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Street Kings in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Street Kings

THE STARS:
Keanu Reeves • Forest Whitaker • Hugh Laurie • Chris Evans
DIRECTOR: David Ayer

Keanu Reeves THE CONCEPT:
When evidence implicates Tom Ludlow (Reeves), a veteran LAPD cop, in the execution of his former partner, he sets out to find the real murderers responsible and bring them to justice. With the help of a young Robbery Homicide Detective, Paul Diskant (Evans), both are forced to go up against the cop culture they’ve been a part of their entire careers.

U.S. RELEASE: April 11 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

DAVID AYER:
“I know LA, I know law enforcement, I know cops, I know gangs, and that gives me the confidence I need to really explore performance within that arena. Having said that, I’m absolutely up for some Science Fiction now.”

REEVES on what he learned about the weapons training he did for the movie:
Keanu Reeves“What I learned is you have to practice, practice, practice. I needed a lot of practice, I wasn’t very good. I just wanted to be able to look like I knew what I was doing, so I just practiced, learning great techniques, some footwork and different kinds of reloads.”

FOREST WHITAKER (Captain Jack Wander):
Hugh Laurie and Forest Whitaker“I thought this was a really interesting character to play, I liked his conflicting moral code, and the power that he possesses. In the [confrontational] scene with Hugh Laurie my character is protecting Tom (Reeves), he’s messing with my kid. I went in making sure that I set this guy straight as to what the rules really are, what my rules are; if you don’t live by them, I will deal with you. Hugh and I hadn’t worked together before, so we just went in and went at it. He’s a really nice guy.”

CHRIS EVANS:
Chris Evans“Paul Diskant’s a guy whose older brother was probably a golden boy; probably valedictorian, quarterback, charming with the ladies, object of his parents’ affection. I think he’s lived in the shadow for a lot of his life and has something to prove, so becoming a cop just felt like a clean, pure, earnest way to be the best he can be free of judgment. He’s upholding the law and [with] the notion of corruptions he couldn’t help but become invested.”

REEVES on how his sees the police now that he’s done the movie:
“I have a deeper appreciation for them, a deeper appreciation for the person in the uniform; some of the things and the stories that I’ve heard [make me] have a real deep respect for them. I think with the experience of this film I got to have a greater knowledge of what [their life is] like outside of the job. It’s not an easy job to live with, it comes home with you.”

AYERS:
“I think it was Stephen King who said, what fans think actors are is fiction. Everyone’s perception of who an actor is is really fiction unless you know that individual personally. Maybe we all have a certain idea of who Keanu is or what kind of guy he is. When I met him in person I discovered a very thoughtful, intelligent, deep thinker, kind, warm, charismatic guy. He was also a little bit shy. I realized what he has been doing over his career are very shrewd roles. That’s absolutely not who he is. The guy has an astounding work ethic, when we were doing firearms training it was in the pouring rain and freezing, and he kept going for four hours, he wasn’t going to quit, he put himself through a lot to do this film.”

WHITAKER on what surprised him about working with Keanu:
“I think that he’s got a strong place of emotion, which was interesting because some of our scenes are so intense. I liked the connection that we ended up having, not just the final scenes but all the way through he was able to carry the energy of that character. That was something that scared me, because I hadn’t seen him play a character quite like this before. Maybe he has, maybe I’m not aware of all of his work, but for me this was quite unique.”

EVANS:
“Keanu’s an intense dude. There’s no denying it. It’s nice coming to work with someone who, when they’re at work, they’re working. When you stand up to Keanu you almost feel that he might knock you out. He’s an intense guy, not just as an actor, in life. There were a lot of comedians and rappers [on this film] and it’s very easy to [goof off], but Keanu is who he is, Keanu [doesn’t make jokes], he’s just Keanu and it’s infectious. It’s an attractive quality to be who you are at all times.”

AYERS:
“I went for a naturalistic execution of the action. I wanted to go for a ‘70s less-stylized sort of organic action feel with this. There’s a car crash in the movie and we actually put the actors, instead of the stunt doubles, into cars and smashed them together. That made the producers a little nervous. Keanu did all of his own stunts, which is amazing. Pretty much every actor did their own stunts which I believe helps the reality of the movie.”

REEVES:
“I’m an actor and it’s all make-believe, but the imagining of this world steeped in violence can be intoxicating. Violence is an elemental force and acting it out has a weird illusion of control. Ludlow is lashing out and using violence to get to the truth, but as someone says in the film, ‘Blood doesn’t wash away blood.’ In the end, violence doesn’t change anything.”

 David Ayer and Keanu Reeves

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #695, May 2008 cover

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