9 Ekim 2010 Cumartesi

Keanu Reeves speaks on Saturday during a Woodstock Film Festival

 Keanu Reeves, recipient of Woodstock Film Festival Excellence in Acting Award.

Pics: Woodstock Film Festival Awards Ceremony
 Keanu Reeves, recipient of the Woodstock Film Festival Excellence in Acting Award, with the award presenter, actordirector Vera Farmiga.
Pics: Woodstock Film Festival Awards Ceremony
 Keanu Reeves, recipient of Woodstock Film Festival Excellence in Acting Award.

Pics: Woodstock Film Festival Awards Ceremony
Keanu Reeves: The Face of Woodstock?
by Eric Kohn (Updated 14 hours, 11 minutes ago)

Over the last eleven years, the Woodstock Film Festival has honored numerous movers and shakers from across the spectrum of the international film community, but few guests have turned as many heads as Keanu Reeves. The recipient of Woodstock’s inaugural Honorary Excellence in Acting Award, Reeves made a surprisingly personable visit to the festival over the weekend. Sans publicist or limousine as he strode down Woodstock’s quaint center of town, a prototypical Hollywood face came down to Earth.

At the festival’s awards ceremony on Saturday night, Reeves accepted his honor from a very pregnant Vera Farmiga, accepting it “on behalf of myself and everyone I’ve ever worked with,” which sounded like an acknowledgment of Woodstock itself for plugging his latest endeavor. Slipping away from the New York City production of Mark Mann’s “Generation Um…,” Reeves journeyed upstate to spend two days in Woodstock for the U.S. premiere of “Henry’s Crime,” an understated comedy directed by Malcolm Venville from a screenplay originally conceived by Sasha Gervasi, whose last outing was the heavy metal documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil.”

Despite Reeves’ celebrity, “Henry’s Crime” has very few Hollywood attributes. It’s a romance posing as a heist movie with hardly any violence and no death. As the titular character, Reeves plays an uninspired tollbooth attendant whose salvation from boredom arrives when he gets imprisoned for a bank robbery he didn’t commit, allowing for a handy exit strategy from his aimless marriage and generally purposeless existence.

Once out of jail, he enlists the help of a former cellmate (James Caan) to commit an actual bank robbery, guided by the dubious logic that, having done the time, he might as well commit the crime. Eventually, he finds a new romantic interest in struggling actress Julie (Farmiga), which naturally leads him to question his illegal goal. The story builds to a farcical conclusion in which Reeves, masked by a false beard, confronts Farmiga onstage and ad libs a new finale to Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.”

Enjoyably lighthearted and marked by comedic wordplay reminiscent of early Hal Hartley, “Henry’s Crime” sports a vintage Reeves performance, displaying his deadpan talents in constant close-ups. It makes sense, then, that the actor played a key role in bring it to fruition. The movie represents the first completed feature from Company Films, the production company that Reeves launched with Stephen Hamel nearly a decade ago. As a first-time producer, Reeves said he went to “the Lemore Syvan film school,” crediting the “Henry’s Crime” co-producer whose previous credits include “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” and “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.”

If Reeves was a disciple of the indie world, he did his homework. During a roving half hour conversation with indieWIRE on Sunday, the actor struck an inspiring tone when discussing his intention of getting “Henry’s Crime” seen. “Right now, we’re in the battle of trying to get domestic distribution,” he said. “In this changing economy, a lot of traditional routes have been constricted.” Having left the Toronto International Film Festival without securing a theatrical release for the movie, which cost under $10 million to produce, Reeves said at one point he considered releasing it himself.

“That ran across my mind,” he said. “But in order to do that, with the cost of the infrastructure, you always want someone who has experience.” He referenced the speech delivered the night before by FilmDistrict president Bob Berney, the winner of Woodstock’s Maverick Award. “It’s like what he said about being the messenger for a movie,” Reeves explained. “We need to hire someone to be our Bob Berney to get this kind of film to exhibitors.” (Syvan said they’re hoping for a March release date.)

Meanwhile, Company Films has several projects on the burner, including a screenplay titled “Bloom” written by Mark Andrus, with Scott Ellis attached to direct. He’s also developing the science fiction feature “Passengers,” in which Reeves plays the only person awake on a spacecraft containing 500 passengers—until his character chooses to wake up a woman. According to Reeves, “Passengers” represents a different kind of production hurdle. “It’s a $60 million dark romance,” he said. “It’s hard to raise that kind of dough.”

Additionally, he hopes to find time to make his directorial debut with a project tentatively “Man of Tai Chi,” with the assistance of “The Matrix” fight choreographer Tiger Chen. Reeves intends to shoot the movie in Mandarin, although he’ll play an English-speaking villain named Domico who convinces a poor young man to get involved in underground fighting.

Despite his indie efforts, Reeves still has Hollywood on his side. He plans to act in the Universal-produced samurai story “47 Ronin” next year, and spoke excitedly about the prospects of a long-awaited third installment in the “Bill and Ted” franchise. “People want me to do another one, and I think the script is worthwhile,” Reeves said. “It’s about these older guys, these positivists, who are always going against the forces of control—whether it’s the dad, the school system, time or god.” The latest version of the sequel calls upon their musical talent to save the world. “These guys are almost fifty now and trying to write the perfect song,” he explained. “They’ve neglected their children, they’ve neglected everything. They have this messianic outlook. It’s going to have to be profound in order to get made.”

Regardless of his dense schedule, Reeves insisted he would stay on board to ensure “Henry’s Crime” gets noticed. “I’ll promote it,” he said. “I’ll make time.” Of course, his presence at Woodstock represented a part of that feat. When “Henry’s Crime” premiered at Toronto, much of its exposure was buried by major awards season fare, and Reeves’s press conference was an infamously aimless affair.

At Woodstock, the movie played to enthusiastic crowds, and its identity seemed to sync with many of the small scale projects dominating the program. Woodstock’s narrative feature award winner, the gently moving British production “Stranger Things” (directed by Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal), follows a lonely woman coping with the death of her mother and forming an unlikely bond with the homeless man she discovers squatting in her dead parent’s home. Although quieter and more somber than “Henry’s Crime,” both movies epitomize the desire to tell an entirely unpredictable story without sacrificing the underlying romantic appeal of the narrative.

If it only takes one degree to connect Keanu Reeves with an ultra-low budget indie, it took even less to connect him with Woodstock’s audience. After the first screening of “Henry’s Crime,” the actor engaged in a highly amusing Q&A, happily fielding off-the-wall questions about “Point Break” and Jack Nicholson. (The biggest laughs came from an anecdote about Nicholson’s tendency to drink a lot of water before scenes where he has to cry.)

Safely hidden from the prying lens of paparazzi, Woodstock allowed Reeves to reflect on his career without the pressures of a mass audience. Asked about IMDb’s description of him as “one of the most inscrutable actors to ever hit it big,” he took an analytical approach. “That makes me feel like they must understand something about my characters,” he said. “In terms of mainstream Hollywood studio pictures—“Speed,” “Point Break,” the “Matrix” films, or even “Constantine”—I don’t really feel like those are inscrutable, but they have a strong interior life. These characters are on very internal journeys.”
Reeves said he appreciated hearing from fans at Q&As and on the street. “Obviously, you want to have your privacy, but in terms of meeting folks and saying hi, for the most part it’s a good experience,” he said. “When people seem to enjoy your work and your films, that’s easy.” Woodstock’s winning filmmakers would almost certainly agree.
[Editor’s Note: indieWIRE updated FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney’s current title after this article was originally published.]


Actor Keanu Reeves, recipient of Woodstock Film Festival Excellence in Acting Award.
Pics: Woodstock Film Festival Awards Ceremony

Keanu Reeves - the Woodstock Film Festival
October 3, 2010

Keanu Reeves charms the Woodstock Film Festival
John W. Barry • October 3, 2010

Actor Keanu Reeves charmed a sold-out crowd at Upstate Films in Woodstock Saturday, during a question-and-answer session that followed the screening of "Henry's Crime," a film in which he starred.

Reeves was engaging, funny, humble and thoughtful while taking questions from the audience during the fourth day of the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival, which concludes today. Reeves Saturday night, after his appearance in Woodstock, received the film festival's Honorary Excellence in Acting Award at the film festival's awards ceremony in Kingston.

"Henry's Crime" is about a man named Henry Smith who is framed in a bank robbery, then actually robs the bank upon his release from prison. Smith takes a role in a play because the theater is adjacent to a bank, with an old tunnel from the days of prohibition connecting the two buildings. Ulster County resident Vera Farmiga played opposite Reeves.

Reeves was hilarious, recalling his lips freezing in 12-degree weather while filming a scene at Niagara Falls. And after explaining his hopes for the film landing a distribution deal, a member of the audience said "good luck," to which Reeves responded, "what do you mean by that? I hope you mean that in a good way."

Reeves said he contributed to the script, in addition to acting in the lead role. He liked the "preposterous" situations that unfolded in the film, and likened them to the filmmakers asking the audience to believe in them.
"I called them 'asks,' 'come on with us, in this crazy situation,' " he said.
James Caan, who starred with Reeves, improvised lines during the filming, Reeves said. Caan, Reeves continued, "is a piece of work. And I mean that in a great way."

"He's a force of nature," Reeves said of Caan.
And then he joked, ""I probably wouldn't have said anything if he was here, actually."
Then Reeves turned serious about Caan.
"He's full of wonderful stories," Reeves said. "He brought such life to the set. He and Vera got along realy well."
And then came another joke: "He didn't have much fun with me."
"He really believes in a sense of camaraderie and easiness to the work," Reeves said. "And as long as you agree with him, everything is fine."


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga to attend Rosendale screening

From the Woodstock Film Festival
Although it's the last day of WFF 2010, there are still plenty of surprises coming, including the latest word that Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga will attend todays's Rosendale screening of Henry's Crime at 3pm, for the Q & A following the film.

Those of you who were present at yesterday's Woodstock screening Q & A know that Keanu is very enthusiastic about being at WFF, and that this is Vera's second visit here ( for Up in the Air last year). So we are as delighted as the Rosendale audience will be, that they have chosen to stay a little longer than planned!

Great movies today, great panels and good vibes!


Actor Keanu Reeves speaks on Saturday during a Woodstock Film Festival event at Upstate Films (formerly the Tinker Street Cinema) in Woodstock. Freeman photo by Tania Barricklo

Excellent venture: Reeves revels in latest role (with film clip)

Published: Sunday, October 03, 2010

Freeman staff

WOODSTOCK — While wrongfully imprisoned for armed robbery, Keanu Reeves’ character in “Henry’s Crime” is told that if he’s doing the time, he might as well have done the crime.

Henry, played by Reeves, takes the comment to heart and, upon his release, decides to rob the bank he was jailed for robbing — a decision that Reeves said “activated” his character and others around him.

Speaking at a question-and-answer period following a screening of the movie on Saturday at Upstate Films in Woodstock, Reeves described “Henry’s Crime” as “an existential ‘rom-com’ (romantic comedy) keeper movie.”

Before being arrested, Henry was a toll collector. His love interest, Julie, played by Ulster County resident Vera Farmiga, who also has appeared “The Departed” and “Up in the Air,” laughs at him in one scene, saying Henry is forced to watch everyone else go places while he sits in his booth.

Reeves — known for his roles in “Speed,” “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “The Matrix” series — said all the characters in “Henry’s Crime” are metaphorically stuck in their own toll booths, and Henry’s plan to rob the bank helps them move forward.

For example, Henry’s cellmate, Max, played by James Caan — who played Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather” and whom Reeves described as “a force of nature” — is content to sabotage his own parole hearings because he doesn’t want to leave prison, until Henry tells him he needs help with the robbery.

Reeves told the Woodstock Film Festival audience on Saturday that he and a partner had been developing “Henry’s Crime” for four-and-a-half years. (Reeves was invited to the festival to receive its Excellence in Acting award Saturday night.)

“Henry’s Crime” is set in Buffalo, which Reeves said writer Sacha Gervasi picked because he felt “the city had a kind of glory in its past and because of circumstances so much had changed.”

The filmmakers always intended for the movie to be a comedy, Reeves said, and the types of humor range from wordplay to “preposterous situations.”

While his crew prepares to rob the bank, Henry is cast as one of the main characters in Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” opposite the character played by Farmiga, who Reeves noted was eight months pregnant with her second child when an audience member asked why she was not at Saturday’s screening.

Reeves told the audience he had never performed Chekhov, but he had done Shakespeare.

The audience also asked Reeves a question about the 1991 film “Point Break” and what working with Jack Nicholson was like.

Reeves called Nicholson “the most charming, smart person in the world” and said in any given film, “if he had 12 takes, there would be 12 different versions and they’d all be right in some way.”

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