Thursday, April 24, 2008

Keanu Reeves in Korea

Keanu Reeves Faces Korean Press

Hollywood star Keanu Reeves was in Korea this week to promote his latest movie, Street Kings,with a press conference Thursday.
His visit got off to a slow start amid criticism from fans when he arrived at the airport on Wednesday. Contrary to reports that Reeves had decided to visit despite his busy schedule because he simply had to meet his Korean fans, he was busy hiding, disappointing reporters and fans who had been waiting for more than an hour at the arrivals gate at Incheon International Airport by slipping quietly out of the airport.

Keanu Reeves greets fans at the Korean premiere of his new movie,Street Kings, at the I-Park Mall in Yongsan, Seoul, on Thursday evening.

The film's distributor, 20th Century Fox Korea, did little to calm tempers. Not only did it distribute a notice asking reporters not to write about lines in the film's first part that disparage Koreans but tried to extract a written undertaking. Given that the lines are not as explicit in disparaging Koreans as Falling Down with Michael Douglas and the part serves to explain the character, Fox's demand was taken as overly patronizing.

At the press conference, Reeves made up some lost ground by saying "thank you" and "hello" in Korean and calling local dish grilled beef with lettuce "fantastic". Asked what he thinks about the first scene where his character Tom Ludlow insults a Korean gang, Reeves agreed that the first scene was "pretty shocking", but added the aim had been to make a "hard" movie. He expressed hope Koreans won't take it personally. He stressed that the people in the movie are characters and, in insulting the Korean gangster, Reeves¡ Tom is deliberately trying to provoke him to achieve his ends. Characters in the film are doing far worse things, he added.

Street Kings¡± is an action noir revolving around Reeves, veteran LAPD cop whose job is to deal with street gangs. He is forced to go up against the cop culture when he is suspected of the murder of a fellow officer. In the beginning, Tom rounds up a Korean gang and, during the course, delivers lines suggesting racism while talking to a colleague played by Forest Whitaker.

Having consolidated his star status with the "Matrix" series, Reeves is shooting his next film with director Rebecca Miller, which he described as a more "naturalistic" project. He added, "I don't know what the future will bring, but -- and here he touched wood -- hopefully it's good things.

cr: digital chosunilbo


When I heard the news that Keanu Reeves was in Korea to promote his new movie, I was a bit surprised. Now i know that probably the main reason why he chose Korea over other Asian countries is that the film distributor just wanted to make some damage control. Knowing how Koreans can be so nationalistic, i bet an insult to koreans in a movie will lead to a huge public outcry.

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