The Keanu cast, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Clifford Smith (aka Method Man), and Jason Mitchell all made a stop in Atlanta recently to talk about their new film which hits theaters today. It was one of the more interesting interviews we’ve ever done, as it actually took place in the Clermont Lounge during the AM hours!
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, a.k.a. the hugely popular comedy duo Key & Peele, star in New Line Cinema’s action comedy Keanu. The two play Clarence and Rell, cousins who live in the city but are far from streetwise. When Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu, is catnapped, the hopelessly straight-laced pair must impersonate ruthless killers in order to infiltrate a street gang and retrieve the purloined feline. But the incredibly adorable kitten becomes so coveted that the fight over his custody creates a gang war, forcing our two unwitting heroes to take the law into their own hands.
Keanu Cast Interview
Why should people see Keanu in the theater?
Jordan Peele: The movie is crazy, first of all. It’s got heart. It’s got a kitten in a do-rag. It’s got Method Man in it. You got Nia Long in it. Jason Mitchell is in this movie. Basically, we made our favorite movie, and we didn’t go to the studio and pitch this. We wrote our favorite movie, and we waited for them to come to us and say, “We need this movie.” You can guarantee it’s our heart and soul.
Keegan-Michael Key: You’re not going to see a movie like this. It’s got the right amount of weird to it. You’ll get everything you need to get out of the cinematic experience. But it’s also branded so differently than anything you’ve seen, so you can go see another movie that’s paint-by-numbers by a studio or you can come see our movie, which has a different feel to it.
What was your inspiration for the script?
Jordan Peele: All the movies we’ve grown up loving. We’re huge cinephiles. I feel like we’re in this era now where I’m not seeing a lot of movies that I like. I wanted to do a shout-out to movies like True Romance.
Keegan-Michael Key: Raising Arizona.
Jordan Peele: Three Amigos.
Keegan-Michael Key: Thelma and Louise.
Peele: Beverly Hills Cop… There’s this great era of movies that I feel like it’s dead. People aren’t combining the best parts of action and the best parts of comedy and putting heart in there all in one to create something new. So that’s what this was.
Let’s talk about George Michael, and how the cast bought into the concept.
Jordan Peele: One of the best scenes in the film. Keegan’s character is a big George Michael fan. He’s pretending to be a thug, so he won’t get shot. We’re on this run together, and h’s sitting there waiting outside with these three members of a gang who are looking through his music like, “Ummm.” This is one of my favorite scenes. Jason is hilarious in it. Jason, did you enjoy that music? Were you a George Michael fan before that?
Jason Mitchell: I was not. I highly respect him, but no, I wasn’t exactly a George Michael fan. They had a lot of things that Keegan’s character told my character that made me jump on board with it. Things I can relate to like fatherhood and different things like that. Losing friends and things we could really relate to as a gang, so we just went with it, and it was great. It turned out really funny.
What was it like working with the cat?
Method Man: No one ever asked me in the audition if I liked cats. If I had been asked, I would have said: “not really.” I’m not into to animals that much, but I do think that cats are smarter than dogs. So when it came time to dealing with the cat, it was no problem. It was like dealing with any other actor. The cat that I dealt with the most, her name was Clementine, and she was easy to work with. She mostly laid there and fell asleep a lot.
What was the process for filming the multiple kitten reenactment posters with Keanu?
Jordan Peele: Those were so fun! That was kinda a little dream. Basically, I wrote that bit in there just so I could have one of the calendars at the end. It wasn’t even story related. We had all the dioramas in one room, and we basically brought Keanu around and dressed him up in different things. It was one of the first things that we did in the movie.
Keanu hits theaters today, Friday, April 29th!