I loved ‘The Day The Earth…’ in black and white: Keanu Reeves (Interview)December 7th, 2008 - 9:59 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) It was a childhood fantasy come true for Hollywood heartthrob Keanu Reeves when he was asked to star as the lead in the remake of the 1951 sci-fi thriller “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, which he thoroughly enjoyed watching on TV as a teenager in the early 1980s.”I saw it first when I was 14 or 15 on a black and white TV and I loved it. I remember as a young boy enjoying the spectacle, the drama, the flying saucer, the scary music, and the power when everything stopped in the world. But watching it (the film) again, I observed the sly and clever social commentary about the media and the world,” Keanu told IANS in an e-mail interview.
In the movie, Keanu portrays Klaatu, an iconic alien messenger in human form whose arrival on Earth triggers a global upheaval as governments and scientists race to unravel the mystery behind the extra-terrestrial’s visit.
Directed by Scott Derickson of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” fame, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is being released worldwide on Dec 12.
Besides Keanu, it also stars Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith and John Cleese in pivotal roles.
Known for his disapproval of remakes, Keanu was impressed by the new interpretation and script for the film, which he deemed to be a “reimagining”. He even spent many weeks giving advice on the script and making Klaatu’s transition from an alien in human form to one who appreciates human emotions and beliefs in a subtle manner.
Throwing light on his character, the 44-year-old actor said: “Klaatu has a wonderful sort of ease about him. He has a quality to him. You (audiences) will believe his naturalistic bemusement and also his frustrations.”
While the original, directed by Robert Wise, dealt with Cold War themes like nuclear warfare and delivered a pertinent message about the lack of international cooperation and the subsequent dangers, the remake highlights the more contemporary issue of global warming.
“This new film is a cautionary tale about human survival on the precipice and our relationship to the planet. It’s about the human character, human nature, the fact that it is only when our backs are up against the wall that we do anything to change our behaviour,” said the Lebanese born Canadian-American actor.
“It is about the apocalyptic tendencies that we have. It seems man has an extinction impulse and the film looks at this big question. The film takes the position that fear on fear (compounding fear with more fear) isn’t necessarily the best answer.
“We need compassion and we have to think globally. We have to consider the impact we are having on each other and the planet and all we need is love to do that,” he added.
Keanu began his acting career at the age of nine on stage in a production of “Damn Yankees”. He made his screen acting debut in a CBC Television comedy series, “Hangin’ In” (1981) and kept on appearing in commercials, short films and stage shows throughout the early 1980s before getting his first studio movie appearance in Peter Markle’s ice hockey film “Youngblood” (1986).
Some of his most notable works include “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”, “Point Break”, “Speed”, “A Walk in the Clouds”, “The Devil’s Advocate”, “The Matrix” trilogy, “Sweet November” and “Constantine”.
Keanu will be next seen in Rebecca Miller’s drama “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee”, which is scheduled to be released in 2009.