He has cheated death as a most excellent teen named Ted, saved Sandra Bullock's bacon from a jerry-rigged bus, kicked slow-motion butt in a mind-bending future world, and, most recently, terrorized women as an abusive redneck. Therefore, it makes sense that what Keanu Reeves really was craving to do was a big-screen love affair. Specifically, a sweet one — as in Sweet November (opening today).

"I was looking for a romance," Reeves says of the road that led to Sweet November, a remake of the 1968 tearjerker starring Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley. "I hadn't done one in a while, not since A Walk in the Clouds. So I had a feeling that was what I wanted to do."

Besides, Reeves' latest film offering would reteam him with Charlize Theron, the blonde beauty who played his wife in 1997's The Devil's Advocate. "She's fantastic in this film," the actor raves, explaining that his and Theron's on-screen chemistry even transcends "shorthand," which some who have worked with them have come to dub it. "We're actually beyond shorthand. We don't even need shorthand. It's instinct. I have such a comfort around her because I trust her."

In fact, Reeves and Theron are so at ease with each other that intimate scenes — even those requiring nudity — present no stumbling block. Except, that is, when the Sweet November producers decided to aim for a PG-13 rating. Accordingly, changes were made — most notably one excised, playful bathtub moment, and the re-shooting of a pivotal scene where Reeves' mentally exhausted character rests his head on Theron's bare bosom.

"I'm happy with the film, and it's the film I was hoping to make," Reeves shares. "I just wish they hadn't gone for a PG-13, because there are certain moments in the film where the nudity — mine and hers — makes the characters much more vulnerable."

All in all, Reeves — who wears his age of 36 proudly and publicly — looks at his filmography with a charming sense of awe. "I'm grateful for my acting career," he says. "The more one does it, the better one gets."