Interview: Keanu Reeves "The Lake House"
Interview: Keanu Reeves
"The Lake House"
Posted: Thursday, June 15th 2006 3:20PM
Author: Garth Franklin
Location: Los Angeles, California
After twelve years working on separate films, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock have finally come together again in a completely different vehicle than the mega-hit action smash "Speed" in 1994 which made them mainstream heroes overnight. "The Lake House" certainly isn't fast or gritty, rather an a light adult romance fantasy in which the pair play two homeowners in the same lake house separated by two years. Alex (Reeves) is there in 2004 and Kate (Bullock) is there today, and their letters travel the years instantly. A remake of the recent Korean hit film "Il Mare", Reeves spoke to the press recently about his work on the project and what is was like being together again after so long:
Why did it take this long to reunite on a film?
Reeves: It just seemed to kind of come together, this film at this time. What led up to it or how it happened, eventually we both liked the material, liked the idea of what this film was. It was an atypical dramatic romance, I was drawn to that; I liked the dialogue, it was very sweet. I liked these characters trying to figure out their own lives, kind of coming together in a way that I hadn't really seen before.
How did you deal with the lack of eye to eye contact?
Reeves: Well, the challenge - it was the story so, for me, it was part of that yearning to want to see the person, to see Kate (Sandra), it's in the script; it's part of that yearning. Also, Alejandro (Agresti) kind of set up situations where we were in the same room acting together but apart. The challenge of it, it really kind of called upon being open and whatever connection you and I have to let that be.
Are you a fan of writing letters?
Reeves: In terms of writing letters, I tend to type them; I like the contact of it. I think, when I write, I try to be thoughtful but I also like to write kind of quasi-poetically unless I'm answering some kind of voyeur letter from the co-op from New York. I enjoy the sensation of sitting down and taking time and then typing, the physicalness of it, the imprint on the paper, the idea that it's not prone to sun spot flairs and you know; it kind of has its own independence, its own - the object. It's the effort and the thought but it's also something that you can - you know, it doesn't take batteries, so it's on the wavelength of love, of personal intimate time.
How do you see your life changing now that you're a little older than you were in "Speed"?
Reeves: Let's see, getting older, experienced, hopefully be the best you can be to yourself and to another person, with another person. And use communication and imagination; a relationship is an imaginative act, it's an act of creation. Someone said to me the other day that a relationship between a person and a kid is unconditional; but the relationship between adults, to each other, is conditional, in a sense. But that condition can be the best kind.
Is Alex the real catalyst for the time change in the movie or is it love?
Reeves: I think that is what we were hoping for - all of these things, the letters, the mailbox, the house, the connections, the time that they were together, that they weren't together, the dog, all of these things would kind of come to a place that when they do come together that she accepted, and that all those other questions don't mean anything. Know what I mean? To make sense of it isn't the point, the sense of it is the most important thing is that they are together. And that sometimes, what we put in our way - the things that we think matter to us actually probably don't all the time.
What was your relationship off screen to make the on-screen relationship so intimate?
Reeves: Discovering; he (Alejandro) would bark out what he would want differently, 'Ok, take her face, kiss her like this, kiss her, kiss her!' And we're like, 'What? What does that mean?' But by the end, we just do what we do on our own and he filmed it and it just worked. You just get lucky with some of your partners in life and sometimes it clicks on film. It might click off film and doesn't click on film, it's a little scary but I've always wanted to see that in myself. You see it in a lot of great foreign films, you see that intimacy and that kind of affection, which I think everyone, male, female in life - everyone wants to be successful so they can buy that if they don't have that. You know it's something.
Were you able to have much off-screen interaction since most of your scenes aren't together?
Reeves: Well it helped that we had worked together before and I guess we filmed about two weeks together. I think it helped that we were friends and kept in contact over the years; we like each other, so it was a kind of instant rapport.
Do you think it's possible to fall in love without ever meeting a person?
Reeves: Falling in love and having a relationship are two different things but yeah I can imagine that you can kind of - I think it depends on one's psychological state. I think there are some people who are on the internet and can fall in love and seem to be in a certain psychological state and other people who are - who couldn't quite do that.
Did you ever see Il Mare, the movie this is based on?
Reeves: I didn't see the original "Il Mare" because the scripts were so different; it didn't seem to really pertain for me. I'm probably going to watch it now but I didn't look at it in terms of my work. We had a passionate director as well; he had his vision and we got seduced by that as well.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock pair up again in what could be described as the anti-Speed: The Lake House, a sweet, relaxed-paced, whimsical romance. When Alex Wyler (Reeves, The Matrix) moves into an unusual glass house on stilts over a lake, he discovers a note from the previous tenant in the mailbox--but no one's lived in the house for years. He replies and soon discovers that he's corresponding with a doctor named Kate Forster (Bullock, Miss Congeniality) who's writing from two years in the future. Their correspondence turns romantic and their paths cross in unexpected ways, but when they try to truly connect, danger looms. Though the plot of The Lake House sounds potentially static, the movie is skillfully structured and, despite some truly awful dialogue, will exert an emotional pull on anyone willing to embrace the device of the time-travelling mailbox. What the movie really demonstrates, though, is the genuine rapport between Bullock and Reeves; Reeves, though handsome, has a wooden presence--but in his few scenes with Bullock, his stiffness transforms into a palpable yearning. On-screen chemistry is slippery and hard to define, but these two have it.