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star struck

Devil of a time
Keanu Reeves swaps the computers of the Matrix for infernal demons in Constantine

By Chris Betros
Courtesy of warner brosa

You’d think that after making the three Matrix movies, Keanu Reeves would have had enough of fighting unearthly forces. Apparently not. In Constantine, the 40-year-old star (yes, he’s 40) plays John Constantine, a globetrotting, chain-smoking supernatural detective investigating why thousands of people have slipped into comas. Having literally been to hell and back, he now must battle soldier demons and make deals with heavenly representatives to save his own over-mortgaged soul.

“I liked the character of the story. He’s original,” said Reeves, expanding beyond the monosyllabic answers he usually gives when he meets the press. “He knows a lot about the world, but not enough about himself. He is condemned to hell and is searching for a way out. It’s a great film, a mixing of genres like horror, mystery and comedy. It turned out to be everything I hoped it would be when I started it.”

Directed by first-timer Francis Lawrence, Constantine is based on the 1980s comic book Hellblazer. The catchphrase is “Hell wants him. Heaven won’t take him. Earth needs him,” which means we get to see a lot of hell, courtesy of Lawrence’s imagination and the best computer-generated imaging that money can buy. As for hell itself, Reeves said he doesn’t have any personal vision of what it or heaven might be like.

Constantine reunites Reeves with Rachel Weisz, nine years after they made Chain Reaction. The 34-year-old British actress is philosophical about the existence of heaven and hell. “I think of it as a state of mind that we create here on Earth,” she said. “Looking at the finished version of the film, hell is certainly more visually interesting than anything I could ever imagine.” On working again with Reeves, Weisz expressed amazement at how down-to-earth he remained in view of his Matrix fame. “He was so unchanged by the stratospheric global success of the Matrix series. I felt so comfortable with him.”

There is already talk of a sequel to Constantine, but Lawrence, a former music video director, said it is too early to consider it. “We have to wait and see if people like this one,” he said. “This was my first film and I felt a lot of pressure because, after all, the film has to succeed.”

There were times during filming when the cast and crew thought supernatural forces were working against them and if they might not be better off calling the Ghostbusters. Apparently, paranormal activity was going on inside sound stage No. 16 at Warner Bros Hollywood lot. Over the years, similar stories have spread about spooky vibes when The Exorcist and Poltergeist were filmed. Lawrence said that one room seemed to have a bad effect on everyone, causing some to get sick and others to get angry during the six-week shoot. Other than that, everyone had a devil of a good time.



the scene

GARB PINTINO
new restaurant opens with a bang in front of tokyo tower

Clockwise from left: DJ Tomoyuki Tanaka provides the soundtrack; designers Yasumichi Morita and Shin Azumi with the restaurant’s owner, Hirohisa Sato; creative director Raymon with Garb Pintino manager DaisukeSasahara

 

 

Q&A

Washington Stecanela Cerqueira
Goal-Oriented Striker Prepares Himself for a Big Game This Week

The new center-forward for J. League’s Tokyo Verdy 1969, Washington Stecanela Cerqueira has wowed audiences around the world with his goal-scoring abilities.

Where are you from?
Brasîlia, Brazil.

When did you start playing soccer?
I’ve been kicking a ball around from as far back as I can remember.

How many hours a day do you practice?
About two hours a day, plus extra training for specific areas that I feel lacking in.

What was your worst injury?
I haven’t had any bad injuries playing soccer. I had to stop playing for about 18 months to have heart surgery twice. My supporters gave me the nickname “Braveheart” when I began playing again last year and was the top scorer.

What do you do on your days off?
I rest or go to the park with my daughter.

Any other sports you like to play or watch?
I play tennis on my days off and I like to watch F1.

If you weren’t a soccer star, what would you like to do?
I can’t imagine being anything other than a soccer player.

Of all of the teams in the world, why did you choose Tokyo Verdy 1969?
I got an excellent impression of the country when I came to Japan in 2001 as a member of the Brazilian team. Verdy was very enthusiastic about asking me to play for them.

What are your goals for the J. League and your future as a soccer player?
I want to my team to be J. League champions. My first step toward achieving this goal is to try to score three goals this week in the match against Albirex Niigata at the Kasumigaoka National Stadium. One day I would like to participate in the World Cup. NU

Tokyo Verdy 1969 vs Albirex Niigata, Apr 23, 4pm, National Stadium, Sendagaya. Live on SkyPerfecTV, replayed on TBS (channel 6) at 2:50am.

Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

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