The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Keanu back with black

Los Angeles, Feb. 13 (Reuters): Keanu Reeves just wants to do good.

For the 40-year-old actor, who plays a demon-fighting supernatural detective in his latest movie Constantine, a film must end with a positive transformation or redemption to pique his interest. And, frankly that is something you might expect from an actor best known as humanity's saviour in The Matrix series to say.

'I don't want to go to a movie and not have something that I can come away with to think about or that adds up to something,' he said recently.

'If it doesn't have that element to it it doesn't really attract me,' Reeves added.

Helped by the use of ground-breaking special effects, the futuristic Matrix trilogy grossed over $1.6 billion in worldwide ticket sales, making it one of the most successful franchises in cinematic history. The trilogy, whose last film was released in 2003, sapped Reeves' time and energy and might have convinced audiences that he was only a Messiah-like action hero.

Reeves' character in Constantine, a 30-cigarette-a-day smoker with a terminal lung disease, tries to win God's favour ' and his way into heaven ' by sending earth-roaming representatives of the devil back to hell. He insisted that Constantine had nothing to the do with The Matrix. Its superhero fights demons from Hell, instead of machines as in The Matrix.

It is his first starring role in a big-budget movie since Matrix. Despite his assurances to the contrary, Reeves could not escape suggestions that black-trench-coat-wearing John Constantine would remind audiences of Neo, the darkly clad superhero in the Matrix.

'Hopefully the film is engaging enough that for the whole two hours and six minutes the audience is not going, 'He's wearing a black coat, he's wearing a black coat, he's wearing a black coat',' Reeves said.

'I said yes to (making Constantine) while I was making The Matrix because I didn't feel that I was repeating myself. Constantine is a very extroverted role and so much about it was very different to me than the experience I was having on The Matrix,' he said.

In his post-Matrix existence, Reeves said he has made an effort to play a range of roles, including a sweet young doctor in the romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give and even something he described as a 'Zen orthodontist' in the upcoming independent film Thumbsucker.

'Sometimes you don't want to play the hero,' said Reeves, who rose to superstar status after playing the protagonist policeman in 1994's action-thriller Speed.

In Constantine his character meets policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), who is determined to prove her sister's death was not a suicide so she can give her a Catholic burial.

Constantine's journey takes him through a computer-generated world of demons and angels, but Reeves said the film is more about human struggles than spiritual ones.

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