In celebration of Keanu Reeves’ birthday today, we thought we’d dredge up some interesting things about sci-fi masterpiece The Matrix that you may not have known.
Australia’s harbour city was home to The Matrix, the first film produced at the then-new Fox Studios. The Sydney CBD was used for city scenes, with the normal street signs ripped out and replaced by street names from Chicago. The movie’s helicopter scene caused some drama, as restricted air space was breached, nearly causing production to be shut down. However, wheels were greased and the laws were changed to accommodate filming of the scene.
Another movie shot in Sydney, several sets from Alex Proyas’s sci-fi thriller were flogged to the producers of The Matrix, including their rooftops. There was no use trying to reinvent the wheel, we guess.
According to “entertainment entrepreneur” Ron Creevey, the much-missed INXS leader was slated to play a part in Neo’s posse in The Matrix. The role was apparently cut from the film after he took his own life.
Neo, Neo, Neo…
Keanu Reeves may have made the role of Neo his own – whoa! – but he had plenty of original competition when the film was being cast. While the Wachowskis are reported as having favoured Johnny Depp for the now iconic role, other names that were variously bandied about or even originally offered the role include Will Smith (who made Wild Wild West instead…), Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Ewan McGregor, David Duchovny and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The sunnies worn in The Matrix were handmade by Blinde boss Richard Walker (in the back of an optometry shop in Oxford Street, no less), who staved off more known competition such as Ray-Ban by designing bespoke sunglasses for each of the characters that were based upon their names in the film.
Break a leg!
The main cast of The Matrix were a klutzy lot, with several injuries hampering production. Before pre-production began, Reeves had spinal issues that were causing paralysis in his legs. He was still recovering from surgery when martial arts training began for the flick, and had to do light duties. This is why he doesn’t do a lot of kicking in the final film.
Meanwhile, Carrie-Anne Moss twisted her ankle while shooting one of her scenes. Not wanting to risk being kicked off the film, she just didn’t tell anybody and worked through the pain.
Hugo Weaving was another to suffer injuries, sustaining them during the gruelling four months of fight training. He required hip surgery, and the shooting schedule had to be shuffled about, putting the filming of his fight scenes right at the end of production.
Check out our STACK review of The Matrix on 4K Ultra HD here.