Keanu Reeves says he didn't know about 'profound' transgender meaning behind 'The Matrix'
by Kevin Polowy
Lilly Wachowski confirmed a popular fan theory earlier this month when she acknowledged that The Matrix trilogy, which she wrote and directed with sister Lana Wachowski, was in fact a transgender allegory. “I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention,” the filmmaker said in a video for Netflix Film Club.
In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the series’ star Keanu Reeves reacted to Wachowski’s revelation, admitting he was unaware of those particular deeper meanings.
“I never spoke to Lilly about that, she never conveyed that to me,” Reeves told us during an interview promoting the new installment of what’s now his other sci-fi trilogy, Bill & Ted Face the Music, where he was joined by costar Alex Winter (watch above).
“I think The Matrix films are profound, and I think that allegorically, a lot of people in different versions of the film can speak to that. And for Lilly to come out and share that with us, I think is cool.”
Fans have speculated about what gender identity intentions the Wachowskis had in mind for the series, which kicked off with 1999’s The Matrix and was followed by 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, since at least 2012 when Lana came out as transgender. Lilly followed suit in 2016.
Some of the more prevalent theories pointed to the fact that Reeves’s hero lives a double life as computer programmer and hacker, that his chosen name is “Neo,” and that the red pill that awakens reality within the Matrix could symbolize red estrogen pills.
“I’m glad people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative,” Lilly said in the Netflix video. “I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me say, ‘Those movies saved my life.’ Because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building and the idea of the seemingly impossible becoming possible, that’s why it speaks it to them so much.”
Reeves began filming the upcoming sequel The Matrix 4 in San Francisco in February, but the production was shut down due to the coronavirus in mid-March.
Asked if the newly confirmed themes will manifest in the sequel, which is being directed by Lana only (from a screenplay she wrote with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell) and slated for release in 2022, Reeves said this:
“I don’t know. I think it’ll be open to interpretation,” he laughed.
Bill & Ted Face the Music opens in theaters and on video on demand Aug. 28.