Keanu Reeves was excited to partner up with Sofia Coppola on a new project.
For the 100th anniversary of Japanese whisky-maker The House of Suntory, the brand commissioned a collaboration between director Coppola, 52, and Reeves, 58. To help launch their Suntory Time tribute film, the stars posed on the red carpet together at an event in New York City on Tuesday.
Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation took place in Tokyo and featured the line “For relaxing times, make it Suntory Time,” which the brand says helped make it a household name at the time. And, Reeves starred in a Suntory ad back in the 1990s.
Reeves — who dated Coppola in the early ’90s after meeting her on the set of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by her dad Francis Ford Coppola — tells PEOPLE it was an easy yes when asked to work with the Marie Antoinette filmmaker.
“It was,” he says. “It was cool [to get] a chance to work with Sofia Coppola and to work with [her brother] Roman Coppola on a kind of short commercial and then a docu-series. It was a really special opportunity.”
About filming the tribute film in Japan, Reeves adds, “It was wonderful, really wonderful. It was extraordinary to have the opportunity to spend time with people from Suntory, in terms of going to the founding distillery Yamazaki, then going and just meeting master blenders and all the craftspeople.”
“I got to meet some of the artisans, Kabuki actors, calligraphists, being an outsider and getting to spend time with people and talk about their passion and their craft,” he says.
Earlier this year, Reeves spoke about his passion for Japanese culture and how it influenced his most recent film, John Wick: Chapter 4.
“Japanese anime and Japanese filmmaking have definitely been something I’ve loved and have been influenced by,” he told Total Film in February. “And bushido is definitely a theme in our film — you know, the code of the samurai — so, from the outside, it feels like a great fit, the idea of honor and sacrifice. There’s definitely a strong Japanese influence.”