hate translating, it takes efforts to do it and guts to decide which possible translation fits best.

I really appreciate your work and so I want to say big THANK YOU.

(2017-11-01 23:37:27)
 the German-English translations were done by my sister (teacher and authorized translator), so the praise goes to her :)

but yeah... it does take all that...

it's always tricky to translate back into English interviews which have been previously translated from the original English into whichever language, because then I go 'hmmm... how did Keanu phrase this?' he's got his own speech mannerisms...

(2017-11-29 15:19:36)
 Thanks Luca for checking that there was an original English version of this interview because at first when reading the Italian text I was also going "wait, this is not correct" but then it made me think and I realised Keanu for sure did not respond in Italian... doing these back translations is always fun and I really appreciate you checking the sources :)
(2017-11-30 02:14:01)
 yeah, it's always fun to translate back into English something which was translated from the original English into another language because there's always the 'hmmmm.... wonder how that was really worded in the first place'. So I always try to compare with original English texts, if they can be found...
Thanks for the kind words :)
Guestreincarnation (2018-03-18 06:14:28)
 Primarily in western culture today we seem to have an obsession with a very linear material view of things. Despite our complete lack of understanding regarding our origin and ultimate goal. What of transmigration of the soul do we have proofs for its veracity or is a subject reserved for gnostics and legends?
It seems many wise thinkers took the matter seriously. Pythagoras spoke of a myriad of wandering souls through eons, and in an another age Krishna the true nature of our soul journey, a cycle of birth, death and rebirth, a return in various images.
Bhagavad-Gita 2 ‘ As a man discards his threadbare robes and puts on new, so the Spirit throws off Its worn- out bodies and takes fresh ones…….Even if thou thinkest of It as constantly being born, constantly dying, even then, O Mighty Man, thou still hast no cause to grieve’.
Jesus pbuh mentioned ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.“ – Ecclesiastes 1:4 9
“Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3
Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for
joy. For your dew is a dew of light and the earth will give birth to the dead, and (isaiah 26:19)

Secrets Of Imam Mahdi: Images Of The Soul as EXCLUSIVELY revealed by Black Banners of East Satellite Channel!!

You need to be a member to leave comments. Please login or register.