Now that I've buttered you all up with this beautiful boy, it's time for me to tell you that I'm leaving for a much needed break.
I'll be back in a couple weeks, all comments are closed until I return so I don't have to worry about moderating.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): To be in maximum alignment with the cosmic trends, go to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and commune with the painting "Peach Tree in Blossom" while sipping peach blossom wine and thinking deep thoughts about the parts of you that are like peach blossoms. Here's another possibility: Travel to a place where actual peach blossoms are blooming and meditate on why the Chinese consider this flower the most auspicious of plants. If you can't manage either of those actions, Virgo, please at least find images of peach blossoms on the Internet and gaze at them as you muse fondly of the delicate young aspects of your life that most need your love and care.
It might just be the cough syrup in me talking but...
What in the flaming hellfire of highway 101 are some of these lame-ass reviewers talking about? I've read some that are so off the mark, they don't even have the characters straight. Plus some are just mean.
Screw 'em with a stick of gum. Skits liked it, so there.
By the way, This person makes a wonderful point(thanks kaz!).
The reviewer for The Catholic News must have been enraged by the film, he uses the word *gasp* 'poppycock' in his review. *snicker*
Mike Szymanski gets it, as does Larry Carroll over at FilmStew.com. Also at FilmStew is this interesting bit about the preparations Keanu made for the role (thanks amphora!). I guess it's knowing how hard Keanu works that compounds the annoyance when some of these hacks write his performance off with the same old weary catch phrases (wooden, surfer dude, etc).
Bah. I need more NyQuil.
And possibly a siesta.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, Constantine made over 46.5 million dollars worldwide on its opening weekend. Its competition included a film starring an adorable dog that uses his munipulative cuteness to entice ticket buyers and something called Because of Winn-Dixie.
Creezy sent some translated coverage and comments on Thumbsucker. Click below to read it...
"Talking about 'Thumbsucker' at the 'Berlinale'. Since I read a lot of critics from 'more-in-the-film-business-involved'-portals, magazines and newspapers – those making up their mind because of a film's story and qualitity and not because of 'who star' is playing in it, like boulevard magazines loves to do – 'Thumbsucker' got a lot of real good critics.
'Thumbsucker' was handled as an outsider at this festival. The start
for 'Thumbsucker' turned out to be more difficult as anyone could
anticipate. The festival's opener 'Man to Man' (even the first movie in
the contest, too) was completely destroyed by critics and audience.
This never happened before in the history of the 'Berlinale' so far.
The festivals opener always seems to be automatically one of the
favorites for the 'Golden Bear'. That's a kind of desaster for a
festival as you can imagine. And it placed 'Thumbsucker' - as the
second movie which was shown during the contest – in a
'but-this-movie-now-has-to-be-perfect'-position. A new and difficult
situation for a small movie. Guess this gave Mike Mills a hard time for
his first work as a long film-director. This – hopefully – will explain
to you why some of the media experts didn't mentioned this movie in a
friendly and positive way at the very beginning of the festival like
the movie deserved. Additional it was 'en vogue' writing things down
this year, just strange. But reporters who thinks twice, those who are
more involved in movies as the yellowpress will ever be, loved
Now I am glad I can take back things I had to write down about the
press' opinion in my earlier report (02/12/2005) and replace it with
some good, warm hearted and professional quotations from other critics!
Personally I don't think 'Thumbsucker', as the movie itself has a
chance for one of these 'Bears' because the last and this year (thx to
Mr. Bush!) the Berlinale's focus it pretty much on films with some kind
of political content (Hotel Rwanda, Sophie Scholl etc.). That was the
trend this year.
Meanwhile they announced all winners: it's Lou Taylor Pucci who the
jury found worth it to receive the 'Silver Bear' for best acting role
in 'Thumbsucker'. Congratulations! And he looked awesome while the
ceremony. (Hah, Keanu just in case you need some advices 'how to
shave', this young man could give ya some hints! ,-) )
Coming to the critics:
'This is a most european movie coming from America.'
(That's by the way the sentence I read most in conherency with
'Thumbsucker'. And there IS NO better commendation for us europeans to
give away! ;-) )
arte: grade: outstanding
(arte is a TV-channel, a coorporation between france and germany, very
'Director Mike Mills shows in a incredible way how everyone of his
characters in 'Thumbsucker' lives in eveyones own opposed world and how
difficult it is to communicate in it.'
'The cast... and Keanu Reeves as a 'hippie'-dentist - is almost
'All elements (for an american independent movie) are existing: the
gaping boredom of all americans small towns, the typical atmosphere on
the campus, all these strange types. And of course big stars can be
seen in supporting roles, while giving us a proof of their abilities of
mutability. Keanu Reeves plays the post-hippieesque dentist who belongs
to Zen and psychology.'
'And, how pleasant, he (Mike Mills) has something to tell - in a way,
that is absolutely worth seeing it.'
'It is a modern none-controversy american small town-movie - the ideal
contribution for this festivals start!'
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg grade: best cinema
(Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg is the festivals host-TV-channel.)
'This is a most european movie coming from America. And a very, very
entertaining one with the perfect balance made out of humor, emotions
'The story in this movie is been told in an extraordinary way: Nothing
seems to be exaggerate. Here we have enjoyable sometimes freaky
figures, everyone of them has own problems, but they are not totally
exhibited by the director.'
'One thing right from the start: It's not a Keanu Reeves movie. 'Ladies
darling' Keanu Reeves plays a small supporting role, a dentist, and he
does it most award-worthily. He is the 'joker' for the film – the icing
on the cake – although this movie doesn't need a star like him at all.
Instead the film needs his role, that's for sure!'
'...at the end of this film his (the dentist) credo is 'no answers'...
but he isn't 100 % sure about it.'
'This movie is a very emotionally and very thought-provoking.'
radio 1 -
(radio 1: is the festivals host-radio-channel. Andreas Müller: is known
as the 'butcher' of all radio-cinema-critics ;-) )
The movie is a 'good-temper' movie with an excellent cut and strange
colours. It's pretty much elegant, refreshing, easy-cutting!
I learned from 'Thumbsucker' that every third teenager in USA is taking
'Ritalin' as medication – and 'Ritalin' is only three (!) molecules
away from cocaine!
A fantastic Keanu Reeves plays a dentist in a small supporting role.
He's changing his personality several times, searching for answers. But
notice: This is not a Keanu Reeves movie.
It is a beautiful movie. Please go and watch it!
(Der Tagesspiegel: Berlins most cultured daily newsmagazine.)
'In generally this is not one of these 'coming-of-age'-comedys. This
one is done by Mike Mills in a very fine and suggestive way. There is
no crudeness is in this movie, nothing seems to be too obvious.
'Thumbsucker' has only one little mistake: It's a bit, well, boring. We
know right from the start, what we should know by the end of the film
(Der Spiegel: Germanys 'Time'-magazine, most read weekly magazine.)
'After a mizzeld grand opening spring is in Berlins air – and the
affecting-exhilarating teenage story 'Thumbsucker' displaces the
adversity of the miscarried Africa-drama 'Man to Man'.'
'The film tells the story of a teenager... in a touching and amusing
'It could have been degenarate into a gray boyhood-drama or a foolish
satire but Mike Mills gave it a balance: we've been very rarely told
before about the problems of growing up in such a seriously and elating
way like the director Mike Mills did in this movie.'
(Newspaper - one of the most 'left' orientated in germany)
'...I (the author) don't believe this and would agree with the opinion
of the post-hippieesque dentist from Justin (Keau Reeves in his first
post-matrix-part is pretty much a class by himself!), who says by the
end of the film that thumbsucking was a good strategy of Justin to deal
with all his teenage problems.
A lot things in this movie happens without any breaks (or breaches?)
nevertheless 'Thumbsucker' is a beautiful movie. It explains
believeable and with sympathy in its details about problems american
Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(Die FAZ: a daily newspaper with a claim – sold/read supra-regional.)
'It seemed from now on this years festival is only formality yet. But
then you cannot believe that cinema is always keeping a surprise to you
after such a long time of experience. For example: an american movie
like 'Thumbsucker', directed by Mike Mills, everything else than just a
hollywood movie but therefore one of the most beautifull movies about
growing up since 'The Ice Storm'.'
'How unusual – this movie is able to describe both part of sides
(adults/teenagers) as captives in their own world of aspirations and
fears at the same time.'
'Mike Mills puts this odyssey of a young man on – but not without a
very fine sense for the absurdness that seperates perception and
reality from each other.'
'With 'Man to Man' the Berlinale was oppened,
With 'Thumbsucker' it had finally begun!'
The trailer for A Scanner Darkly is available at iFlim.com.
Thank you to everyone that mailed me about it.
I'm going back to bed.
Consider this the official keanuvision Constantine reaction/discussion thread. Don't click below or in the comments if you haven't seen it yet because there be spoilers.
I'm going to want to see it again this weekend (of course) but after seeing the film this Monday, I can say I really liked everything about it for the most part. I loved the look of the film and all the actors gave great performances.
Like Parsi's comments in an earlier entry...
"Saw the movie today and I was blown away. Its NOT like any other movie & I was not born yesterday so I've seen a whole lotta movies. Can't wait to see it tomorrow, & I really can't wait to have it on DVD! This movie will remain a classic for those who appreciate the genre. I expect there will be a lot of copycatting.... Keanu's performance as Constantine was perfectly INSPIRED (I have read the entire Hellblazer collection) and the rest of the cast were brilliant as well."
I remember when I put that countdown up, the days numbered in the hundreds. Finally, today Constantine gets released (in the US).
To celebrate, Warner Brothers is going to give a spiffy Constantine prize to a lucky keanuvision.com reader. Lucky You!
Here's the contest question:
[contest now closed - the correct answer was Silk Cuts]
That Keanu Reeves. Can't turn your back for a second and he's off saving the world from the spawn of Satan while helping hot young models transition into Oscar-winning actresses. Last time he was going mano a mano with Al Pacino's Lucifer in The Devil's Advocate, now he's facing a white-tuxed, lisping Peter Stormare in Constantine. As a post-Matrix career move, rediscovering religion-specifically, Catholicism-might be just the ticket.
Intellectually cheeky and visually audacious, Constantine is based on the DC comic Hellblazer, but only comic-book geeks-excuse me, graphic novel enthusiasts-will care about the liberties taken with the source material. The rest of us are free to bask in Keanu's fabulousness and the movie's jaw-dropping images which, unlike most CGI-heavy productions, possess real aesthetic weight: When a young girl teeters on the roof of a skyscraper, you can feel the vertiginous tug of the void below her.
Cool to the bone, Reeves inhabits John Constantine, a chain-smoking paranormal gumshoe who dresses unvaryingly in the colors of his moral universe (black and white) and lives in a grungy apartment decorated with overflowing ashtrays and gallons of holy water. Men's souls, we are told, are caught in the eternal tug-of-war between God and Satan, neither of whom are permitted to manifest on earth. They can, however, influence us by means of "half-breeds"--demon-human hybrids who speak in British accents, dress like spokesmodels for The Men's Wearhouse, and look eerily like Gavin Rossdale, erstwhile frontman of the band Bush.
Constantine's thoroughly original hook is that our hero's ability to see these creatures caused him to attempt suicide as a teenager. Condemned to hell when he dies, he now spends his days patrolling LA on the hunt for demons to exorcize in a desperate bid to buy his way back into heaven. ("This is Constantine, John Constantine, asshole," he tells his prey with Neo-Bondian style.) Things get exponentially stickier when the Spear of Destiny used to pierce Christ on the cross and previously in the possession of Mel Gibson turns up in the hands of a Mexican farmer and the Antichrist begins its journey down the birth canal of an unsuspecting major character.
Joining forces with a gorgeous detective (Rachel Weisz) investigating her twin's suicide, Constantine questions his "contacts" for clues to Satan's immediate plans. The angel Gabriel (a wonderfully androgynous Tilda Swinton), wearing what appears to be Tony Kushner drag--distressed straitjacket and six-foot wings-merely mocks his efforts; while a shady character named Midnite (Djimon Hounsou), who manages an afterhours club for the afterdead, advises him to give The Dark One some space. Undeterred, Constantine plants himself on the electric chair from Sing-Sing, sticks his feet in a bucket of water, and takes a trip to Hell.
Constantine is best enjoyed by ignoring the Milton-heavy mythology and surrendering to the movie's lush atmosphere and wicked performances. Director Francis Lawrence and acclaimed cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (Big Fish, Dangerous Liaisons) have created a post-apocalyptic LA where rats and crabs infest the gutters and demons dissolve into clouds of scurrying roaches. Rousselot keeps the center of the screen deep and dark while framing everything-cowering bums on damp sidewalks, a body crashing through a skylight in fizzing streetlights and sickly-yellow fluorescents. The light in this film is as absolute as its morals. Messy and illogical, Constantine works mainly because of Reeves. Like a magnet, he draws all the disparate elements beneath his flapping black coat and holds them up for our attention.
And if you have trouble accepting a tortured anti-hero driven not by philanthropy but by his own mortality, just watch Keanu. He'll make you believe.
-(4 out of 5 stars)JEANETTE CATSOULIS - Las Vegas Mercury
Thanks to penelopez for sending her Berlinale report!
my report is really not so spectacular....I was not so nearly beside Keanu.... I was 20 000 miles away above Keanu but for me it was also really a great feeling. Ok- i'll try to tell you about my day at the Berlinale with Keanu.......me and my friends were waiting at the foyer....I thought, that I will see him closer, but suddenly sounded the gong and that was the request, to places to go....oh what a disappointment. And you can see it by the ticket....my place was on the highest rang......anyway...I will be under one roof with Keanu......In the same time the limousine's forwards.....and I went very very slowly upstairs and when I arrived above, hung at the railing and as Keanu leave the car, I primarily recognized it on (your;)) screaming and in second at his unmistakable sugar-sweet walk......
It was an endless distance to Ke and I thought that I stay cool....no- not really— i hung at the lattice and notice nothing more around me. We had about our places to worry, and I could suspect only on the basis tumult outside in the courses, where Keanu straight was...... I sat and then I was gladly that I sat, because I was really high.....
Keanu, the other actors and the director disappeared somewhere in lower ranks (probable in the V.I.P. Lounge). And I was there above in the knowledge that Keanu is somewhere there down also in the cinema..... the telling way of the film is very unspectacular and gets along without large feelings or depths. All Actors have made a great work. And Keanu's role is the funniest of all. Keanu is remarkably loosely in the role and his dialogues are very strange. His scenes are small, but sometimes the spice lies... in the shortness..
At the end of the movie came Keanu and the other Actors on the stage. Keanu came in third place and he said:“ It is a honour to see the film here. It's an amazing time and
I think It's a wonderful film. Thank you,thank you, thank you.“.......that's all. Then they went away.....for me was this absolute great, even if the distance were enormous... however - that were perhaps also my luck, because I had not lost completely my senses...
Although I found the film good, but I think, that Thumbsucker is not a favorit of the Jury. But this year the filmfestival is not the best in the eyes of the critic and the custumors.....Also they say, that this year not enough glamour and not enough Stars there, because the festival is to close beside the Oscar-Event.....The highlight of the Berlinale this year was the visit of Keanu!!!!!
Ok....that was one day in my life with Keanu......;)
Please,please forgive my bad english.....i hope, that you understand, what I talk about.......best wishes, penelopez"
Thanks to STH, I was lucky enough to get to go to the WB chat yesterday with Francis Lawrence and Keanu. I didn't get any questions in (although the things submitted were eventually asked by other people, so I got answers, just not the thrill of seeing my name on screen)
Keanu was in typical form, with a couple of one word answers that still made me smile.
Imma says: to keanu: how do you relate to supernatural matters?
Keanu: With wonder.
firestar311 says: Keanu, I am currently a senior at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts as a Drama major, and i wondered what made you want to become an actor?
There's a transcript over at the Hellforum for those interested.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "People change and forget to tell each other," mourned playwright Lillian Hellman. I bring this thought to your attention, Virgo, because at least one of your relationships now fits this description. It's at a pivotal point when the accumulated changes you have both undergone can no longer remain unspoken. To avoid becoming irrelevant to each other, you must communicate the backlog of truth now. (P.S. I suspect there are actually two relationships like this.)
Keanu, looking yummy as usual last night.
Check CK's gallery for more pictures as well.
Good thing I didn't go. How embarassing would it have been to show up
wearing the same thing as Gwen?
I just got back this morning and have a ton of things to catch up on.
Apparently I not only missed the Letterman show, but Regis too?
I'm off with V. to LA to catch tonight's Constantine screening at the Egyptian Theater, thanks to the lovely Wanda for inviting us!
Keanu presented at tonight's BAFTA Awards in London.
From Empire Online:
"...as well received as all the guests were, no one quite managed the welcome extended to Keanu Reeves. Taking a leaf out of Johnny Depp’s book, Reeves was last to set foot on the carpet and topped all others with sheer ‘Aiiiieee’ factor. Women wailed, men gazed enviously and, unless Empire was imagining things, more than one pair of pants might have been hurled in his general direction. Keanu takes all such things in his stride, however and breezed across the carpet like a superhuman amid mere computer programs. "It's a bit surreal" was as much of a comment as the supercool star of the upcoming Constantine was prepared to make.
After signing more than his fair share of autographs, kissing fans and probably curing the lame, Saint Keanu waved to the crowd and entered the Odeon Leicester Square, allowing proceedings to get underway."
...and sent us a great report and pictures!
"My little report about Keanus short visit here in Berlin, Germany:
Keanu was late. The earlier festival-schedule said press conference for 'Thumbsucker' should've been today at 10:00 o'clock and the movie during the contest should've be shown at 16:00, but they changed it into 'Thumbsucker' on screen at 16:00 and press conference later this evening at 20:00 o'clock. As I mentioned in Netties forum yesterday morning, you can view the stream of the press conference on www.berlinale.de . You can toggle there into the english version of the homepage, look out for 'video stream'. They said, they will keep it online for some days. Hopefully there is no translation version on the english part of the side. The translation makes it so difficult listening to the questions and answers, while the stream is buffering!
Okay, it was my very first time I saw Keanu in real life. It was my very first time right there beside the red carpet and so my first time with my new DSLR-Camera, and the very first time I took some paparazzi-shots. And so they look like! Pardon me, Keanu!
Nevertheless, I had a fine place. Right in front of the theatre (okay we all know about those huge distances), second row. But it wasn't so overcrowed as I thought it would be maybe. Most Fans were pretty young. Some fans had cute and creative banners with them, some fans were unbelievable loud. I never ever will get the screaming thing!
Keanu went out the car that drove in front of the cinema's entry of course. Before he showed up, all the other actors, producers and the director of course moved into the scenery. And after Keanu all the jury members showed up, f.e. Roland Emmerich, Franka Potente (Lola's Running, The Bourne Idendity) and the beautiful, funny and funky Bai Ling. Keanu said 'Guten Tag' to the festivals leader Dieter Kosslik – who ist one of the nicest persons in the world's film business ever, I am so sure of! Love this man! So they talked a while on the carpet.
After this Keanu spoke with all those TV-Teams and was shown meanwhile on the screen. Pictures of the whole film team from the professionals where taken. So business as usual. And while Keanu gave handsigns to all those screaming fans, like 'relax, I hear you, I will come to you later' it looked it bit like the organisators wanted to push him into the cinema. But Keanu came back (good boy) and was jumping, moving, running (how can I describe his moves?) all over the place and gave autographs and made his fans happy. He was a bit like someone who spent to much time in airplanes the last time and don't wanted to be seated again for the next two hours! *lol* Poor Keanu! Those
premiers-plus-festival-trips must be pure horror! Sh.. I am so sorry, I can't digitalize all the tv-stuff they showed while he was cruising around (I don't think his matrix moves were done by CGI, no way!)!
Okay, he didn't made it to my spot, but I had a good position because his car stood pretty close in front of me when he moved out on the left side of the car! I was honoured.
I took a lot of pictures. But unfortunately the 80 - 200 zoom-objective I bit on ebay in the beginning of this week didn't made it to me in time. (I am sure, it will come tomorrow so that I can cough loud and clearly because of the pix that I've had missed today! ;-) ) - so only my 18-55 zoom could (or could not ;-) ) made it over the distance. Hm, and I guess after all, yes I should have taken the flash sometimes. As I said before, the cam is new and I am new in the SLR-buiz! ;-)
I've choosen those pix where he was sprinting around, so they're not the sharpest ones – but they'll give you all a good impression of how alive he was there!
They went into the cinema, the last picture was taken on the screen while he spoke to someone in there. Then I left the scenery. I had no tickets for the movie and didn't wanted to wait outside until it's finished and the press conference...
...oh, and sorry girls: but no! I don't think he is sooooo tall as you all mentioned before. I'm 1,80 m on my own – so of course he's almost taller than every other little actor but he is normal! That's by the way how I would describe him: normal. A nice guy.
At home I spoted the news on TV. Good news: Keanu never was a thumbsucker (that's what he said, his mother may have just an another opinion about this point ;-) ). Talking about the movie: the editorial stuff plus some viewers they interviewed after the movie, didn't liked 'Thumbsucker' too much. One viewer said, 'Keanu Reeves played in this movie - and that's it!' Another TV-channel noticed the applause was fair but not ethusiastic. Sorry, but it's an old traditional film festival. I didn't hear any statements from one person from the jury so
far. Although I am not sure they're not allowed to say anything.
The press conference (remember usually it is before the film preview and not after, because of Keanu's delay.) So this was special. And the reporters (very international, germany, greece, france, kanada, usa, uk etc.) asked several questions – but not only to Keanu as usual. It was really well done. The young actor who plays the 'Thumbsucker' is a cute one. He really got my heart after his presence there! Keanu told us that his nickname as a child was 'Kiki' and answered to the question 'If he likes to go to the dentist?' a little bit sarcastically: 'Yes, I like it very much. It's awesome, especially the feeling while they're doing the injection. They're doing all a great job.'
Yeah, Keanu, we feel all the same way, too. (That reminds me of the fact, that my next visit should be in next future again...)
Oh, and they asked him, if he speaks german (cough, it's the same stupid thing like this 'have you ever been in germany before? do you like it? can you imagine doing a movie here?' blabla, questions no one really need) and if yes, how good?
Mr. Reeves recited:
'Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute!'
(Quotation from Christian Felix Weisse)
Ähem, he did it really good. Nearly accent free! The crowd went amused wild! He wasn't bad, holy fruit salad. Okay, two lines and nine words... but I owe him a beer or whatever! ;-)
They asked a lot questions more, I wrote them down but I hope I will catch tomorrow morning a higher quality version of the press conference on my tv screen and will post it if so.
What I noticed from short scenes after the movie preview on stage and even while the press conference – it seems like it's a team there who likes each other and who seems not to seperated after the was movie was finshed. It's not like you have the feeling they're so close that they will have tea together every sunday evening, but it was something special. It seems like this movie gave everyone something, the younger actor while growing up and the older actors while growing up, too.
Just my two pence.
Okay, Keanu it was nice to have/had you hear. A bit too short from my little point of view. I don't understand how someone can stay less than 24 hours here, but maybe we will have you back next year as a talented jury member – you're old enough for this meanwhile! ;-)
And ladies, please excuse my english -
Plus she sends these links as well:
-Video from the red carpet
-Another clip - "Go to ZDFmediathek (navigation on the left side) - there are two clip
from him, the first one's shows him at the beginning and the rest is
about the festival. But scroll down to the second clip, this one is
Thanks so much to Creezy!
I had band practice last night and forgot to get someone to tape MTV's "Never before Scene" program on Constantine.
LUCKILY, MTV has a transcript and clips up!
Keanu's now in Berlin, for Berlinale (film festival). I believe he's pulling double promotion duty for both Thumbsucker and Constantine.
The lovely Petra sends a summary of the Thumbsucker press conference...
"The press conference lasted about 30 minutes. Keanu attended, along with Lou Taylor Pucci, Mike Mills, Linda Swinton and two of the producers.
The first question was if they had had any childhood nicknames.
Keanu said he had "a couple of nicknames [...] Kiki" - he repeated this once or twice, as if he was trying to choose one, and then said: "I'll say Kiki."
Another question to Keanu was about his impression of Berlin and whether he speaks any German. He didn't answer the first part of the question, but he started speaking German! "Morgen, Morgen, nur nicht heute, (sagen?) alle faulen Leute." ("Tomorrow, tomorrow, please not today - this is what all lazy people say.") His pronunciation was actually quite good! After a short pause, he said: "Ich liebe Berlin." ("I love Berlin.")
He was also asked what it was like to play a dentist, after all his other performances in The Matrix, Constantine etc. Being a dentist is an awful profession...
Keanu said he should ask Lou what it was like, and then said what we read before somewhere, that he nearly poked Lou's eye out.
Another question: it's an ususual story - what got you into the story, why did you say 'yes' to it?
Keanu replied that he agreed with Tilda - sorry, I didn't write down what she said and as soon as Keanu started speaking I at once forgot everything Tilda had said. Keanu then said it was the script, and meeting Mike Mills. The interaction between the child and the parents, the child's development. He met Mike, and what with the script - he basically said "when do we shoot?" as soon as he met Mike.
Part of the next question was about doing "equal justice to the perspective of the boys and the parents". Keanu said: "Perry is kind of an orphan", who is giving mentoring, advice. Advice "that he collects on his own way", when making his own experiences.
Keanu was then asked what it is like to be on a festival tour 24 hours a day, first Sundance, now the Berlinale - and does he have a survival kit?
He answered that his survival kit is "being with the people you made the film with". He talked about the experience of "being part of the film", and that it's a privilege, and that this is the main thing during such a promo tour.
Another journalist asked them whether they had any particular philosophy in life.
Keanu said we all have teachers, coaches. And there are the people he worked with. And a particular philosophy - he is still "figuring it out", "learning", "life experience". Then he said, in a special tone, that the had "not found THE ONE [philosophy] yet", repeated this, and added, after a short pause: "Do you"?
Keanu was then asked whether he likes going to the dentist. He said: "I love the dentist, I love the shot in the gum for half an hour." (I'm not sure whether there was something else here.) "I love what dentists do - it's fantastic."
Another journalist talked about low-budget movies, said that a few of them are shown at the Berlinale tomorrow, and what does everybody think about low-budget movies in the US, and are they interested in low-budget film productions in Berlin?
Keanu: "Of course!" He said that it's "just about telling stories", "that's what we love to do", "no matter what scale", and that the main thing is "just to show..." [the work].
That's about it. There was another question, and I heard the journalist mentioning Constantine, and I could see and hear Keanu talking to the
others, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. My impression was that he did not want to answer a question about Constantine at a Thumbsucker press conference, but I may be wrong.
I also loved what Lou, Linda and Mike had to say. At one point, there was quite an animated conversation going on between them and Keanu. They were talking about improvising, and Keanu asked whether a certain line was improvised. My impression was that the cast and crew got along very well, that the atmosphere at the set was very relaxed and big fun (Tilda confirmed that early on), and that Keanu really likes this movie and supports it as much as he can."
Thank You, Petra!
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Virgo! If you're like me, many of the most accomplished people you've known have the same blind spot: their intimate relationships. As brilliant as they may be as artists, scientists, fund-raisers, or humanitarians, they're dumb about how to carry on a thriving marriage or loving partnership. Their plight is typical of the rest of us as well. Though we may have mastered countless skills, we're likely to be relatively unripe in our ability to achieve closeness with another human being. That's the bad news, Virgo. The good news is that this Valentine season and the ensuing six weeks will be an excellent time for you to take dramatic steps to cure your own version of this ignorance.
I found this yummy bit of congratulatory gorgeousness over at Nudel's.
Also, she has an adorable ad taken out by Sandy Bullock as well.
Also, if you haven't already seen it, Keanuette has a transcript of Keanu's Walk-of-Fame speech (and a clip to come). Quite charming and moving as well.
Another interview, this one with Paul Fischer at DarkHorizons.com. More of the same but this one's a bit longer and discusses some of his other current projects as well.
Over the years that one has interviewed Keanu Reeves, it is apparent that this Hollywood star would rather be left alone than meet and greet the media. Not that he is a difficult interview by any means, but he has always been more closed off than most. However, promoting his new film, Constantine, Keanu was in good spirits, perhaps because early buzz on this new comic book adaptation was positive, but perhaps these days he seems more relaxed than this most reluctant of stars.
Reeves stars as John Constantine, a world-travelling, mage-like misfit who investigates supernatural mysteries and the like, walking a thin line between evil and good. Constantine teams up with a female police detective, Angela (Rachel Weisz), who seeks Constantine's help while investigating the suicide-like death of her twin sister. Does it have something to do with a mysterious group called "The First of the Fallen"? And what is it about Constantine that puts him in a position where he is making deals with representatives from both Heaven and Hell? In a wide ranging discussion, Reeves talked about his initial love of film back in Canada, Constantine, and everything in between.
Read the interview at Dark Horizons or in the extended entry below...
Dark Horizons: What was your familiarity with the comic books and what did you feel about some of the changes such as the fact he was changed from British to American?
Keanu Reeves: I wasn't familiar with the character before I read the script, and when the script came to me, that aspect of the character - being based in London and being English - had changed already. So I wasn't aware of that. When I read the script and then familiarized myself with the work, I saw that what was important was really the essence of Constantine, and we worked really hard to keep that aspect of it, because it's really what it's all about. That kind of hard-edged, hard-boiled, world-weary cynical, fatalistic, nihilistic, self-interested - with a heart. I think we did, I mean I hope so. I hope that fans of the comic don't feel that we sabotaged something that is so well loved.
DH: Several roles you've played have had a very spiritual side to them?
Keanu: Like The Gift (laughter)
DH: Some of the actors we talked to talked about your preparation and said that you kept a lot of journals about various sides of spirituality. Can you talk a little bit about the research?
Keanu: They have no idea what they're talking about. In the process for me it's writing things down, thoughts... for working on the role. In terms of - I wasn't keeping - I wasn't carrying around the Path of the Peaceful Warrior in that sense. I think the film speaks for itself in a way, and that's really what I was working on. If I had anything that was like that, it was a script called Constantine and the journey that character takes - learning about this kind of curse that was given to him as a kid. "A gift," another character says, but Constantine doesn't see it quite like that. I think part of the journey is Constantine understanding his life and the circumstances, and he comes to a kind of ambivalent peace of sorts. So really in a way it was the script, and we were all part of that.
DH: You were in "Thumbsucker" at Sundance, and I was wondering whether or not it's important of you to try to mix and match... Going from a very small movie like that to a big one?
Keanu: I've been really fortunate to be able to do different kinds of films in different scales - different genres, different kinds of roles, and that is important to me. Sometimes, you don't want to play the hero. You want to play another kind of character in another genre, and it's been something I've been trying to do if I can in my career so far, and it's something I hope to continue because it's interesting to me and you know, you get to do different things as an actor. There's a certain - for me - joy in the diversity of roles. It's something I like to do if I can.
DH: You've been Buddha, you've been Neo the Messiah, you've been Johnny Mnemonic the Messiah, you've been pitted against Satan (Al Pacino)... This one seems to have dug deepest into established religious tradition, all kinds of vocabularies & rituals. I'm wondering how much of that for you is make believe, means something to other people, and how deeply this spiritual conflict... resonates with you, if at all?
Keanu: To answer your question - I'll start with Constantine. The aspect for me - I think of it as a kind of secular religiosity. The piece itself is using icons and a platform in a kind of catholic heaven-and-hell, god-and-the-devil, human souls, fighting for those. But I find that the piece itself - Constantine because of the fact that he knows - and I was hoping that these concepts could become a platform that are humanistic, that the journey of this particular hero is hopefully relatable to - even though they're such fantastic characters and situations - that it's still a man trying to figure it out. In terms of the other roles, I hope ultimately - not only are they interesting - I think that those kinds of journeys, a hero journey, or Siddartha - these are all kind of seeking aspects that have something of value in terms of - to our lives - that we can take with us - and hopefully in the works that are entertaining and - these kinds of journeys that I think all of us - especially in western traditions - relate to. I think these motifs of seekers, messiahs, of anti-heroes, heroes - all of these aspects are journeys that I think deal with things that we deal with in our day-to-day in a way, and are entertaining. They offer up - coming from where do you come from, what are you fighting for... and coming into a kind of - I don't mean it in a facile way but into a kind of life. I think they're worthwhile, and if we can make them all kinds of stories, story-telling, that is always couched in this kind of engaging entertaining manner, whether it is a shadow play, a circle, a storyteller, our literature... the mediums that we communicate these things often times.
DH: What do you get from acting at this point?
Keanu: I really love it. it's my craft. When I was 15, I went up to my mother and said, is it okay if I'm an actor? She was like - whatever you want, dear. In three weeks I was enrolled in an acting class doing Uta Hagen's Respect For Acting. And acting itself. I think of it as kind of like - and I've heard Anthony Hopkins say this - you learn about doing it, and it's like painting, I would imagine. The craft of it, the skill of it, the way that you work the paint, the way that you can act. The more you do it, the more you know it, and for me, it's what I love. A good day on the set, creating the work, the piece, the collaboration, expression, is a hoot. I love it. I love it. And hopefully it will continue.
DH: John Constantine seems to be seeking redemption in the wrong way... trying to earn forgiveness... trying to buy off God. Do you think repentance is something he needs to do?
Keanu: Repentance. I think the aspect of repentance is born and expressed in his final act when he asks from - as he calls Lucifer - Lou - that's his repentance, and I think any sacrifice and what goes on there - I think that's what gives him the shot of going upstairs. But there's also the Constantinian twist of - make the sacrifice so that he can go to heaven, or does he really mean it? But he does. Ultimately he does, so the man upstairs knows. He's just like Santa Claus.
DH: At what point did you feel you knew the character?
Keanu: I really enjoyed the character, but in terms of embodying it - when seeking a costume, I went to the costumer and she had a rack of clothes and choices and shoes and stuff, and I was just trying things on. There was a concept for the piece. What clothes fit? It was like trying on the hat - it's this one. And I found that moment - I remember putting on the jacket and the shoes and I felt a certain way: Yeah, this is the Constantine. So going to rehearsal, you wear your wardrobe and eventually I find that not only do I have a feel but it seems that... they seem kind of connected natural... when that happens it's great and and... So I kind of knew his core but in terms of embodying the character - I worked on - I lowered my register a little bit, working on the way he spoke, I was guided by Francis Lawrence the director in terms of wanting a kind of hardboiled... (guided) by the comic itself, a kind of noir aspect. And that has certain traditions in it that I wanted to utilize, especially with his humor, that kind of deadpan humor... When did I know... yeah, it kind of happened a couple of days before I shot. The exorcism was the first scene and that helped a lot too. When I walked from the window and got on the bed - how to I get on this bed? And when Constantine stands up and walks over, it's like he's trying to walk over a puddle. I was like - okay, I've got it.
DH: Talk about the non kissing scenes with Rachel?
Keanu: It's more fun. It's one of those things that you can see that in the couple that it can be there, and yet it can't be there because it's not the time or place. So there's a bit of a conceit to it, but I think it's part of the enjoyment of the piece, I hope. It's almost like the same thing as an editing choice, like when the car hits the man who finds the spear, hopefully it's enjoyable and it's something that I think is in the relationship. There's something with what they're going through or some - actually, I'm not going to go there, but yeah, I think it's there. It's there. They can't kiss, they want to kiss but they can't kiss so they kind of don't kiss but they wanna kiss. And at the end of the film they do say that they have an interest in seeing each other again, so it's romantic in that sense.
DH: How do you feel about the possibility of another franchise, risking a sequel not living up to expectations?
Keanu: Well, we better not do that because that would suck. You know, my contract didn't have a second film, but myself and some of the producers and Francis Lawrence, the director, and I certainly would - because we fell in love with the guy. I fell in love with the guy. I had one of the best times I'd ever had working on a film working on this particular project. So, we would talk about what could we do? What happens to Constantine? He's a heroin addict in Morocco. He's got a spell, he's killing people and he's trying not to kill people so he's knocking himself out. Then Akiva Goldsman was like, 'No, he wants to stop Revelations.' So we would do these kinds of things and ultimately it is up to the audience because that would mean that the studio would have resources to go forward with it. But I would love to play Constantine again as long as I worked with the same people. I mean, definitely Francis Lawrence and Akiva Goldsman and everyone involved in this project because I could not imagine doing this with everyone involved. But I love playing the guy.
DH: A trilogy?
Keanu: Trilogy, why stop there? We could have Son of Constantine. And I'll play him too. CGI. No, but it's a character just as how it exists in the graphic novel, so I would love to play him again. Who knows? I mean, February 18th, probably by the 30th we'll know. But also, I'm sure Francis Lawrence after this film, because he did such a remarkable job, we're not going to be able to hire that guy. He's gone. He's gone.
DH: He'll want to protect his baby.
DH: Are you more attracted to something serious? Why attracted to Constantine?
Keanu: Well, I first came across the script when I was working on The Matrix in Sydney, Australia. I was working on working, so the script came to me and I read it and really enjoyed it. It took, I guess from my first reading to principal photography, it was over a year and a half. So, and in terms of making choices again, it's like what I said earlier, it's trying to have a kind of variety of genre and character. But I said yes to it while I was making The Matrix because I didn't feel that I was repeating myself. I didn't feel like - Constantine's a very extroverted role. And so much about it is very different to me than the experience I was having in Constantine but it was still a great script and a great idea and a great character.
DH: Did you have input into the spirituality of the character? Francis said nine months on the script.
Keanu: Yeah, I had some great time. He's a wonderful collaborator. And I worked with Akiva Goldsman as well who's producing and writing, and met with Frank a couple of times in Sydney. In terms of my impact, the spirituality is a word that I really don't feel is something to apply to Constantine. And if it is, then it's a very humanistic approach as it always is obviously, but it's more flesh and blood somehow than spiritual. I feel like some kind of flesh and blood aspect of it. My impact in terms of what it was and what it became, one of the expressions is in the end of the film, he's like, "I guess there's a plan for all of us. I had to die twice just to figure that out. Like the book says, he works his works in mysterious ways. Some people like it, some people don't" is mine. That's mine. And that to me was the ground for where Constantine ends up. And there's still that ambivalence of some people like it and some people don't, but there's an acknowledgment and in that acknowledgment I feel that you're watching the character who's dealing with something that happened to him that he didn't understand. He was given this curse or this gift to be able to see the world beyond the world. And in despair as a young man overwhelmed, he takes his own life and he goes to hell. Comes back from hell, he has no idea why. And I think that search of his trying to orient like, [looks up] 'Hey, fella, I'm doin' all this work, what are you doing to me?' and with people. So that was how I felt, so that was my impact. I don't know if that's - it's not spiritual - but it's flesh and blood.
DH: Are you trying to affect the world in a positive way?
Keanu: In my art. I'm making up for what I do in life. That's my penance.
DH: Tell us about that.
Keanu: Oh yes, do tell. See, no one cares about heaven, they just want the dirt. Because we can relate to that.
DH: Is acting a vehicle to affect the world?
Keanu: I think for me personally, I like that aspect in the work that I do because it's what I enjoy in art. I think to go watch a film and spend two hours, to go out or to be entertained, and this doesn't necessarily - I don't mind showing a negative side as well, like working in a film like The Gift. I didn't play - that's not a redeemer, that character. But it was part of a story that was about grief and about dealing with grief. So but that film had that element to it. So it's something that I don't want to go to a movie and not have something that I can come away with, that I can either think about that adds to something because if I don't, then it's like why do I want to spend my time for two hours with assholes? It's just like come on, man. Thanks. Thanks for the pedophilia. It's like, "Yeah, I know, we're fucked up, great." Unless of course it's like really good, like kind of anime, but even at the end of that they have transformation, big shooting light. But yeah, if it doesn't have that element to it, I don't really - it doesn't usually attract my interest. I might look at it and think of it as pornography and it's like oh, great. But it's not worthwhile enough for me to try. Unless of course I'm broke.
DH: Any tough physical stunt work you did yourself instead of stuntmen or CGI?
Keanu: I don't think there are any CGI Constantines in this one. What did I have to do? I had to, when Constantine gets punched by the demon and he goes flying backwards, I got to do that. Chad Stahelski, a man I've worked with through The Matrix on stunts, he was helping me coordinate it. He's my double. He was just like, "When you land, taco." I said, "What do you mean?" He goes, "Relax, don't fight it." So when I launched, I almost went out of frame. I don't know if you see the film again, I almost go out of frame because I pushed off really. And I'm glad he gave me that information because I was just like [woosh]. But the stuff was pretty- - I mean, there was some wirework. Did that roll in the street when the car is coming, dove and stuff like that, but it's all pretty basic things. Nothing too like - it wasn't like a triple side kick or a wire deal. But it was fun. I like fake fights and doing all that kind of stuff.
DH: You asked your mom at 15 if you could do this?
Keanu: I was a good boy. It wouldn't have mattered what she said by the way, but you know.
DH: What inspired you to want to be an actor?
Keanu: I had an experience once in second grade. You know how people often talk about how they see a fireman or - often times it's mostly firemen or policemen. They see a fireman or a fighter pilot or something like that and they go, "Oh, I want to be that" and they don't know why. I remember this teacher and these two actors came from high school and they came to do a class with the second graders just to do improv's and theater games. And I remember I was looking up at them and I was like, "I want to do that." I have no idea what that means. Was it their bohemia? I don't know. Maybe. I mean, I'm sure I'm obviously reacting with my eyes but I don't know what it was about them.
DH: You must have enjoyed them being there.
Keanu: I don't remember that part. My stepfather, I remember he's a director and I went to a couple of rehearsals when I was younger. I was a production assistant on a production he was doing. I was bringing soda to Lilian Gish when Star Wars was coming out. She's like, 'Cinema these days.' And I had read a book about D.W. Griffith when I was 14 so I was like, 'I know what you mean.' It was a great honor for me. She was a lovely, lovely lady. So I was always around it. I was going to theaters and rehearsals with my stepfather when I was a kid. So I guess it's probably my tradition.
DH: Did you go to movies all the time?
Keanu: Yeah, I did. Sometimes instead of school.
DH: Instead of school?
Keanu: Shhh. Yeah, but also the Toronto Film Festival, the first year I went was in 1983 when Blood Simple was there. That was the year I went. I remember I would write down all the films I saw that year and I think it was like 76 films.
DH: You missed school that week.
Keanu: Well I was going to films and that, and I remember like, you know, there's a beautiful, wonderful cinema in Toronto called the Bloor Street Cinema. And I remember like, summer nights just like riding my bike and just going, getting, locking my bike up and going into a movie - I didn't even know what it was! But I would just go and they had salty good popcorn and I'd just chill out and..
DH: Keanu, as both you and Gavin are musicians, I was wondering if you guys talked shop and what it was like to do such adversarial scenes with him.
Keanu: The adversarial scenes are good clean fun. You know, I like how Gavin had such an enjoyment, he's such a.you know, he's such a, he's one of those guys who you'd love to hate but you can't. You know, but he is such a gentleman in person and he's, you know. But in terms of terms of us acting them, it was like, I love that constant thing where you just can't . and he's like Aarrrrggg, and when you come close he'd be just like 'I'm going to stinkin' kill you'. So we had good, we had fun. It was really enjoyable and he was working on his album, that I believe he is almost finished, my god, I mean he is still making a recording, you know , we spoke a little bit about that and, but umm, umm, yeah.
DH: Did you 'jam'?
Keanu: Pardon me?
DH: Did you 'jam'?
Keanu: No, no, no.
DH: Did you play guitars at all?
DH: Does Dogstar still exist?
Keanu: No it doesn't
DH: Do you know what you are doing next?
Keanu: Yeah, hopefully I am working with Sandra Bullock on a film called.
DH: Speed 3?
Keanu: well it's um.. (laugh) don't laugh, we might make that! Um.. what would that be? Sped. Yep, there it is! Ummm, Darn it. aaarrrggghhh.
DH: You got a role?
Keanu: No, yeah hopefully working with Sandra Bullock, it's an adaptation of Il Mare and it is with Alejandro Agresti and it is just straight out romance.
DH: What is it called?
Keanu: Well the titles are changing, it is not going to be Il Mare, the script that I, the last draft that I read it was called The Lake House.
DH: You mentioned before the ambivalent peace that you admire that he was able to seek.
DH: The gift that he was given, there seems like there is a parallel with what you have to deal with. To find some sort of ambivalent peace with all of the fame and success versus the artistic work that you want to do.
Keanu: No I don't think that those are two separate things...I mean those are not disconnected.. I mean if I have any kind of success per say it comes from the work that I do or am involved in, um. and so that, that is connected and in terms of the other aspects, I did Constantine with Warner Brothers, but they hired me and I don't know if they would have hired me to do this, if I, they hadn't had any success with a project that I was involved in, you know with Matrix or The Devils Advocate, the studios have shown, they have been a great supporter of the work I do and want to do. That aspect of star and fame is a by-product of you know, work that I have done or been involved in and people have enjoyed hopefully.
DH: So it doesn't get in the way, you put on a black suit and people say Matrix rather than the character that you are premiering?
Keanu: Do they. I mean for me when I saw the film I was transported by the film and hopefully the film was engaging enough for the whole two hours and six minutes that you are not going he is wearing a black coat, he is wearing a black coat...he is wearing a black coat. You know I am sorry I don't mean to be flippant, but hopefully they are not. You know what I mean...and um, you know - wasn't he wearing a stethoscope before? And there is an aspect to it that I don't want to be personally. You now in that sense, you know a lot of people say why are you guarded. I'm not, I just want the character to be able to exist of the screen and trappings and anything things that I can not bring to that is, to just have the character to exist is my aim and hope and you know if they both wake up searching for worlds and or if they both have a similarity in costume that hopefully it does not get in the way of them getting engaged in the piece and enjoying it, you know.
DH: Keanu, the purpose of film is to connect with other people, obviously one of the major purposes, your character John Constantine seems very alienated both from other people and also from God --
Keanu: No he is very connected with God, he just doesn't understand what is happening. He is very connected, his whole life is intertwined God.
DH: But there is a sense of in terms of he can't seem to get there and do what God wants him to do to get to heaven.
DH: How do you see this resonating in an alienated culture, how do you expect your audiences to connect with your character?
Keanu: Well this is an alienated character in an alienated culture. I don't know what else to say and a part of that journey is about connecting, and he does connect, and so hopefully part of the film is about the worthwhile offering it can bring.
DH: What is the period like between when you finish your job on set and then go and have to wait for the first cut are you often surprised by what you see is it something and then you put it aside?
Keanu: I tend to like to see things as soon as I can , but, like on this experience you know, you wait for the director's cut, you know, you might say Francis when are you cutting it? He like, he'll see. Um. it is always a developing process and Francis worked extremely and everyone involved worked extremely hard in editing this film and ah, and finding it. we did additional shooting, we did um, finding the character of it and working on it and ultimately we made the best film, Francis made the best film we could make and which I thank him for. Yeah I mean in the past there has been a couple of times that I saw a cut and I called the director up and I said can we meet but that has only happened a couple of times, in the past seven years before that, I remember this one film that I did called Young Blood and I played French and I played this character and I am like I'm gonna go see the movie, come on let's go see the movie and then I'm like where is my scenes? And that never goes away you know.
DH: But now you have the power to sort of influence how the final cut is going to be?
Keanu: No, no, no, no, at least now they pretend to listen, before I couldn't even get into the room, but now, that is nonsense, you it depends, you know with who I am collaborating with you know it depends.
DH: How open they are to it?
Keanu: No not how open they are to it, it is a process I would never presume to, you know like on a film like Thumbsucker, I have a small role, I am a character player in the piece and I would never presume to walk in the room, but in a film, where I am, where it is a lead character I might. I think that is in the relationship, you know.
Keanu Reeves starring in a big, dark fantasy movie. Hmm, where have we seen that before? Well, there were JOHNNY MNEMONIC, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA and THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. And let's not forget the smaller-scale THE GIFT and THE WATCHER. Oh, and how could we forget THE MATRIX and its sequels, RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS? Now Reeves is at it again with CONSTANTINE, based on the DC Comics/Vertigo series HELLBLAZER and opening from Warner Bros. February 18. Reeves stars as John Constantine, who's dying of cancer and desperately trying to stave off his destiny: having attempted suicide in his youth, and actually dying for a couple of minutes, he's doomed to hell. And so he's on a crusade, dispatching the half-breed demons that breach our earthly plane back to where they came from.
However, all hell's breaking loose on Earth. Demons, not just half-breeds, are trying to break through. A troubled but deeply religious woman, Isabel (Rachel Weisz), has just apparently committed suicide, and her sister, Los Angeles police detective Angela Dodson (also Weisz), doesn't buy it. And so she and Constantine join forces - interacting along the way with Satan (Peter Stormare), Gabriel (Tilda Swinton), Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale) and other allies, enemies and freaky creatures - to save themselves and, quite possibly, mankind.
"I first came across the script when I was working on THE MATRIX in Sydney, Australia," Reeves says, "and I read it and really enjoyed it. I guess from my first reading to principal photography, it was over a year and a half. In terms of making choices, it's about trying to have a kind of variety of genre and character. But I said yes to it while I was doing THE MATRIX because I didn't feel I was repeating myself. John Constantine is a very extroverted role. And so much about it was very different to me from the experience I was having in [the MATRIX movies], but it was still a great script, a great idea and a great character."
Reeves goes on to note that pre-CONSTANTINE, he was not familiar with HELLBLAZER, and thus didn't know that the comic was set in England or that Constantine himself was British. By the time he received the screenplay, those elements had already been changed. "When I read the script and then familiarized myself with the work, I saw that what was important was really the essence of Constantine, and we worked really hard to keep that aspect," Reeves explains. "He's kind of hard-edged, hard-boiled, world-weary, cynical, fatalistic, nihilistic, self-interested - with a heart. And I think we preserved that. I mean, I hope so. I hope that fans of the comic don't feel we sabotaged something that is so well-loved."
During publicity rounds on behalf of CONSTANTINE, several of Reeves' co-stars have spoken of his preparation efforts and how he kept journals chronicling the various sides of spirituality. Reeves, however, guns down such chatter. "They have no idea what they're talking about," he says. "It's just in the process for me - writing things down, thoughts for working on the role. I wasn't carrying around THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR, in that sense. I believe the film speaks for itself in a way, and that's really what I was working on. If I had anything like that, it was the script for CONSTANTINE and the journey that character takes, learning about this kind of curse that was given to him as a kid. ''A gift,'' another character says, but Constantine doesn't see it quite like that. Part of the journey is Constantine understanding his life and the circumstances, and he comes to a kind of ambivalent peace of sorts."
Helping him embody the character, Reeves explains, was his outfit. He recalls visiting the wardrobe department, rifling through a rack of clothes and trying on assorted pants, shirts and shoes. "There was a concept for the piece," he says. "What clothes fit? It was like trying on the hat -'It's this one.' And I found that moment. I remember putting on the jacket and the shoes and I felt a certain way: 'Yeah, this is Constantine.' When you go to rehearsal, you wear your wardrobe, and eventually I find that not only do I have a feel, but they seem kind of connected, natural. When that happens, it's great.
"So I kind of knew his core, but in terms of embodying the character, I also lowered my register a little bit, working on the way he spoke," Reeves continues. "I was guided by Francis Lawrence, the director, in terms of wanting a kind of hardboiled feeling and guided by the comic itself - a kind of noir aspect. And that has certain traditions I wanted to utilize, especially with his humor, that kind of deadpan. When did I know [I'd nailed it]? It kind of happened a couple of days before I shot. The exorcism was the first scene, and that helped a lot, too. When I walked from the window and got on the bed - 'How do I get on this bed?' And when Constantine stands up and walks over, it's like he's trying to step over a puddle. I was like, 'OK, I've got it.' "
Reeves is due next in the comedy/drama THUMBSUCKER, in which he has a supporting role. He's also got his role in Richard Linklater's A SCANNER DARKLY (an animated film based on the novel by Phillip K. Dick) in the can and a reunion with SPEED star Sandra Bullock in the works. At some point, if CONSTANTINE gives 'em hell at the box office, it would surprise no one to see CONSTANTINE 2 put in motion. Reeves, though he doesn't mention the MATRIX follow-ups by name, knows full well that sequels don't always live up to expectations. "Well, we'd better not do that because that would suck," he says. "You know, my contract didn't have a second film [required], but myself and some of the producers and Francis Lawrence certainly would [consider another Constantine adventure] because we fell in love with the guy. I had one of the best times I've ever had working on a film, working on this particular project.
"So, we would talk about what we could do. 'What happens to Constantine?' He's a heroin addict in Morocco. He's got a spell. He's killing people and he's trying not to kill people, so he's knocking himself out. Then [CONSTANTINE co-producer] Akiva Goldsman was like, 'No, he wants to stop Revelations.' So we would discuss those kinds of things. Ultimately it's up to the audience, because that would mean that the studio would have the resources to go forward with it. But I would love to play Constantine again as long as I worked with the same people, Francis Lawrence and Akiva Goldsman and everyone involved in this project; I couldn't imagine doing this without them involved. I love playing the guy."
Mention the possibility of a CONSTANTINE trilogy, however, and touch of sarcasm slips through. "Trilogy, why stop there?" Reeves jokes. "We could have SON OF CONSTANTINE. And I'll play him too. CGI. Who knows? I mean, probably by the 30th [of February, after CONSTANTINE is out for a couple of weeks], we'll know. But also, I'm sure that after this film, because he did such a remarkable job, we're not going to be able to hire Francis again. He's gone."
-By ERICA ANDERSEN
Great googly-moogly, the man can work some stubble.
Sony Classics gives thumbs-up to 'Thumbsucker' LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sony Pictures Classics has acquired rights to "Thumbsucker," a crowdpleaser at the recent Sundance Film Festival.
Sources said the deal -- covering North America and English-speaking territories -- was in the $3.5 million-$4 million range. It is scheduled for fall release Stateside.
A first feature from skateboard designer and music-video director Mike Mills, "Thumbsucker" stars Lou Pucci as an incommunicative teenager who doesn't want to give up sucking his thumb. Trying to provide helpful advice are his confused parents (Tilda Swinton and Vincent D'Onofrio), his wacky orthodontist (Keanu Reeves), his love interest (Kelli Garner) and his debate coach (Vince Vaughn).
Sony Classics has committed to running the "Thumbsucker" trailer before such upcoming wide releases as sister studio Columbia Pictures' summer skateboard movie "Lords of Dogtown."
"Thumbsucker" will screen in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb. 10-20).
I heard a really great review on NPR last week, and was sure that the film would get picked up. Great to have confirmation!
Also, bless Ale for coming through with this wonderful review by Sean Clark from the horror Channel.com
Okay, I'll admit it. I went into this film with low expectations. Another big budget Hollywood F/X film about heaven and hell helmed by a music video director (Francis Lawrence) who had yet to tackle a feature film and anchored by leading man Keanu Reeves. If this doesn’t sound like a disaster waiting to happen I don’t know what does.
In case you were unaware, Constantine is based on the popular cult comic book series Hellblazer. I have to admit I have never read the comic and didn’t really know much about it. However, I had heard that it took place in London and that the main character John Constantine was British. Apparently that concept was tossed out the window early on, and the character is now an American living in Los Angeles. I’m just thankful I didn’t have to sit through an entire 2-hour plus film with Keanu doing an English accent...Bram Stoker’s Dracula anyone?
This film doesn’t waste any time kicking into gear. The action starts right out of the gate and delivers throughout in heavy doses. There are a few slow spots in the 2-hour-plus running time, but there is actually a story being told that is worth your time.
I have never been a big fan of Keanu Reeves, but I have to say that he plays this role quite well. Constantine is an anti-hero who really doesn't give a damn about himself or the people he is helping. Reeves' performance as the hardboiled Constantine is solid throughout and the best I have seen from him in a long time.
Rachel Weisz gives a very strong performance in dual roles as twin sisters Angela and Isabel Dodson. She is a solid actress who adds a level of believability to the story that, if played poorly, could have been disastrous for the picture. Angela’s love/hate relationship with Constantine adds a romance element below the surface that is performed perfectly by Reeves and Weisz and is very well written.
Actors Djimon Hounsou (Papa Midnite) and Shia LaBeouf (Chaz) also give outstanding performances in their supporting roles, as do other notables Pruitt Taylor Vince (Father Hennessy) and Tilda Swinton (Gabriel). The only real distraction is Bush front man Gavin Rossdale as Satan’s emissary Balthazar. It’s not that his performance wasn’t good, it’s just that if you know him as the singer/guitarist of Bush and husband of No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, when he appears on the screen for the first time, that is pretty much all you can think about. It was the only moment that took me out of the film; but if I didn’t know who he was, I believe I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
Director Francis Lawrence has proven that he can deliver a well-paced film that isn’t too flashy and over the top like some might expect from a music video director. I didn’t get a distinct style from Lawrence, but he has plenty of skill and what appears to be a long and successful career in feature film ahead of him.
As far as special effects go this film is packed to the hilt with them. I’m no fan of CGI, and this film does have more than its share, but it seems to work well and not be too much of a distraction. The practical make-up effects from Stan Winston Studios are top notch as usual and blend well with the CGI.
So yeah, I went into this Constantine expecting the worst and came out wanting more. It blends several genres together seamlessly. It delivers horror, action, suspense, drama, and just enough doses of comedy and romance without losing its edge. Constantine is a film that I believe will find a wide audience and another potential franchise for Reeves and Warner Brothers. Move over Neo; Constantine’s in town.
Also at the Horror Channel website is an interview with Papa Midnite - Djimon Hounsou, if you'd like to check that out as well.
The Demon Hunter
Keanu Reeves's Matrix character was a tool of destiny. In Constantine, he's the opposite -- 'hard-boiled, world-weary, cynical, fatalistic, nihilistic, self-interested'
Bob Thompson National Post
February 5, 2005
Keanu Reeves used to be unsure and unfunny, and painfully uncomfortable when grilled by reporters. What a difference a decade makes. As he saunters into a press conference promoting his new movie, Constantine, it's the journalists who look uneasy.
The Toronto native, on the other hand, grins broadly when he spots an ornate, oversized chair awaiting him at the front of the crowded hotel room. But rather than sitting down, he stands beside it and grandly announces, with impeccable timing: "I need," he says in a pompous English accent, "a bigger chair."
He gets the laughs he was looking for, then sits down, secure in the knowledge that being a confident 41-year-old does have its advantages.
So does starring as Neo in the wildly successful Matrix series, which wrapped last year. It gave him A-list leading-man status and earned him the biggest paycheque of his career. What did he do with the US$30-million-plus? "I bought a bigger chair," he says to more laughs.
Jokes aside, Reeves had to make some serious career decisions about whether he should pursue the lead in Constantine, which opens in theatres across North America next Friday.
Based on the English DC Comic graphic novel, the movie concerns John Constantine (Reeves), a demon hunter trying to win a place in heaven by eliminating the devil's messengers on Earth. There's terror and action, propelled throughout by the brash and sarcastic central character. An introspective Neo he is decidedly not.
"Constantine is a very extroverted role on the whole," says Reeves, getting down to business. "So much about it is very different from the experience that I was having with Neo. Constantine's that hard-edged, hard-boiled, world-weary, cynical, fatalistic, nihilistic, self-interested guy," says the actor, then, grinning, adds, "but with a heart."
Typecasting was not an issue. Reeves says he was more concerned that "fans of the comic don't feel that we sabotaged something that is so well loved."
To that end, the actor spent nine months of preproduction immersing himself in the world of Constantine, working on the wardrobe and the lines with first-time director Francis Lawrence.
"Even before we had rehearsals," says Lawrence, "we had this clear idea of what we wanted, and how Keanu wanted to play it. He doesn't like to leave anything to chance."
Reeves's passion for his roles says as much about his love of acting as it does his detail-oriented personality. "When I was 15, I went up to my mother and I said, 'I'm an actor,' " says Reeves, recalling his early days in Toronto.
And what did his mom say? "She said, 'Whatever you want, Keanu.' Within three weeks I was enrolled in an acting class [doing] Uta Hagen's Respect For Acting."
He also worked as a Toronto production assistant, talked his way into roles in local plays and, to learn his craft, became an inveterate moviegoer -- compulsively so when the film festival came around every September.
"Sometimes I did that instead of school" he says. "The first year that I went was in '83 when Blood Simple was there. That was the year I would write down all the films that I saw -- like 76 movies that time, I think."
A few years later, he was co-starring in River's Edge. In 1989 the first Bill & Ted film adventure got him launched. But it was Speed in 1994 that made him a bona fide movie star, a job title he rejected when he refused to do the sequel. But the success of The Matrix in 1999 forced him to accept his lot.
He will talk about his world view, but only in generalities. As for religion? No way. It's a topic the film Constantine uses to great effect, but he refuses to reveal his own philosophy beyond saying, with a wicked smile, that "God is like Santa Claus. If you're naughty or nice, He knows.
"Like the book says -- the Constantine book -- 'He works his works in mysterious ways.' Some people like it, some people don't."
Career moves work in mysterious ways, too. Constantine looks like it has the potential to be another Reeves film franchise.
He shrugs. "I fell in love with the guy," he says smiling. "But why stop there? Let's do The Son of Constantine, and I'll play him too with CGI."
Seriously? Not really. He is serious about one thing, though. John Constantine and Keanu Reeves have a lot in common.
"He's an alienated character in an alienated world," says Reeves. "Part of his journey is about trying to connect, and eventually he does."
Typecasting has never been an issue throughout his career, says Keanu Reeves, but in choosing his latest role as John Constantine, Reeves was concerned that "fans of the comic don't feel we sabotaged something that is so well loved."
Keanu is in Hong Kong promoting Constantine.
HONG KONG -- Hollywood star Keanu Reeves said he trained with an exorcist for his latest film, "Constantine," and he was relieved that no supernatural forces plagued the movie set.
"There were no paranormal events that took place on the film that I know of. Thank God!" said Reeves, 40, who plays the title character in "Constantine" - a man who battles to send demons back to hell.
He described his character as a "world-weary" and "nihilistic guy with a heart of gold."
Adapted from a DC Comics series, the film will have its world premiere in Hong Kong Tuesday - 10 days before its opening in the United States.
"I went with an exorcist for a bit. I just want to know really practical things, like how do you hold someone possessed by the devil," Reeves said.
The star of the "Matrix" and "Speed" action thrillers said his latest role also makes him less skeptical about the existence of hell.
"Constantine kind of knows it's fact. So I guess if I had any doubts before, I probably have a little few less doubts now," he said.
Update 2/9: KeanuWeb has footage of Keanu with the lion dancers, it's adorable!