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Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder Discuss A Scanner Darkly

Reeves and Ryder Reunite for A Scanner Darkly


Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder Discuss A Scanner Darkly

Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder in A Scanner Darkly.

© Warner Independent Pictures
Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder team up for the first time since Dracula (1992) for A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater and based on the novel by Philip K Dick. The story follows Reeves as Bob Arctor, an undercover cop ordered to spy on his druggie friends in an effort to stop the use of Substance D. Bob soon finds himself addicted to the mind-altering drug and unable to separate his true identity with his undercover one. Winona Ryder co-stars as his pusher girlfriend who has her own identity issues.

The Appeal of A Scanner Darkly: “I think it’s got a lot to offer to the viewer about cautionary commentary to the world that we live in, and that was the grand inspiration,” said Reeves. “As a character, it’s very interesting to play someone who wants to change their life and have him change it.”

What Sets Philip K Dick’s Work Apart: Keanu Reeves explained why he finds Dick’s stories so compelling. “He tells great stories. I think I relate to the situations that I find his characters in. I love his writing. He’s wickedly funny. He’s got brutal irony. I like the context of his stories of not of the little guy, but people in situations that all of a sudden are not what they seem. His stories tell about fights of the individual against forces beyond their control, and then being manipulated by them. He tells really good romantic stories. He writes really cool woman. There’s a kind of flesh and blood. People are angry, people are needy, people are greedy, people are scared and I find I relate to the worlds that he writes.”

Winona Ryder Has a Special History with Philip K Dick: “My godfather (Timothy Leary) was actually roommates with him briefly,” said Ryder. “I gave Rick [the director] a note that he left.” According to Ryder, the note very simply said, “Tim, I’m moving out. You won’t see me for a long time. Phil.”

Ryder continued. “When I was really little apparently I met a lot of really interesting, great people. I wish I could remember because it would be great, but at the time they were grown-ups to me. He was always sort of part of the circle of the crowd that my dad and mom are in, a large [literary circle]. I think I read him really early on and I always hoped… I never thought there would be an adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, but I always hoped that there would be [and] maybe I would get a chance to be in it.” Ryder added, “My dad actually has this jacket of his in his closet. I think my dad was pretty close to him. He gets very misty when he talks about him.”

The Film's Undercover Surveillance Plot and Modern American: Asked how much of the storyline relates to America today, Reeves answered, “The film’s got a lot of commentary and cautionary aspects to it, so I think absolutely, I think it’s probably something that all cities have to deal with. I think it’s coming.”

Ryder offered, “It was really weird at the time watching the news because there are things happening that were like Halliburton, all of that. To me it’s really eerie how relevant it is politically and socially. I’m really happy to be a part of a movie like that, aside from just loving the movie as a personal story. I thought Philip K Dick was really, really on the money when he wrote it. It’s amazing what he predicted. And to me, and I’m just speaking for me, I just think it’s a terrifying time right now in this country and in the world. But I thought [director Richard Linklater] said something interesting: ‘The more terrifying it gets, the more people do find humor and people just become sheep when it gets terrifying.’”

Ryder really connected to the story. “To have such a personal [story] and a love story for me, and identity, all this stuff within that is so rare, you don’t see that in movies. It’s a great way to tell a story and get great backdrop, but a really important [topic]. I think that is what the movie’s about.”

Into the Future with Winona Ryder: After a bit of a break from acting, Ryder’s back to being busy in front of the camera. She’s currently filming Sex and Death 101 with writer/director Daniel Waters, the writer of the twisted teen angst movie, Heathers, which Ryder starred in back in 1989. Ryder says reuniting with Waters was “amazing. It’s a dream for me. I love him very much as a person and he is, I think, a phenomenal writer. We’ve been trying to do this sequel to Heathers as well, which hopefully will happen. And this is – it’s impossible to describe this script, but it’s so Dan. It’s so twisted and great. He’s a great director, and it’s wonderful. It’s really a dream for me.”

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