Keanu feels bond with Tai Chi movie

Keanu Reeves has revealed his directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi is inspired by his martial arts trainer from The Matrix.

The Speed star also appears in the English and Mandarin language martial arts film, alongside Tiger Hu Chen, and revealed he became so attached to the project while getting it off the ground that he felt he had to be the director.

Keanu said in an interview: "I love kung fu movies. I love the genre. And I was working with a gentleman named Chen Hu, Tiger Chen, who helped train me in The Matrix, for the first Matrix film.

"We stayed friends and he started to do some acting. So I started to work with him, developing a story for him. It turned into Man of Tai Chi and we worked on it for about like I said five, six years.

"It finally came to a place where as I kept talking about it it became here, so I was like 'I think I want to direct this.'"

The film was mostly shot in China and is based around his friend's life.

Keanu explained: "Tiger is a great martial artist. He's got this really traditional background. And he's also a modern man. And so the story is based around his character in a way."

Meanwhile, The Matrix star is also working on 47 Ronin, an 3D adaptation of a classic Japanese tale about 47 samurai in 18th century Japan who avenge the murder of their master. Its release has been delayed to get it just right.

Keanu said: "It's an ambitious film. It's an ambitious film in theme and it was ambitious in its scale.

"I think it's something special. It's really historical, fantastical. It's a big story, you know - it's like revenge, love, honour, outsider. It's a kind of Eastern/Western big story. Those take time and care."