Film Review (UK), June 2003
The Matrix Revisited
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Laurence Fishburne reveal what the films mean to them and how their lives have been changed. Reporter Judy Sloane.
THERE WAS a whole slew of actors considered for the part of Neo, the hacker who discovers that the real world is nothing of the sort in the high-octane first episode of The Matrix but can anyone imagine anyone else other than Keanu Reeves in the role? But was it worth the gruelling schedule and the weeks of stunt-fighting? We ask the man himself.
Is It true about the whole truckload of Harleys delivered to the set as gifts?
I worked basically with 12 stuntmen for about three weeks intensely, going through Ihe fight. Then we filmed for almost a month every day. There is this one scene where Neo gets grabbed by two agents and I do a back flip and kick two guys in Ihe head, and flip back and then the two guys get thrown back. Well, those guys got pulled into thefloor 21 times. Every lime I said I would like to do it again, I was like, "Tim, you okay?" He's like, "Yeah, man. Let's go." We would go through the fight every day, and everyone was so supportive and helpful.
You know, we were doing that sequcncc, and oftentimes in the first part of that sequence, it's a Steadicam. It was a 180 degree turn and I've got in some of those sequences 30 moves, 25 moves, one, two, three, four, five sis and J'm hitting eight guys. They all had to be in the right spot to sell every hit. They'd come here and then go there. We all had to adjust. So we were all in this thing for like three weeks and we were training together beforehand. So I just wanted to somehow - besides just saying thank you - something, a bigger thank you to all those guys who helped me make this one of the greatest movie fights in the history of cinema. So I had them brought up a truck and I got to give 'em all a Harley! That made me smile for months!
How beat up were you in this movie?
This one was much harder. It took more time. There was much more involved. It demanded a lot more. In the first one I could do most of it. In the second one, if you take out the CGI aspect of my fight with Smith, I am doing probably 92% of my fighting. Not the landings, not the crashes, but the fighting. There was a lot of stuff with the weapons, I was like "I wish I could have been better, I wish I could have done this move" because the more I would get, the more that Wu-Ping and the brothers would go, "How about this?" There was a lot of that. Some days, you'd finish a fight and then getting new choreography and fighting on weekends so that you could film on Tuesday.
What have you learned from Neo and what has Neo learned from Keanu?
That's not an easy question. That's like asking 'What has your mother learned from you and what have you learned from your mother?" I really find that Neo is a beautiful man. His ethics and his morals and his search for his authentic life and how he deals with people and he deals with himself, I really admire.
It's like, can you live up to that? Can you live up to the best part of yourself every day, which I think is a really good question. Can you live to the best part of yourself all the time? It's hard. I try, but I think that that aspect is something the film is actually also asking.