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Behind the Scenes of: The Matrix (1999)

Behind the scenes of: The Matrix (1999)

Keanu Reeves (Neo) and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) suspended by wires, filming one of the iconic “bullet time” scenes in the groundbreaking movie that changed sci-fi as we know it (or at least knew it at the time).

This, and several other shots in the film were achieved by positioning over a hundred cameras on a rig strategically in a circle around the actors. Once “action” was called the cameras sequentially took digital photos which were then edited together. 📸🎞

To get the shots so silky smooth (the unedited shot would’ve been a bit juddery, a bit like stop-motion), a process called Interpolation was used. This process digitally created artificial frames which once added, bridged the gap between each of the real ones.

Talk about groundbreaking special effects! 🙌

Incredibly the Wachowskis had only directed one other film before The Matrix but nevertheless proved themselves to be more than capable filmmakers.

They’d previously written the Sylvester Stallone action thriller, Assassins (1995) as well as the modest hit, Bound (1996) which was their directorial debut. They’d also written for Marvel Comics writing several issues of series’ created by Clive Barker (Hellraiser). And in fact that’s how The Matrix started out, as an idea for a comic book.

Hugo Weaving poses with two of the full-head masks created from a mould of his own face and head. Around 50 of these masks were made. They were worn by Agent Smith extras to give the illusion that there were hundreds of Smith clones in the rainy fight scene (The Matrix Revolutions ). Another 100 were made for dummies.

I think most people know by now that Will Smith was originally offered the role of Neo but turned it down to make Wild Wild West (1999) - a decision he’s since admitted he regrets. What they might not know is that Nicolas Cage was also offered the part (or “A” part depending on what you read) too. Other actors also considered to play “The One” include Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Val Kilmer (who was later offered the role of Morpheus but passed).

Neo and Smith were best buds really...

I know Keanu Reeves gets a bit of flack for his acting but personally I couldn’t image anyone else in the role. The whole cast is brilliant and I think Keanu’s modesty and lack of “Hollywood” makes him the perfect fit.

Likewise, Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith was another perfect casting choice and his absence from the latest film (in my opinion) is one of its biggest flaws.

Fun fact: Neo is an anagram of “One” as in “The One”. 🤯

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