Why Matrix stars love Sydney
by Peter Mitchell
Fine wine, racism and a good family lifestyle - the three stars of The Matrix have shared very different memories of Sydney with the world.
Laurence Fishburne said he felt racism during his first visit to Australia in 1997, describing a "vibe" similar to the US in the 1950s. "There were some experiences that I had and more so than experiences there was a vibe, there was a feeling," he said at a press day in Los Angeles to promote the sequel The Matrix: Reloaded.
But he said the Olympics brought a positive change to Sydney and, when he arrived in 2001 to shoot the sequels, the situation had improved.
"At the beginning my first experience was that it was kind of isolated but then, after the Olympics, a lot of people of colour arrived in Sydney and decided 'This is nice, I'm going to stay here'," Fishburne said.
"So, instead of seeing the same five black faces in Sydney every day, I'd see two new black faces a week and that was nice.
"I loved Bondi, I love Sydney. I feel like I'm a Sydneysider because I lived there a long time."
Keanu Reeves developed a thirst for rare and expensive Australian red wine.
"I had great time in Sydney and I met some awesome people," Reeves said.
"I miss it, I want to go back." Asked if he thought about buying a home in Australia, Reeves licked his lips and replied, "I brought back some Australian wine. Yummm."
The wine cellars in his homes in Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada, are stocked with a prized collection of Australian reds, particularly Penfolds Grange Hermitage and Mount Mary Quintet.
His bottles of 1988 and 1990 Mount Mary Quintet cabernet, made in Victoria's Yarra Valley, sell for about $270 a bottle and $420 a bottle respectively.
"The Mary Quintet cabernet blend. Awesome," Reeves said.
"And the Penfolds Grange. The '71 and the '76 are just awesome."
Jada Pinkett Smith said she found Sydney very family-friendly. "Being in Australia your kids aren't a nuisance, you know what I'm saying?" Pinkett Smith said.
"Here in the States it's kind of like 'We don't want kids here'. I took my kids everywhere in Australia... it's just a very family-orientated environment and that made it less stressful for me because people really did welcome my children with open arms."