Keanu Reeves covers the March issue of Esquire UK to promote John Wick: Chapter 2, which is already a decent-sized hit. It feels like it’s been a while since Keanu sat down and did a big magazine interview, and I was actually pretty excited to read this. Esquire UK treats him with respect, as in they’re not looking to make him sound like a boneheaded idiot who chanced his way into stardom. He comes across as exceedingly humble and very much a “still waters run deep” guy. He doesn’t want to talk about all of the sh-t he thinks about or all of the books he’s read or how weird all of this ride has been. But there are some interesting quotes. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
What happened after ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ bombed: “Sometimes I call that The Day my Career Stood Still. I kind of went to Studio Movie Jail.” It seems he’s apparently still only as bankable as his last movie. “For me that is true. Yeah. You’re always fighting for a career. I mean, there’s a few people who [don't have to worry]…” Then he changes his mind. “No: you’re always fighting for a career.”
He spends months preparing for his roles: “For me it’s part of the pleasure of it. Yeah. I don’t have anything better to do! I have nothing going on! I have no life! It’s just going to work and preparation.”
On River Phoenix: “I miss him dearly. F–king sucks. I know so many people miss him dearly.”
He bought motorcycles for all of the stuntmen on The Matrix: “Oh, I did that for the gentlemen who were involved in this really big fight in The Matrix, in the second one, the Agent Smith fight [the set-piece sees Neo fighting dozens of clones of his nemesis]. I worked with these stuntmen every day. That fight was 17 shooting days. We trained every day for seven hours for three weeks going through all the motions. We learned the term ‘super-perfect’. You want to go for super-perfect. So, obviously I was getting paid well. And so, you know, just as a thank you to those guys. Got them some gifts. Yeah.”
On all of the stories about him being a really nice guy: “Whatever! I’m just a normal guy, man.”
On the Sad Keanu meme: “It’s my melancholy. My melancholic thing, the Melancholic Dane. I thought it was funny.” You’re not really so down in the dumps? “No. A picture says a thousand words and none of them can be true. The best in nature is subjective. But, I mean, I looked pretty sad. I was hanging out on the street…” The pigeon. “Pigeon! New York! Cobblestones!”
His vampire agelessness: “Yeah. I mean, people say my age [Reeves appears terrifyingly unaffected by the passage of time]. But I’m just waiting for that to change.”
The idea that he would settle down & have some kids: “I’m too… it’s too late. It’s over.” What do you mean? “I’m 52. I’m not going to have any kids.” Really? “Yeah.”
On ageing: “I’m every cliché,. F–king mortality. Ageing. I’m just starting to get better at it. Just the amount of stuff you have to do before you’re dead. I’m all of the clichés, and it’s embarrassing. It’s all of them. It’s just, ‘Oh my God. OK. Where did the time go? How come things are changing? How much time do I have left? What didn’t I do?’ I’m trying to think of the line from the sonnet… ‘And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er / The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan / Which I new pay as if not paid before’. So, yeah. I’m that guy.”
I guess the thing about Keanu is that he just seems so… unaffected. I mean that as in, it’s completely normal for movie stars who have been in the industry for thirty years to have so many affectations. They know the drills, they know how to present themselves, they know what to say and where to go. It just seems like Keanu has none of those affectations. As for Keanu saying that he’ll never settle down and have a family… like, he’s had so much tragedy in his life, I understand why he would just shut down that part of his life. But I would love it if he found a nice lady and had a baby. Poor Keanu.
Photos courtesy of WENN and Simon Emmett/Esquire UK.