Published: Sunday, October 03, 2010
Henry, played by Reeves, takes the comment to heart and, upon his release, decides to rob the bank he was jailed for robbing — a decision that Reeves said “activated” his character and others around him.
Speaking at a question-and-answer period following a screening of the movie on Saturday at Upstate Films in Woodstock, Reeves described “Henry’s Crime” as “an existential ‘rom-com’ (romantic comedy) keeper movie.”
Before being arrested, Henry was a toll collector. His love interest, Julie, played by Ulster County resident Vera Farmiga, who also has appeared “The Departed” and “Up in the Air,” laughs at him in one scene, saying Henry is forced to watch everyone else go places while he sits in his booth.
Reeves — known for his roles in “Speed,” “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “The Matrix” series — said all the characters in “Henry’s Crime” are metaphorically stuck in their own toll booths, and Henry’s plan to rob the bank helps them move forward.
For example, Henry’s cellmate, Max, played by James Caan — who played Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather” and whom Reeves described as “a force of nature” — is content to sabotage his own parole hearings because he doesn’t want to leave prison, until Henry tells him he needs help with the robbery.
Reeves told the Woodstock Film Festival audience on Saturday that he and a partner had been developing “Henry’s Crime” for four-and-a-half years. (Reeves was invited to the festival to receive its Excellence in Acting award Saturday night.)
“Henry’s Crime” is set in Buffalo, which Reeves said writer Sacha Gervasi picked because he felt “the city had a kind of glory in its past and because of circumstances so much had changed.”
The filmmakers always intended for the movie to be a comedy, Reeves said, and the types of humor range from wordplay to “preposterous situations.”
While his crew prepares to rob the bank, Henry is cast as one of the main characters in Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” opposite the character played by Farmiga, who Reeves noted was eight months pregnant with her second child when an audience member asked why she was not at Saturday’s screening.
Reeves told the audience he had never performed Chekhov, but he had done Shakespeare.
The audience also asked Reeves a question about the 1991 film “Point Break” and what working with Jack Nicholson was like.
Reeves called Nicholson “the most charming, smart person in the world” and said in any given film, “if he had 12 takes, there would be 12 different versions and they’d all be right in some way.”