A school in Pasadena ran a course on the films of Keanu Reeves, where students read Hegel and Foucault the better to gain insight into his stoic detachment. When you consider the biggest star of Point Break wasn't Reeves but Patrick Swayze, you start to appreciate that entire generations of A-listers have come and gone in his wake. Today, Reeves bats away the suggestion these unknowable qualities have helped him endure. "I think actors and actresses are maybe a little more private than other celebrities," he offers. She worked as a costume designer, to David Bowie for one. Then you might find it deliciously, horribly funny.
Last year, the hipster London bookshop Idea produced a range of popular "KEANU" totes and sweatshirts. Rob Lowe had a good run of it as did Charlie Sheen, as did Robert Downey Jr before being rescued by Iron Man, but none has endured the same way as Reeves. Reeves recalls meeting Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. In 1994, Reeves' father was arrested in Hawaii trying to sell large quantities of heroin and cocaine, and later sentenced to 10 years in jail (released in '96).
In other words, it was the perfect Keanu Reeves film for Keanu Reeves. His incredible keenness reminded me of an army cadet." For a role that never materialised in a film by Cyrano de Bergerac director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, he offered to learn French. It's just going to work and preparation.""That level of dedication is incredibly rare," says Chad Stahelski. Some people would try and get another film in, or work two. I mean, those are moments of a lifetime."When you think, "this is my job"? The sorts of stories that belong in that special category where rather than revealing something embarrassing or relatable or human about the subject, something that make them people who, in the common parlance, are just like you and me, seem only to make them more interesting and unusual. For The Matrix sequels, Reeves renegotiated his contract so the crews got a share of his fee, a deal that cost him tens of millions. And so, you know, just as a thank you to those guys.
(This is not faint praise: there are any number of, say, Nicolas Cage films correctly casting Nicolas Cage that belong in any right-thinking film fan's Top 100. He spent six months training before shooting anything for . When I first met him he'd had surgery and he was doing kung-fu in this big, cold warehouse with a neck brace on. That set the standard for the rest of our relationship. They're just such wonderful people and wonderful directors. When making , he took a pay cut so the producers could afford to bring in Al Pacino.
"I think a lot of people's responses to the first film were: 'You know, once you kill a dog you can just do whatever you want'. '"As fellow hitman Marcus [Willem Dafoe] puts it: "There's no rhyme nor reason to this life." John Wick also borrowed two tropes familiar to any student of the director John Woo: "gun-fu" and "car-fu"."It really means just having some kind of multi-purpose with something," Reeves explains.
"So, something like hitting people with a car, that's 'car-fu'.
Like, I mean, when I was going to the School for the Performing Arts, around that time, immediately after I'd be going to the library and reading Chekhov plays. We're 18, let's get a car, let's go listen to jazz music, the blues, Sleepy John Estes, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, The Clash, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Pixies…'"The good stuff. Joy Division, Apocalypse Now…"It was a good time to be young.
' I first saw him in and there was a quality I'd never experienced.
For example, when I throw out a feeble question about what appealed to him about John Wick, he has this to say: "I really liked the character. Samuel's job has never been disclosed."I don't have any memories of it," Reeves tells me. Who can say whether or not those influences happen [to make a difference]? As children, Reeves and Kim were frequently left to fend for themselves."We were latchkey kids," he says. "It was basically 'leave the house in the morning and come back at night'. But, you know, if we're talking 11, 12, we were just running around. Since then there have been other surgeries, fake teeth, veneers. For a while he'd joke he worked to pay his motor insurance. (He wanted to add a sissy bar, or passenger backrest. "He'd been around motorcycles for years and he knew what it would take [to set up a new business]. ' Then we got to know each other and over the course of it it was just like, 'Come on, man'. For a working garage, the place is as clean as a museum. Until recently, Keanu Reeves's last blockbuster was the , a sci-fi remake released in 2008. "Sometimes I call that The Day my Career Stood Still," he says. "There have been different versions now for seven years. "Luckily that fits the story."Here, as Reeves tells it, is the story. He told one interviewer he'd finished Proust's , John Rechy's novel about drag queens and prostitutes, and be amazed to find he'd devoured not just them, but sought out the authors' other writing, too."Oh, I'm not a massive reader," he says. He hoists up the right leg of his battered jeans and shows me thick, knotted tissue running from his ankle to his thigh. Hollinger told him that wasn't really his thing.) The two got talking and Reeves suggested they might go into business. There's his current bike, a custom Arch KRGT-1 with 10,000 miles on the clock, in for repairs after the transmission blew. "I kind of went to Studio Movie Jail." Odd as it may seem, even for an actor as famous and as enduring as Reeves — 2016 marked his 30th year in film, and his big successes have been really big — he's apparently still only as bankable as his last movie. "Yeah."Although disappointments haven't hindered Reeves in pursuing weirder, wilder and more interesting independent releases like — a duality that's been a feature of Reeves' career ever since his 1986 breakthrough River's Edge — you get the feeling the last decade hasn't always been plain sailing. But, no: I haven't had that kind of experience."The other issue with and the Californian airhead Ted 'Theodore' Logan III whom Reeves played, was that for years people assumed they must be one and the same person. "It takes a smart person to play a dumb person effectively. "The premise is basically that Bill and Ted were told they were going to write a song that would save the world, and they haven't. So now their marriages are falling apart, they're unemployed and they've gone crazy with all the instruments. It's a jungle out there."In fact, Reeves turned his back on a rumoured .5m for a completely different gig. "I'd grown up on Shakespeare, so to have the chance to play Hamlet…