BETWEEN YOU AND KEANU REEVES
(Translated from French)
Third installment of your column featuring, this month, the first American to take our challenge: Mister Matrix himself, Keanu Reeves. In "The Watcher" he goes over to the dark side of the force to go on a killing spree: this is an exclusive between you and him.
Facts compiled by Jean-Paul Chaillet
Quote in red at top of page 2: "To be famous usually means to be greeted by a guy who crosses your path while walking down the street"
CineLive: In The Watcher just as in The Gift you play the role of the "bad guy". Do you prefer this type of role or was it only to break the super-hero mold of Neo? And what can you tell us about The Gift?
- Guillaume Ladaurade, Pau (64)
Keanu Reeves: You know, it was mostly the opportunity of playing a different character, in fact, it was a super experience. I had the opportunity of asking myself questions, to learn to play different characters... It is one of the great joys of being an actor. As for The Gift, it was directed by Sam Raimi, who co-wrote it with Tom Epperson. (Translator's note: as we all know, it was written by Billy Bob Thorton and not Sam Raimi.) It's the story of Annie Wilson [played by Cate Blanchett], a psychic who lives in a small town with her three children. Hilary Swank plays the role of a battered wife - I play her husband and the main source of her problems! - who consults Annie to find out about her future. Of course, Annie advises her to leave me! So, it goes without saying that this makes me even more upset... For your information, Giovanni Ribisi and Greg Kinnear also have roles in this film...
Why did you decide to do The Matrix sequels when, a while ago, you refused to do Speed 2?
- Raphaël Conches, Auxerre (89)
The script! The ideas that the Wachowski brothers want to develop and the artistic direction which they want to pursue interest me. As much as they want me in the film. Thank goodness for that! However, I want to point out that I have nothing to say against the script, contrary to what happened with Speed 2. With the brothers, it's really a question of trust... What did you think of The Matrix's success at the Oscars?
- Sophie, Carcassone (11)
It was fantastic! I was really happy for everyone involved in the film. And, mostly for Andrew and Larry. During the ceremony, I remembered our first meeting, in the Warner offices, two years before. They had shown me an 8-second test of the bullet scene - you know, the one where I stretch back to avoid the bullet - and there it was, before my eyes, projected on a giant screen during the Oscar ceremony, while they were given out an Oscar to the film for Best Editing, another for special effects and a third for sound! You can just imagine how happy I was!
At which step are you at right now for Matrix 2 and 3?
- Laurent Joffre, Roubaix (59)
It's progressing, since I will be leaving shortly for Australia. We are planning to start shooting in March. Or end of March, early April! (laughs) But the work on the special effects has already begun. They need six months before the start of the shoot to do research and to develop the necessary effects... But it will be a marathon shoot, because we're talking about a year of work... For the moment, nothing is set however, but I do have the impression that I'll be spending the next six or seven months in Australia! (laughs)
I am aware that everything must be kept secret but perhaps you can give us a few details on the scripts for the next two Matrix films?
- Dimitri Laurot, Quinsac (33)
I have only read the second film's script and the Wachowski brothers have asked me not to divulge anything... Let's just say that Larry is interested with the concepts of "finite" and "infinity". He therefore suggested that I buy books by Schopenauer and Hume [two philosophers]. But, to be honest with you, as of today I have no idea what this is all about! Perhaps I will learn it with the third film?
Due to the length of the shoot in Australia, how will you manage with Dogstar?
- Emmeline Gay, Vivion (e-mail)
It's very frustrating. When we shot the first Matrix, the guys came to Australia for a while. We used that time to do some weekend concerts. We did the same thing in Chicago during the Chain Reaction shoot. Let's just say that we try to keep the group active as best we can without causing ourselves too many headaches. I don't think of the group as my having to do this or that. I am simply an actor who loves to play music who is very happy in being able to combine his work with his hobby... As for the future, I will see how things go. I am not the type to plan too much in advance. But one thing is sure: I would love to be able to do everything...
Will the same actors be in Matrix 2 as in the original Matrix? --
- Sandrine Bernier, Sedan (08)
Yes, mostly the same actors as in the first film: Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Hugo Weaving as Mr. Smith and Marc Chung as Tank... So, everyone is there...
Do you have any theatrical projects in the works?
- Stéphanie (e-mail)
Not right now. However, I would love to play Broadway. But that will depend on my possibilities and the time that I have available... I would love to get involve, not just for one or two weeks on Broadway. I would need at least three to five months...
How did you get your start in movies?
- Laetitia Delbarre (e-mail)
I started working when I was 15 years old. However, I only got paid the following year. (laughs) In fact, my interest started at school where I played Shakespeare. The experience really enthralled me. I got the impression that I had found where I belonged. So, I continued in that avenue. And today, I still get this feeling of happiness which I had way back then. That feeling that we get in working on a character and playing it. I suppose that the only difference is age and maturity which have molded my sensibility and my interest for the play.
Is it difficult to live your life when you are loved for being what you are not and hated for who you are?
- Géraldine Lauraine, Pontault-Combault (77)
Wow! As for friends, I have a handful who date back to school. I have had very strong relationships with them since that time. The fact that I am famous doesn't change anything. But you know, being famous usually means to be greeted by a guy who crosses your path while walking down the street. It's nothing more than that! You have to look at the good side of being a celebrity: you are famous because people enjoy your work and so, it brings you more work! But, as far as my friends go and the way they perceive me, it's... Well, you have to be in my place to understand! (laughs) As far as my private life... I cannot lie about my real personality - even though some may think otherwise - and, in an intimate relationship, it is possible not to be one's self, to hide our innermost person... That is inconceivable to me.
Who are your favourite authors?
- Quentin Savard (e-mail)
My favourite authors? Let's see... I grew up with Dostoievski, Rilke and Edward Dahlberg. And I think I can say that they have remained my favourite writers...
Are you romantic? Have you accomplished any acts of chivalry? And, do you have any models?
- Sylvaine Marchand, Strasbourg (67)
(A bit ill at ease) Yes... Sometimes, I've acted like a knight! In a whole, I'm quite romantic. However, it's useless to ask me for any specifics. I am not the type to give out my little secrets. As an actor, I do not feel the obligation to share my private life with the public... They appreciate my films because of my acting performances. In that, I always try to do the best that I can. But, I don't owe them anything else!
Aren't you tired of doing interviews and photo shoots?
- Jérôme Rives, Marseille (13)
Promotions are part of the business. It's a question of getting organized. It doesn't bother me especially if I enjoy the film once it has been completed. However, when I am disappointed in the final result, it's a lot harder to do the press...
You play bass in Dogstar. So, who is your favourite bass player? And your favourte group at the moment?
- Alexandre Bellu, Pontarlier (25)
As far as favourite bass player, I would say the one from Joy Division. As for the group... That's not easy... There are quite a few good ones, but we never hear them on the radio. American radio is scared. There are one or two good stations but, as far as rock'n roll, it's not very good... The younger crowd likes groups like Slipknot and Family Values. For them, that is what rock is. My sister, who grew up with techno and electronic music, would say that yes, this is music. In fact, today, there are more and more different genres and styles... But, really, since Nirvana came on the scene, there hasn't been much else... With the exception of Nine Inch Nails, maybe, who has a particular sound.