The Matrix show descends on London
by Keily Oakes
The savvy marketing people did not miss a trick at the UK première of The Matrix Reloaded movie - ordering in a stack of branded umbrellas just in case.
And, as predictable as the British weather can be, the heavens opened as the stars began to arrive for the screening in London's Leicester Square.
The rain fell for the entire hour that it took the celebrities to walk the black carpet - which cannily replaced the traditional red as its the colour of much of the merchandise around the movie.
Thousands of fans lined Leicester Square patiently waiting to catch a glimpse of their sci-fi heroes.
Unfortunately, many would have left without seeing the movie's main stars, just their flashy cars which drove past a vast throng of would-be spectators.
But the event organisers did their best to keep people happy by erecting big screens showing sneak previews of the movie including clips from the making of The Matrix Reloaded.
There were also interviews conducted by BBC Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray who did his best to try to collar the celebrities who were attending the screening.
The absence of girl/boy bands, and reality TV contestants and strictly C-list celebrities from the guest list was noted - perhaps the organisers had managed to keep them away. Producer Joel Silver seemed genuinely pleased to be in London But the fans were really there to see the stars of the movie and they were there in abundance.
The only major actor missing from the line-up was pregnant Carrie-Ann Moss, who plays Trinity, who did not make the trip to London with the rest of the cast.
Lawrence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving and Jada Pinkett Smith all had a word for the crowd who had turned out to see them. But some seemed slightly jet-lagged and unusually reticent about talking about themselves and their movie for movie stars.
Keanu Reeves himself is not known for being a great interviewee, with his shy manner and monosyllabic answers, and he just repeated what a great experience it had been working on the movie while looking embarrassed.
But nobody was really there to see him talk, the screams of the female fans as he walked past was testament to that.
And the star attraction for the evening was the consummate professional, going out of his way to sign as many autographs as time would allow and touching as many of his admirers as possible. Lawrence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith and Keanu Reeves attended the UK screening
But some of the stars did seem ecstatic to be the centre of attention, including British twins Neil and Adrian Raymond, who play the albino villains in the movie.
After a meteoric rise to fame the pair, who wore matching purple suits and orange shirts, already look every inch the Hollywood stars as they kept their sunglasses on even in the rain.
The Rayments, who graduated from TV handymen to action heroes, were humbled to be part of the Matrix bandwagon that has seen them travel the world filming and promoting the film.
And producer Joel Silver, who as one of the biggest in the business is probably richer than all the stars, appeared to be truly excited about being in London.
With a smile fixed on his face, he said: "I'm sorry it's so rainy but it feels like a sunny day to me."
And with the final part of the trilogy opening in just six months time the Matrix rollercoaster could once more grace London. And hopefully next time the umbrellas will stay firmly folded.
1. Keanu Reeves was protected from the elements by a Matrix umbrella
2. Producer Joel Silver seemed genuinely pleased to be in London
3. Lawrence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith and Keanu Reeves attended the UK screening