CHUD (US), May 7, 2003

Laurence Fishburne interview

Burly Brawlin' Smilin' Jack Ruby

And we're back with Part 3. Somebody mentioned on the boards that the way I was writing these up was a little "off" or confusing, so do you want straight transcripts? We'll try today and see what you cats say.

I should mention that the Hollywood Reporter review hit and it's pretty interesting, citing the long, philosophical bits in The Matrix Reloaded as a problem for them as well (something that's being mentioned in many a review). It's a good, spoilerish review, so if you're bound and determined to ruin the movie for yourself, check it out!

Next up at the junket was the booming presence of Laurence Fishburne, a hell of a guy who always shoots straight and gives great "quote," though he knows the game and won't ever be caught off-point in an interview. He's a sharp, sharp guy – one of the sharpest around – and if he doesn't want to answer your question, he won't. But, he's not a dick about it like Harrison Ford or anything – he's just to the point. So, I really dig the guy.

Regardless, here's Fishburne, speaking at the junket roundtables for The Matrix Reloaded. If you HATE the Q&A fashion, mention it on the boards and I'll go back to whatever.

Question: Morpheus was infallible in The Matrix, but now we have reason to doubt his sanity...

Laurence: How nice is that? It makes him human. It's wonderful.

Question: But you're a different kind of leader now.

Laurence: Well, he's the general in this movie. He's the guy that goes, 'Follow me. Everyone follow me.' He's that guy. It's like Patton.

Question: Does that mean there's a different Morpheus in the third movie?

Laurence: Well, yeah. Surely there's another shift for him in the third movie that involves being even more vulnerable I think.

Question: Did the success of The Matrix change the Wachowskis?

Laurence: I'm sure it has changed them. I'm not exactly sure how, as Larry and Andy are very private people and they don't share the intimate details of their lives with very many people. Outside of their immediate family, I don't know who they share those things with. It would be foolish to think that it hasn't affected them. The obvious thing to me is that they put themselves under a great amount of pressure to make sure that these two movies meet the expectations that they had for them. Not necessarily anybody else's expectations but their own expectations. I think they put themselves under a tremendous amount of pressure.

Question: Did you like doing those big Zion Zion scenes?

Laurence: It was great. We had those extras there. There were like 1500 people or something in this huge building. It was actually kind of like being in the theater.

Question: So, you're really looking at all those extras when you give your speech?

Laurence: Yes.

Question: Did it pump you up?

Laurence: Yeah, it's like being in the theater. It's wonderful to have a real audience.

Question: What was it like doing that fight sequence on top of the tractor trailer?

Laurence: Well, it was long. It was about 45 days to shoot the entire freeway sequence and there were a lot if different elements to it, because there's everything that leads out of the garage. It starts in the garage, comes out onto the street, from the street through the fence, under the freeway and then through another fence and then onto the freeway. Then going one way on the freeway and another way on the freeway and the bike and the truck and the things. So, a lot of different elements to put together. The first thing you should know is I said to Erik Rondell - I just looked at him and I said I'm scared. He said, "I know. I'm going to take care of you." So, he sent Carrie-Anne, myself and the Rayment twins, Adrian and Neil all out to driving school. And we spent a day out there learning how to do 180s and, you know, 90s and 45 degree angles and skids and all of that shit. Let me tell you something, Carrie Ann can really get down. She can really do it. So, we got that out of the way and that was getting us comfortable with being in a car and having a car do those kind of things. And then we went out to the freeway. The first day we went out to the freeway and I was really, really nervous because it was the first day we were going to actually be one the freeway moving around in the cars. It was kind of a rehearsal day. I looked around and I saw Henry Kenji and I saw Buddy Joe Hooker and I saw a bunch of other stunt guys that I've worked with before, some of them who had coordinated with me, some of them who just came in, did a bit for the day, whatever. And I was like, 'Oh my God.' They were all like the best drivers in our business. All of them.

Question: So was it rough doing the truck bit?

Laurence: The truck top stuff was really tricky because Daniel [Bernhardt – who plays Agent Johnson] and I had to work on a platform that was actually moving. And Daniel has a lot of experience with fighting in the movies. More than I do. It's really a brutal kind of fight. It's these two big men fighting. So, the nice part about it was that any time we were sort of urged to swing harder and make it look closer, more power and all of that shit, Daniel would always whisper to me going, 'I'm not going to hurt you.'

Question: Were you actually filming on a truck?

Laurence: No, we weren't moving on the highway, but we were on a moving platform.

Question: What's the big difference between this film and the last one?

Laurence: This one's bigger. In every way. It's just more. It's just more stuff.

Question: With this intensive of a shoot, how does it compare to something like Apocalypse Now?

Laurence: Apocalypse was harder. We didn't have- - we were in the southern hemisphere, we were in a country that was under martial law and we were living in the jungle. We weren't living in like Sydney.

Question: Was it shocking they pushed the story that far in this?

Laurence: No, no. I think it's exciting. The Wachowski describe the themes of the trilogy in this way. The first movie is about birth. The second movie is about life and the third movie's about death. So, in life, anything's possible.

Question: Did you distinguish between the films?

Laurence: It's all one movie. It's all one movie. You have to think of it as one movie.

Question: What do you think about the film's philosophies?

Laurence: I don't think very much about them. I'm not a philosopher. I don't pretend to be a philosopher. I'm not a student of philosophy.

Question: Did you take it on faith they knew what they were doing?

Laurence: Of course, yeah. That's really where I operate from is a place of intuitiveness.

Question: Why was the fighting so important?

Laurence: I think it's part of the audience's expectation that they have to absolutely fulfill.

Question: Was the training for this more than before?

Laurence: No, it was pretty much the same stuff.

Question: Was it hard to keep those sunglasses on?

Laurence: No, you just gotta be really cool when you wear them.

Question: What was the hardest thing?

Laurence: The hardest thing to do was falling off the truck, because I had to- - think about it. They're going to put you on a fucking truck, put you 30 feet in the air, tell you, "Okay, now you fall backwards onto a car and don't look behind you."

Question: How many times did you have to do that?

Laurence: I did that three or four times.

Question: Should we, as members of the press, talk about all the multi-ethnic aspects of these movies?

Laurence: That's up to you, baby. That's up to you.

Question: Well, do you have feelings about it?

Laurence: That is up to you. That's on you.

Question: Do you think Morpheus is really crazy?

Laurence: Well, it's interesting for me because when we were doing the first movie, the Wachowskis kept saying Morpheus is crazy. Morpheus is crazy. And I kept going no, he's not. There's nothing crazy about him. Because if you're playing somebody who's crazy, you can't play him like they're crazy, right? That's boring. But in this movie when that whole- - when the whole freeway sequence happens, when I read that, I was like oh, I see. Okay. You get to see how crazy he is. He's really fucking out of his mind. But, he's so committed to whatever this thing is that he'll make you crazy before you make him sane.

Question: Were you there when Keanu was doing his fighting?

Laurence: I stayed away from that fight. It was too hot in there for me. The lights they had in there were just nuts and it was one of those really tedious things. Also, Keanu can be really hard on himself. I don't really like- - I don't enjoy being around him when he's being hard on himself.

Question: Why is he hard on himself?

Laurence: He just is because he gives a shit.

Question: Is he a perfectionist?

Laurence: No, he's just really hard on himself and he gives a shit, and that's that. So I don't like being around him when he's being hard on himself. And he was hard on himself the whole time they did the burly brawl, which is why I wasn't around.

Question: What can you tell us about Keanu?

Laurence: Not a fucking thing. I've known the man for five years. All I can tell you that I know, certainly I know, I love that motherfucker, but I don't know a fucking thing about him. I'm telling you the truth. That motherfucker's like nobody else on the planet. That's why he's the one.

Question: What's your favorite aspect of The Matrix?

Laurence: For me, it's all about the fact that here's this piece of material where there's one world and it's the real world. And then there's the other world and it exists in your brain and that means that anything is possible, and that to me is just brilliant. There are endless possibilities with that.

Okay, so that's Laurence Fishburne at the junket for The Matrix Reloaded – spoilers omitted. Next up, well, who the hell knows – likely visual effects supervisor John Gaeta talking it up with Lord Joel Silver, but maybe Keanu Reaves himself. We'll see. Yeah, Monica Bellucci won't be until NEXT week, playas.

And it continues...

The Matrix Reloaded, like you didn't fucking know, opens on March 15th every-fucking-where.

Article Focus:

Matrix Reloaded, The


Matrix, The , Matrix Reloaded, The

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