Our Japanese reporter refrained from saying “excellent” when he met the Hollywood star, but what he said instead was equally embarrassing.
When a famous Hollywood actor comes to Tokyo to promote their new movie, they sit down for one-on-one interviews with a number of big-name media outlets, and more often than not, our very own humble news site is on that list.
Last month, it was time for Keanu Reeves to meet up with a member of our fun-loving team of Japanese-language reporters, and after a serious game of janken at the office, it was Seiji Nakazawa who came out triumphant as the one who would be interviewing the actor during his press junket in Tokyo.
▼ Reeves was in town to promote his new film, John Wick: Chapter 2.
Rubbing shoulders with well-known celebrities is something that comes naturally to our Japanese-language reporters, given that they’re working with Mr Sato every day, so when Seiji arrived for the interview at the Tokyo hotel where Reeves was staying, he decided to enjoy the comforts of the designated media waiting room instead of bothering to run through any pre-prepared questions.
When it came his turn to enter the interview room and come face to face with the star of John Wick: Chapter 2 and its director, Chad Stahelski, our lackadaisical reporter found himself lost for words in their presence.
According to Seiji, Keanu had “really calm, puppy dog eyes and when I looked into them, I felt like I really wanted this person to like me”.
If he wanted Keanu to like him, perhaps he should have been more diligent in his research, because the next thing Nakazawa said to the star was:
“You were the executive producer on the first John Wick film, but only an actor in the second film. Was that because you were guilty of doing something?”
To which Reeves replied:
“Seriously? Was I the executive producer?”
This response forced Seiji out of his reverie, as he finally managed to tear his gaze away from the actor’s “stunning” eyes long enough to mumble,
“I did some research and found that kind of data…”
Reeves seemed amused by our reporter’s question, saying again:
“Seriously? How come I have no recollection of being treated as an executive producer in the first film?”
At this point, the director, Chad Stahelski, stepped in to say:
“Keanu is not just an actor; he participates in discussions about the script and helps out with rehearsals and locations. When we come up with ideas for things, he acts like an adviser, so it’s like he’s a member of the producing team.
Keanu was also the one who helped get David Leitch on board for both films as executive producer. Keanu’s contributions to the creative process have been immeasurable. I was so glad for his help, but Keanu’s too modest to say any of this.”
Seiji breathed a sigh of relief, happy to know that his statement wasn’t entirely unfounded, and though Reeves was never officially credited as an Executive Producer on either film, the good-hearted star enjoyed ribbing Seiji for his question.
Despite being branded a quiet, reclusive type by the press, after Seiji heard that Reeves was a collaborative member of the team who was actually responsible for bringing people together behind the scenes, he began to see the Hollywood star in a whole new light.
After bidding farewell to the actor, and his charming puppy-dog eyes, Seiji left the interview room with a spring in his step, actually thankful for his blunder, which seemed to lighten the mood in the room, and probably left an impression on the star, who was sitting through a long line of interviews that day.
With John Wick: Chapter 2 coming to cinemas across Japan on 7 July, Seiji only has a couple more sleeps to go before he gets to see the film star again, this time on the big screen.
Hopefully our reporter pays attention so he can prepare more accurate questions for the Hollywood actor in case they ever happen to cross paths again in the future. Provided he can tear his gaze away from Reeves’ puppy dog eyes, of course.