Nelson Moss

Sweet November (2001)

Number one dog, dog at the top

Occupation:Advertising executive
Distinguishing Feature:Rolling stones do not gather him
What He Taught Us:Never say never.

Keanu Reeves

I play a kind of self-possessed, self-obsessed, self-centered ad executive whose life is in crisis. He doesn't know it, but he's in the middle of a nervous breakdown. He runs into Charlize Theron's character, and she says that she can help me. And I don't know what she's talking about. But she offers to let me spend a month with her. I still don't know what she's talking about. I get fired from my job, I lose my girlfriend, my life disintegrates. It's about, I guess, how these two people come together and learn to love each other, accept the kind of stories of their -- their own stories get told, and through the sharing of that, they kind of come together.

[Nelson is] an ad executive who is very work oriented, to the sacrifice of his capability or desire for intimacy, for any kind of compassion. He's just a very driven person. Very carnal, very aggressive. It's like, do you do anything for yourself? What do you do for fun? My character has no answer. In an odd way, he's kind of addicted to his work and what that's done to him. He knows no other way, doesn't want to see any other way.

He grew up poor, an only child whose parents are dead. My take on him is that his father sold door-to-door and wasn't very good at it. Subconsciously, Nelson is trying to become the successful version of his father. But in manifesting that, he has shut off the part of himself that allows him to feel.

[He] gets to love someone and through that discovers the bounty of life, as opposed to being closed off. He's working so hard, he doesn't know he's lonely. Once he meets this woman, it's revealed to him who he really is.

There's still a part of Nelson that is alive and Sara recognizes that. She tells him that he's miserable. And Nelson says, 'No, I'm not miserable. I'm successful.' But once he slows down, he realizes that he is miserable. The love that grows between them opens up a whole new world for him. He can smell the flowers. With love and appreciation of this other person, he becomes more human.


"I AM Nelson Moss!" -- a certain way, there's nothing wrong with being Nelson Moss, as long as there'll be a Sara Deever to act as a guiding compass... Nelson Moss was intense, driven, hard-working, self-willed, obsessed with his work to the very detail, because he thought -- or convinced himself- that his work, the results and the awards and the reputation, all that define himself. He identified with the image of himself seen in the mirror and in other people's minds. His arrogance was just a mask --to hide his discomfort around people who contradicted his choices or his self-imposed way of life. He had all the right qualities, but used them for the ...wouldn't say 'wrong', but "mistaken' goal. He refused to feel or allow other people's feelings get to him, because he suffered too much as a child --and the irony is he was just a collateral victim of his father's 'failure' .

but then, living up to that image created by himself takes too much of his energy, and the mirror cracks. All he needed was a keen eye to see his potential and a catalyst to redirect it and put his qualities to good use -- learning how to be himself. and when he does that, he's not only transformed, but in return affects also the ones around him in a positive way. it's kind of a 'boomerang effect' Sara had her own problems with facing reality; she 'saved' him but in return he 'saved' her...