"The Matrix" Lives
by Joal Ryan
Looks like Keanu Reeves may ready to reenter The Matrix, after all.
Today's Hollywood Reporter confirms a report last week out of Australia that said the studio behind Reeves' high-tech cyber thriller was looking to make not one, but two new installments.
The Matrix was the surprise hit of this past spring, earning $167.9 million at the domestic box office to date.
If it gives the green light, Warner Bros. likely will want to get its Matrix fix fast and film the new flicks back-to-back, reports say. Production could begin as soon as early next year when Reeves should be done with the pro-football comedy, The Replacements.
Sources tell the Reporter that while budgets and schedules are still being worked out, Reeves and sibling creative team Andy and Larry Wachowski are on board.
Australia's Sunday Telegraph went so far as to say that Reeves is signed to a "multi-million deal" that is "bigger than [the one director] James Cameron got for Titanic." (Considering Cameron made most of his bank on the big-boat movie from a post-Oscar bonus, that last boast may not be as impressive as it sounds.)
Speaking like a post-Star Wars George Lucas, Andy Wachowski, who wrote and directed The Matrix with brother Larry, has said he always envisioned their story as a trilogy.
"We could do a prequel and a sequel to this episode or two prequels or two sequels," Wachowski told a Canadian newspaper.
The prequels and/or sequels are to be filmed down under in Sydney, where the first was produced last year.
In other sequel news, Men in Black fans take heart--sort of. Today's Daily Variety says a screenwriter has been hired to pound out (what else?) a script for a followup to 1997's box-office champ.
That's the good news.
The not-so good news is that Columbia Pictures, the studio behind MiB, still doesn't have the original stars (Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones) or the original director (Barry Sonnenfeld) locked up. Back in 1997, they didn't signed deals saying they'd do a sequel--and nothing has changed.
The would-be sequel even has a different writer. While the first film was credited to Ed Solomon (The X-Men), Robert Gordon (Addicted to Love) got the gig for the sequel.