Keanu Reeves on the small screen
Keanu Reeves, star of such hit movies as The Matrix (a Dharma cult classic) and Speed, recorded his introductions to Dharma Vision’s Mongolian series while he was in San Francisco to film scenes from the two upcoming Matrix sequels.
He said that although he has no “formal Buddhist practice,” playing the part of Prince Siddartha in the film Little Buddha left a strong impression on him.
“When I played this innocent prince who starts to suspect something when he has the first revelations about old age, sickness and death, it hit me. It’s something they speak about all the time…but we forget — we want to forget. That lesson has never left me,” he said. “Most of the things I’ve come away with from Buddhism have been human — understanding feelings, impermanence, and trying to understand other people and where they’re coming from.”
Described by Matrix co-stars as Zen-like and a man with not an ounce of movie-star ego in him, Reeves talked about the responsibility he feels in choosing roles as an actor. “I want to say something about life, even if the film is fantasy. For instance, Speed was completely ridiculous and fun, but there’s something about my character that’s noble.
“But I’ve also played characters like in the film The Last Time I Committed Suicide, a character who was self-destructive and alcoholic. But that dark quality is just another part of life, too. My character helps teach the main character about his nature — helps him develop and transform. I hope that film as artwork can bring transformation, and can show the contrast between dark and light. I hope the films can help, entertain, provoke.”
The 26-part television series, Preserving Mongolian Culture: Buddhism is being aired in the Mongolian capital Ulaan Baatar. The first nine shows were hosted by Richard Gere and covered the Four Noble Truths and the Three Principles of the Path, while Keanu Reeves is hosting the following seven programs, which cover Lama Tsong Khapa’s Lam Rim Chenmo teachings on the gradual path to enlightenment.