The Australian (Aus), October 21, 2003
Opera House to host Matrix premiere
by Sophie Tedmanson and Jane Albert
IF you've received something sharp, heavy and silver in the mail, don't be alarmed.
It is the exclusive invitation to the premiere of The Matrix Revolutions, an invite that indicates the hype has already begun for the final in the blockbuster sci-fi trilogy, which was filmed mostly in Sydney.
First, on Friday, the unusual invitations arrived - pieces of tin complete with the film's tagline, "Everything that has a beginning has an end", written into its Opera House-style edging in the likeness of the venue for the gala premiere on November 2.
Then, on Sunday night, the unclassified trailer was screened on television, showing the first glimpses of the much-hyped finale featuring the hero, Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, fighting hundreds of replicas of Agent Smith, played with evil glee by Australia's Hugo Weaving.
Unlike the May premiere of The Matrix Reloaded, when its stars were too busy spruiking their film in Cannes to come back to Sydney, the premiere of Revolutions promises to be one of the biggest of the year as Weaving, Reeves and co-star Jada Pinkett Smith reunite on the red carpet.
It is believed to be the first film event of its kind to be held in the Opera House's 1500-seat opera theatre.
Before final approval could be granted to screen the film at the world-renowned venue, Village Roadshow had to negotiate with the Australian Ballet, which was due to begin the lengthy bump-in process on November 2 ahead of the Sydney premiere of Bella Trilogy.
The AB will now build the set behind a sound curtain, on which the film will be projected. A practice run will be held the week before, and Village Roadshow has agreed to cover the "not insignificant" extra costs incurred by the AB.
"It's extremely inconvenient," AB general manager Richard Evans said. "However, everyone is working together and this is the main place. Having pictures of people walking up the red carpet at the Sydney Opera House is particularly good."
The Matrix trilogy, the brainchild of the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry, cost $US300million ($432million), took 18 months to make and employed more than 3000 people - many of them Australian.
The Matrix Revolutions also stars US actors Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss, and Italian siren Monica Bellucci, and features cameos from local actors such as Bruce Spence, Lachy Hulme, Genevieve O'Reilly and Anthony Wong.