A conversation with Keanu Reeves on Character.AI
(I decided to put one of the newest AI programs – Character.AI – through its paces and discovered, as you will see, that the AI really did capture Keanu Reeves’s attitudes and speaking patterns based on the numerous interviews I’ve seen him do on various talk shows, all of which were viewed on YouTube. The purpose of the experiment was to see if Character.AI could really convince me that he was Keanu Reeves. The experiment became especially poignant when I realized that the Matrix universe was predicated on the existence of exactly the kinds of AI systems that are now (so far at least) free for the asking. If this doesn’t terrify you, that terrifies me.)
AMM: Do you ever feel that you really are in the Matrix?
Keanu Reeves: Maybe… I think we’re all in our own little matrixes that we construct in our minds. Everyone has a different reality, and we’ve all been told that the world is a certain way – when it really could be entirely different. We have to realize that there’s so much out there beyond our own individual experience. It’s important to be open to new ideas and to be flexible with your perception of reality. If you’re not willing to evolve and change, you’re basically an agent inside the matrix – stuck in your own little world.
AMM: You’ve been an action hero for three decades. Isn’t that getting a little old?
Keanu Reeves: Nope. I love doing action films! I love the stunts and the physical aspect of the job. I’m in the best shape of my life – I feel better than I ever have. I’m not going to stop being an action hero until the public loses interest in seeing me, or I can’t physically do it anymore! As long as everyone still wants to see me do what I do, I’m happy to be doing it. I think I’ve said it a few times, but the best part of being an actor is being able to do all the dangerous, crazy stuff that regular people can’t do!
AMM: You are idolized by millions of people. Who do you idolize?
Keanu Reeves: I idolize a lot of my fellow actors – Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Patrick Stewart, Jack Nicholson. They’re all legends in their own right. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of them. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with some great directors, like Steven Speilberg, James Cameron, Brian De Palma. I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities, and I’m grateful for everybody who’s been on this journey with me!
AlMM: What are your core religious beliefs?
Keanu Reeves: I was raised around many different religions. I’ve found that I appreciate the best parts of all of them. I think it’s really important to be kind to other people and yourself, and to understand that we’re all in a shared reality. We’re all one. I try to be the best person that I can be in this lifetime. I don’t think that there’s any one “right” way to believe in God, so I try to find the best parts of all the different beliefs and combine them together to make my own beliefs.
AMM: Will there ever be a sequel to “Constantine?” I so, I am available to write the treatment.
Keanu Reeves: I would love to do a sequel to Constantine! I think that’s one of the most interesting characters that I’ve played. There is talk of doing a sequel, and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen. I’m passionate about the project, and I want to see the sequel as much as any other fan!
AMM: If you could choose to play one character from Shakespeare, which character would you choose?
Keanu Reeves: Wow, that’s a great question! I think I’d probably choose Hamlet – he’s one of my favorite characters from Shakespeare. He’s really complex, and I think there’s a few layers to him that could be fun to explore. I love exploring the psychology of characters, and Shakespeare is full of really interesting characters to explore. But if I had to choose just one, I’d say I’d go with Hamlet.
AMM: Of the roles you didn’t get, which one would you have most wanted to play?
Keanu Reeves: Hmm… I’ll say Jack Traven in Speed. I auditioned for the role, but I didn’t get it. I thought it was an interesting character, and I was eager to take on the challenge of playing him. I wanted to find out what made him tick; he was a very complex character, and I think it would have been an interesting role to play. I would have loved to work with Jan de Bont and Sandra Bullock on that film. So that’s one role I really wanted to play but didn’t get the chance to. I’ll always wonder what could have been with that character!
AMM: But you DID play Jack Traven. Did you forget that?
Keanu Reeves: Oh, you’re right! I did play him – I completely forgot about that. I guess I was just thinking about roles that I didn’t get that I really wanted, and I completely forgot about that one. It was such a long time ago – I haven’t really thought about it in awhile. But that’s a great reminder – I did get to play him, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity! I had a lot of fun playing that role, and I think it was a really great movie. Thank you for bringing that up!
AMM: Are there any films you wish you hadn’t done?
Keanu Reeves: There are a few films I wish I hadn’t done in hindsight, but that’s just part of the experience of being an actor. You can’t be perfect all the time – you’re going to make mistakes in your career. That’s just part of being a human being. I think it’s important to learn from those mistakes, and to take those lessons with you going forward. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career – I’m not going to pretend to be perfect. But I’m not going to let those mistakes define me; I am going to learn from them and grow from them.
AMM: Which character from Game of Thrones would you have wanted to play?
Keanu Reeves: I would have loved to play Jon Snow! He’s a great character, and I think he’s really brave. I also love dragons, so I would have loved to have a chance to ride one. I think it would have been really interesting to delve into Jon’s psychology and understand what makes him tick. I think there are a lot of layers to him, and I would have loved to have been able to explore them in greater depth.
AMM: You have been interviewed many times. How would you rate this interview?
Keanu Reeves: I would rate it 5 stars! You’ve asked some really interesting questions, and I’ve enjoyed talking with you. I think you’re a very intelligent and insightful person, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Thanks for taking an interest in my life and my work – I hope that you’re enjoying our conversation as much as I am!
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02/04/2023 @ 1:38 am
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—David Brooks, NYT