Destination Wedding: Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder have a love-fest on screen and off
by Maureen Lee Lenker
Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves had precisely one reason for wanting to make Destination Wedding: each other.
The actors mark their third onscreen pairing — following 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and 2006’s A Scanner Darkly — with an offbeat romantic comedy that finds them portraying two misanthropes, Frank and Lindsay, who gradually move from mutual dislike to love as they bond over their shared hatred of weddings and just about everything else in the world.
“I wish I could do every movie with him,” Ryder tells EW, while Reeves adds, “We love each other.”
The two had a love-fest both on screen and off, raving about each other and getting the chance to work together again in a wide-ranging conversation with EW that often found them finishing each other’s sentences. If we couldn’t already feel the love, during the course of the interview, Ryder even revealed that the two might be married in the eyes of the church, thanks to a key scene in Dracula.
Destination Wedding hits theaters Aug. 31, but before catching this classic pairing on screen, let’s check in with Ryder and Reeves on their experiences making the film together.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Neither of you have really done many rom-coms in your career. Why was now the perfect time, and why this one?
KEANU REEVES: I was really looking forward to working with Winona again. I like me a good rom-com, and the script was fantastic. I haven’t had the chance to do it that often, but I was really excited about the opportunity to fall in love.
WINONA RYDER: Aw, you literally just said what I was going to say. Can I just concur? The biggest thing for me was the opportunity to get to work with Keanu again. It was a very surprising script in that it doesn’t really have the tropes that a lot of romantic comedies do. In a strange way, it’s kind of for grown-ups. It’s refreshing and sort of a challenge. It was a special time. Any time with Keanu is a special time for me.
This is your third movie together. What’s so special about your working relationship, and was doing the project contingent on the other’s casting?
RYDER: Yes. It’s unimaginable without Keanu. Completely. There is something to [the fact] that we’ve known each other for so long. We started out at the same time. For me, he’s one of my favorite people to be around and to work with. I knew the movie wouldn’t work unless…
REEVES: We had a rapport.
RYDER: The chemistry. [Laughs] It was great because there’s a real trust and he’s constantly surprising me, and I also just feel completely protected. [It’s] the feeling of someone’s really got your back and you can try anything. There’s not a lot of people that have that sort of quality.
REEVES: That sounds good.
RYDER: Let me just say, Keanu is my dream.
REEVES: Oh my God.
RYDER: I wish I could do every movie with him. I’m totally serious, and I really mean that.
REEVES: Having known each other for so long, with that is also the rapport, the trust. We have a mutual outlook on the world. In terms of working together, we’re cut from the same cloth. There is that trust; there is that facility. There is the [feeling of] let’s just roll up our sleeves. We know each other, we love each other, we’re fans of each other’s. Let’s go play.
RYDER: Exactly. There’s just nobody I would rather be in the trenches with. Really.
You’ve both played your fair amount of rebels and outcasts in your career. Do you see Frank and Lindsay’s as extensions of that — maybe slightly more realistic versions?
REEVES: They are outsiders looking in.… It’s a different version of love at first sight.
RYDER: There is that sense of they’re both probably very sensitive people, but they’ve built up this wall from getting hurt and whatever. They find this mutual…
You have a lot of funny, idiosyncratic moments together, from getting a foot massage to enjoying wine and a movie in a hotel room to sharing tiny planes and shuttle rides. Was there one of those you enjoyed filming most?
RYDER: I really liked the scene where we’re on the bed talking, because we weren’t outside melting in the sun. It was more physically comfortable.
REEVES: You loved it because of the air conditioning?!
RYDER: No! No, no, no. There was something I loved about that scene.
REEVES: It was the air conditioning.
RYDER: I thought we were going to be playing it all cuddly and kissy, and I was like, damn. [Laughs] Also, it’s funny because they are literally objectifying each other and then talking about how they are objectifying each other. I thought that was a nice scene, but all of the scenes were great because they were with him.
Keanu, you face down a mountain lion in one scene. What was the reality of filming that scene like?
REEVES: We had to do some acting. They wouldn’t let us near the mountain lion.
RYDER: He wasn’t there.
REEVES: Winona and I filmed the scene pretending there was a mountain lion. I think they gave us a C-stand to look at with a piece of tape, so we both have vivid imaginations, and it was pleasurable to pretend to be scared out of our wits.
RYDER: But also me just rambling.
REEVES: Yeah, but you were rambling through most of it.
RYDER: I don’t know if you can train [a mountain lion]. I remember hearing in Bringing Up Baby that Katharine Hepburn had to wear food on her hemline for the lion to follow her.
Keanu, You also do this weird thing with your throat throughout, but it’s really never explained. Where did that come from? Is it something you developed, or was it in the script?
REEVES: The character was written with tinnitus, ringing in your ears.
RYDER: Oh my gosh, I have that, I think.
REEVES: Winona has that.… We don’t really know where the tinnitus comes from, so that was it, he was trying to get the Eustachian channel-slash-tube clear. [He demonstrates the sound]
RYDER: You really make it your own.
REEVES: It was described as making this crazy sound. Maybe we need a subtitle, like some kind of drawing with arrows when I put my finger in my ear: “He has tinnitus!”
You also have a love scene out in the fields of a vineyard. It’s one of the strangest, most non-romantic scenes we’ve seen in awhile in a rom-com.
REEVES: Maybe for you!
Did the fact that it was so off-the-wall make it easier or more fun to approach?
RYDER: That scene was originally written for nighttime. The only thing I was really nervous about was that I didn’t think they were the type of people who would do that outside, but it was such an unusual [scene]. I actually love that scene and the terror in your face.
REEVES: I love when you’re like, “Are you finished yet? Are you done yet?” It’s a very passionate moment where two people are overwhelmed by the intimacy.
RYDER: Clearly they both have serious intimacy problems. But yet they’ve both connected and they have this weird…
RYDER: And straightforwardness. There’s no pretending. They just are who they are.
REEVES: But isn’t it nice that they climax together?
REEVES: Happy endings.
Both Frank and Lindsay are extremely misanthropic and see the worst in everything and everyone. They particularly hate weddings. Where do you come down on weddings, especially destination weddings: fans or not?
RYDER: I’ve actually never been to a destination wedding. They do seem pretty presumptuous to me.
REEVES: Oh, really? What if they paid for you to go?
RYDER: Do they, though?
REEVES: Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they do. In ours, they didn’t. In this one.
RYDER: I actually didn’t really even know that they were a thing, but…
REEVES: They just sound a little wacky to you?
RYDER: Yeah, a little bit.
REEVES: Do you like weddings?
RYDER: Yeah, I’ve been to some beautiful ones. Like, my brother got married in Muir Woods. They’re nice.
REEVES: Thumbs up from Winona on weddings. Me too.