Keanu Reeves belongs to an increasingly rare breed of actors in modern Hollywood. He is a big movie star, whose involvement in a project is often enough to make it a commercial success. However, he continues to maintain an incredible level of humility in his life. His life has been marred by several tragedies, including the deaths of a friend, former wife, and stillborn daughter. He is very close to his family, a doting brother to his three sisters and a dutiful son to his mother. Deeply spiritual, he does not adhere to any particular religion. He is greatly passionate about martial arts and motorcycles and utterly indifferent about the accumulation of more wealth. We have collected several of his quotes from various interviews, articles, and speeches. Here are some of the things that he has to say about acting, cinema, religion, spirituality, success, and life in general.
I've had the opportunity to work with so many great directors. Different styles, as well, like Gus Van Sant. He just does the casting and the milieu and let's you do your thing, quietly. Bertolucci, who can talk to you about your internal world in quite a creative way or just say, 'Well, put your hand over here.'
I have definitely been curious and involved in the process; even as a young actor. I was always looking at where the camera was, what story it was telling. And as my experience grew, I wanted to know even more.
Sometimes when you make a film you can go away for three months and then come back and live your life. But this struck a much deeper chord. I don't have the ability yet to speak about it in an objective.
Money doesn't mean anything to me. I've made a lot of money, but I want to enjoy life and not stress myself building my bank account. I give lots away and live simply, mostly out of a suitcase in hotels. We all know that good health is much more important.
I had the classic 40 meltdown. I did. It's embarrassing. It was pretty funny. But then I recovered. To me, it was like a second adolescence. Hormonally, my body was changing, my mind was changing, and so my relationship to myself and the world around me came to this assault of finiteness.
I am waiting for the right story to tell. Just like 'Man of Tai Chi' just seemed to be the right story to tell. So I'm looking for that. Because I really love directing. I love developing the story. I love actors. I love the cinema of it, the way that you tell a story visually.
The truth is often terrifying, which I think is one of the motifs of Larry and Andrew's cinema. The cost of knowledge is an important theme. In the second and third films, they explore the consequences of Neo's choice to know the truth. It's a beautiful, beautiful story.
But I think we're also just talking about the literacy of the audience. The visual literacy of the audience. They've seen so many images now, especially here in the States. There's so much to look at, to watch. So the visual storytelling literacy is harder to impress.
I'm not a photographer, so I didn't get into F-stops or ND filters or background, foreground, cross-light, all that stuff. But I was interested in the camera and the lenses. That's the world that I'm moving in, in terms of acting and giving a performance.
Oftentimes, when we think of 3D, we think of things coming out of the screen, but actually, you've got this zero, this negative space, what they call the negative space, which is the scene, what's being filmed in the positive space of the audience. As you can have things come out, you can have all of this depth.
I loved the material when I first read it, and the experience of making the film was a great one. So when we came around to complete the trilogy, I just signed on board without even reading the scripts because the experience of the first film was so good.
I don't know the law, the kind of law of quantity and quality, but I think the opportunity of people being able to express themselves and to have the means of production is a great thing. It's also changing how we're telling stories.
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 the career so far, and it's something I hope to continue because it's interesting to me and you get to do different things as an actor.