Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reinvention: Keanu Reeves

Very nice, but that bring-it-on beckon isn’t the whole of Kung Fu. Take a seat and we’ll get started.

Why are you eyeing my spoon like that? If it turns up missing, I’m going to be pissed. It’s pure platinum, not to mention my favorite spoon. Stir my tea with it, see?

I know you were trying to bend it. Now, please, sit.

Damn it, I’ll take both pills if it makes you sit down and stop moving. In fact, give me all your pills. Empty your pockets. The office staff loves pills. You’ll be a big hit. Come on.

That all? Good. Now let’s play a game. You sit down and pretend I’m someone who can be nice and save your career.

That’s excellent. You’re very good at games. Now let’s see if we can apply that to your acting.

As always, let’s start with a positive. You’re a very consistent actor. Whether it’s action, romance, comedy, sci-fi, you’re the same in every movie. We hate to ruin that for you, but we must.

Thing is, the Bill and Ted movies are done. Speed, too. We’ve seen them. Some people even liked them. However, it’s time to stretch for something new. You are the only one who can save us from any more still-born dialogue.

This is where we can make it a game.

Okay, now try it. Strike up a conversation with that chair next to you.

Go ahead. Improvise. Just regular old human conversation. Like people do.

Well, I suppose there is a certain complexity to the chair. So let’s get a feel for the emotion the chair emits. What kind of vibes are you getting?

Right, good, and now you try to one-up it, take the emotion to the next level. It’s a game, remember?

Yeah, sure, that was okay, I guess. Next time maybe a little more inflection. This is where tone of voice goes up or down, sometimes both in the same line. It gives the illusion of emotion. Go home and work on that.

Any old chair will do. Or a lamp, that might work. Feel free to mix it up. Don't be afraid to try new things.

Right. As far as work goes, something will come up, I’m sure. We’ll call you.

And something else that might help, Mr. Reeves—don’t rehearse lines with Stephen Hawking anymore. The voice synthesizer is fun, but it’s not doing you any good.

first published at, November 4, 2005

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