Movie Article

Will Power

One highlight from ''Johnny Mnemonic'' -- Keanu Reeves channels Hamlet for a soliloquy about a hooker

Critical consensus is that Johnny Mnemonic is not worth the price of admission, but Shakespeare fans might want to ante up just to see Keanu Reeves deliver a monologue that seems inspired by his recent stint as Hamlet. In the movie, Reeves soliloquizes about a ''$10,000-a-night hooker,'' including the line, ''to have my shirt laundered in the Imperial Hotel, Beijing,'' using the iambic meter of ''To be or not to be.'' Better still, the speech was his idea. According to Mnemonic screenwriter William Gibson, Reeves ''looked at his lines for that scene and said, 'This is dull,' so I went back to my room and stayed up until four in the morning writing it.'' Director Robert Longo was thrilled. ''It's one of many things Keanu did for this movie that I'll always be grateful for,'' says Longo. Ralph Fiennes, eat your heart out.

Originally posted Jun 16, 1995 Published in issue #279 Jun 16, 1995 Order article reprints