Keanu Reeves Cannes: Photos of Reeves at French Film Festival

    Actor Keanu Reeves poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Man of Tai Chi at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

    Keanu Reeves Cannes: The transition from actor to director was not an easy one for Keanu Reeves.

    Reeves, who showed clips from his upcoming film “Man of Tai Chi” to a select crowd on Monday, said it took him a while to get into the director’s mindset.

    “The first day of that was not too much fun,” he laughed during an interview.

    “As an actor you are concerned with your role, you are concerned with your story,” he said. “The director’s side is much more other, it is looking out. … The first day I just didn’t quite have it. It wasn’t pleasurable.”

    Reeves describes the movie, in which he also stars, as “a contemporary Kung Fu film.” The film is in Cantonese and English.

    Reeves said he didn’t want to try his hand at directing until he had the right story. He found it while he was working on “The Matrix” franchise and was working closely with Chen Hu, a martial arts specialist.

    “He is who the story is based around. He has a traditional past, he was a young person, Tai Chi champion, National Chinese champion,” Reeves said. “On the other hand, he is also a stunt man who has worked in Beijing and Hong Kong and Hollywood. He has gone out into the world.”

    Reeves was one of many who grew up attracted to martial arts movies.

    “For me, it was attractive in the sense of the physical-ness of it, maybe the independence, maybe the community,” he said. “For the Kung Fu it is the right and wrong, or the struggle that the characters often face, like ‘They’re going to shut down the temple’ or ‘They have killed your brother’ or ‘You’re being attacked’ and you have to defend or explore. And the exoticness of it, and they look cool.”

    “Man of Tai Chi” is set for release in China this summer, with release dates in other countries pending.