'Matrix' Producer Dismisses Violent Links
LONDON (Reuters) - The producer of the "Matrix" films reminded fans on Monday that the movies were just fantasy, following a spate of stories in the United States linking it with violent behavior.
"I only can comment that 15 million people have seen the movie and I don't know what the links are," producer Joel Silver told a news conference in London alongside its lead actors Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.
"The Matrix Reloaded," one of the most-anticipated sequels in film history, opened to record numbers in North America over the weekend and is expected to whip up equal excitement when it his British screens nationwide on Friday.
But a handful of fans in the United States have apparently taken their fascination with the sci-fi smash a step too far by acting out real-life crimes to escape the Matrix -- a computer-generated world controlled by machines.
"It's a wonderful fantasy story that doesn't take place in the real world, so I can't comment on what makes people do what they do," he said.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the movie was recently invoked by an Ohio woman and a man in San Francisco who each killed their landlord but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
It quoted producers Warner Bros. as saying in a statement: "Any attempt to link these crimes with a motion picture or any other art form is disturbing and irresponsible."
The first "Matrix" became a cult classic in 1999, grossing almost $460 million worldwide and winning four Oscars.
The sequel continues the kung-fu battle against machines that have taken over a post-apocalyptic earth and harvest humans in a computer-generated world known as "The Matrix."
Beyond its wild action scenes and dazzling special effects, the movies have captivated fans by twisting reality in circles until it disappears altogether.
But Fishburne, who plays sunglasses-wearing Morpheus, one of the film's heroes, told fans to make the ultimate distinction:
"There is no matrix, there is only what is real," he said.