One of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time is The Matrix series of films about a dystopian future where humanity is trapped in an artificial reality created by their machine overlords. After a gap of two decades, the next installment in the series, The Matrix 4, is currently being directed by director Lana Wachowski, who co-created the original trilogy with her sister Lily. Neil Patrick Harris is joining the franchise this time around. In a recent interview with Variety, the actor described the filming conditions for The Matrix 4 as “very intimate”.
“[The filming conditions] didn’t feel large because it felt like [Lana Wachowski] was in her sweet spot, which was filming on the fly, filming using natural light. Sometimes you’d sit around for an hour waiting for the clouds to clear, and then you’d quickly film. You’d film pages at a time in 30 minutes and then be done. You would think that a giant movie would be 100% storyboarded, animatics, and we’d be checking off shots. I think she lived that before three times over, and I would suspect that she wants to do things her own way now. It wasn’t often that you felt that you were doing something gigantic because she made it feel very intimate.”
It sounds like the process of filming The Matrix 4 has a much looser feel to it than before. But that does not mean the director is pulling any punches when it comes to giving the film an epic feel. The original Matrix trilogy is remembered for its groundbreaking action sequences. John Wick creator Chad Stahelski, who got his start as Keanu Reeves’ stunt double in The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded, and was the martial arts stunt coordinator for The Matrix Revolutions, confirmed last year that he is coming back as a stunts advisor for The Matrix 4, and has some major scenes planned.
“[Lana Wachowski] comes with this idea. She comes with this set piece. She comes with, ‘This is the character. This is what’s happening. This is the conflict. This is where I need him to be emotionally or psychologically or whatever plot-wise at the end of this sequence. What do you got in your bag of tricks to make it absolutely crazy?’ She’s one of those great people that she’ll tell us something and we’ll say, ‘Okay, we’ve got this.’ Then she’s like, ‘Oh my God, that’s awesome. I didn’t think of that, but what if we took this and made it this?'”
It will be interesting to see how the world of The Matrix has changed over two decades, and how Trinity and Neo fit into the new reality with a new cast of heroes. Directed by Lana Wachowski, Matrix 4 stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick, and Jonathan Groff. The film arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021. This story first appeared at Variety.