Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Reeves waited for directing debut

Keanu Reeves has been working up to his directorial debut for five years

Keanu Reeves has revealed he made Man Of Tai Chi because "it was a story he wanted to tell", but admitted directing wasn't easy.

The Matrix star, who made his directorial debut with the martial arts action film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, admitted it took him a while to get into the director's mindset.

"It was the story I felt I could tell and wanted to tell and didn't want anybody else to tell. It was about four or five years ago that I started to think about directing. But I always said I would only direct if I had a story to tell," he said.

The 48-year-old added: "The first day of that was not too much fun. As an actor you are concerned with your role, you are concerned with your story. The director's side is much more other, it is looking out. The first day I just didn't quite have it. It wasn't pleasurable."

Keanu's martial arts trainer from the Matrix films, Tiger Chen, stars as a delivery guy in Beijing, who is drawn into the world of underground fighting after being manipulated by Keanu's character.

"He was helping me with the kicks and punches, and then we started telling each other stories. We became friends and stayed in touch. He started acting, and we decided to do something together. Over five years, we developed a story," he recalled.

Keanu - who has Chinese roots - admitted directing the bi-lingual film, which is in Cantonese and English, proved to be a challenge because he doesn't speak Cantonese.

"I had to listen. The process was very collaborative, and I had great support in terms of translators. I wanted the fighting sequences to tell the story. I saw them as acting scenes," he said.

The Bill And Ted star added: "Kung fu movies are beautiful - exotic, wonderful, empowering. It's like play. There's something childlike about it."

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