INTERVIEW: Keanu Reeves and the cast of ‘Exposed’ tell us about the genre-bending thriller
Following the success of 2014’s John Wick, enigmatic man of action Keanu Reeves is back with a new crime thriller alongside his Knock Knock co-star Ana de Armas, Mighty Aphrodite beauty Mira Sorvino, Michael Rispoli and Christopher McDonald of The Sopranos, and rap star turned actor Big Daddy Kane.
Exposed sees Reeves in the role of New York City Detective Scotty Galban as he investigates the brutal murder of his partner. Among the limited evidence, he finds a photograph of young teacher Isabel de la Cruz (de Armas), whom he believes may also be a witness. As Galban gets closer to solving the case and uncovering the killer’s motives, it becomes apparent that Isabel may hold secrets of her own…
Ahead of the film’s release in cinemas and on demand from February 26th, we had the pleasure of hearing from the stars of Exposed. Here’s what they had to say about the compelling story.
First of all, the actors made it clear that Exposed is very different from a typical genre film.
Keanu Reeves: Its architecture is in parallel stories in the shape of a mystery. You follow Ana de Armas’s character, Isabel, who is descending into madness through trauma, and then the character I play, Scotty Galban, is a homicide detective in Manhattan who’s trying to find out who killed his partner. As we follow him through the story, we come to realise he’s a really lonely, damaged kind of guy.
Ana de Armas: So, one story is about a detective who’s investigating the murder of his partner, and the other one is a surreal world, almost like a fairy-tale story created by Isabel’s mind.
Mira Sorvino: There’s a combination of gritty detective drama, thriller, and then a whole fantasia element to half of the film which is surreal and fluid and not necessarily grounded in absolute reality. I love that about it, because it’s combined with this very gritty world of police drama. I play the role of Janine, a Staten Island girl who’s the wife of the murdered cop.
They then explained what attracted them to the project.
Christopher McDonald: Gee Linton’s script was what attracted me. I found it was old school, and yet new at the same time. It had a very interesting twist to it, and I like to be surprised when I watch a movie and get really brought into it; like “how are they going to make this happen?” And that’s what happened when I did the first read through, I thought “Wow, this is good!”
Mira Sorvino: The script is really beautiful. There’s something about it that’s very haunting. I have always particularly loved projects that dealt with people who have visions of saints or angels, and the young girl in the story has those.
They weren’t shy to gush about working with Keanu Reeves.
Michael Rispoli: Everybody should do a Keanu Reeves movie, he’s great. He’s very thorough in his research and what he goes for. He’s very deep in his choices and he’s easy to play off of; very generous. It’s an exchange between the actors, and Keanu’s terrific with all that.
Mira Sorvino: Keanu is such a lovely person, he’s so generous and thoughtful and a terrific actor. This is a wonderful role for him and maybe a departure for him of sorts. He’s very restrained in it, very bound by ties that we can’t really see but we sense, he’s trying to keep it all together. He’s a man of few words with a lot of pain, and I think he’s doing such a beautiful job of it.
Ana de Armas: Keanu’s a great partner, a great actor, a great producer in this case, and a great friend. It’s always very easy to be with him on set; he always wants your work to be better.
Big Daddy Kane: I must say this – it’s truly an honour to work with Keanu because he’s an artist that I have a lot of respect for. Being able to be on set with him and have conversations, just before they say ‘two minutes to film’ or something like that, he just cuts the conversation off and goes into character and gets into this mode… I think it’s beautiful. I’ve actually learned a few things working with the brother and I have a lot of respect for him.
And Keanu was quick to return the kind words from his co-stars.
Keanu Reeves: [Speaking of Mira Sorvino] I’d really enjoyed her work for such a long time, and I was really excited to have the chance to work with her. She’s playing my dead partner’s wife, and we ultimately have this affair; an affair of grief in a way. What she brought to the role, this emotional intelligence. The technique was just really inspiring.
When we approached Ana with the script I was like, please say yes! And she did. It’s a great role and she’s remarkable. I only have one scene with her at the end of the picture, which was great, but I wish we’d had more. In the story she’s bringing such emotion, depth, comedy, warmth, love, energy and tragedy. It’s such a great role and Ana is the actress for it, because she can produce all those colours and bring that to the screen.
It’s almost like a classic cop movie, but with an unbelievable twist.
Christopher McDonald: What’s interesting about this film is it’s a real throwback to the energy of the ’70s and ’80s, and those great cop films that happen in the streets of New York. This has got a lot of that going on with it’s own new twists which I haven’t seen before, which makes it intriguing.
Mira Sorvino: The twist to this movie, when I got to the end of the script I said to myself, “Wow, I did not see that coming”. I think viewers are going to have that same experience – I don’t think they’re going to know what this is, and they’re going to get to the end and be blown away by it. Then they’re going to want to watch it again to see the signs they could have picked up on, and they’ll find them all! It’s all there throughout. I do think it’ll be a big surprise for most people, you’d be hard pressed to guess beforehand.
Keanu Reeves: Hopefully what that can bring for us is to think about how we’ve dealt with trauma, or the traumas of life and their circumstances, and ultimately to think about healing.
Signature Entertainment Presents Exposed at Cinemas and On Demand
from 26th February 2016.