Keanu Reeves Talks Screen Violence, Bill & Ted 3 and John Wick: Parabellum
by Samuel R. Murrian
Keanu Reeves’ popularity as an action star shot back into the stratosphere in the wake of 2014’s sleeper hit John Wick. His portrayal of an untouchable, relentless hitman who has a soft spot for dogs instantly became an icon of the genre. In 2017, John Wick 2 made nearly twice as much as the first one at the box office, and now all eyes are on the third entry, John Wick 3: Parabellum. It’s currently filming with a slated May 2019 release date.
Nearly three decades after Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the recently announced Bill & Ted Face the Music also has Reeves’ fans feeling giddy. The spirit of the lovable, positive-thinking metalheads is highly appealing right now.
Reeves’ latest picture is Siberia, a romantic thriller in which he plays Lucas Hill, a diamond merchant who falls in love as he’s caught in the crossfire of federal agents and a lawless buyer. The film is directed by Matthew Ross and co-stars Molly Ringwald, Ana Ularu, Pasha D. Lychnikoff and Dmitry Chepovetsky.
Parade spoke with Reeves about Siberia, screen violence and two highly anticipated third installments.
What attracted you to the script of Siberia?
I liked Lucas Hill, and I like that this is a romantic tragedy. I like that the character is operating in a dark world where he’s used to making deals to keep things together, but it’s not working out. I like that he fell in love, but the circumstances of his life get in the way. The theme of the film is very Shakespearean to me – there’s this impossible love and connection. I like the humor of the piece, too.
Siberia is about the dangerous underworld of the diamond trade. What did you learn about it in making the film?
Siberia is looking at the diamond trade and the movement of wealth – like, why do you want to buy $50 million worth of diamonds? Well, you can trade them! You can move currency, you can put it in your pocket and you don’t need a bank. It’s kind of like art. I think they have something in common – definitely an impact on the Earth and our lives, but definitely in the underworld they seem to have a kind of black market. Yet, they’re so beautiful. You hear Lucas speak about them – he’s trying to move these blue diamonds, and he’s talking about real ones, fake ones, what’s the truth, what’s the answer. I found all of the obstructions entertaining: all of the people involved – why do they love diamonds? Why are they used?
Did you know Molly Ringwald before making this film?
No, I hadn’t met her; she’s a friend of Matthew. She’s a lovely person.
There is gunplay in Siberia, and of course the John Wick pictures. The topic of violence onscreen is receiving a lot of attention lately. What is your take?
It’s a very sophisticated, complex question. I heard Joe Rogan say something really interesting – that this is more of a mental health issue. Speaking on John Wick or other films I’ve been involved in, like Point Break, there is such a fantasy element to it.
How do you center yourself and find peace? Do you meditate?
I don’t. When I’m not working – I spend time with friends, look for other creative opportunities – keep it simple [laughs] have some dinners, ride a motorcycle, read some books, go to movies and concerts.
It’s hard to overstate how excited we are for Bill & Ted Face the Music. What can you tell us about Ted Theodore Logan at 50 – has he changed?
Wow, that’s kind. Well, the fellows were burdened with the idea of writing a song that would save the world. The idea for the next one is that the future comes and tells them they’re not just responsible for the world, but for the universe. The pressure of writing this song has impacted their lives in the sense that they’re completely focused on writing on it – so their marriages are, if not in trouble, at least stressed. Ted’s a father now. I think he’s still a forever optimist in the face of any kind of challenge and circumstance. That’s why I love the characters – their positive, can-do reaction to stuff. That’s alive and well in this story.
The first John Wick was a fantastic action film and the second one was even better. Are you feeling pressure to make John Wick 3: Parabellum the best one yet?
Of course! It’s a grateful challenge to have. I love the character, and we’re looking to open up the world more: The Continental, the High Table and we have new characters. The action is off the – it’s amazing; there’s all different kinds of action. Also, the films have a heart to them and emotion. They’re kind of delightful. I love the characters, who they are and how they are. Hopefully we’ll do a good job and people will like it.