The Matrix Reloaded
September 24th 2001
Daily TelegraphTHE MATRIX cameras started rolling with Christine Anu, who has scored a role, and Jada Pinkett Smith – wife of Will Smith – being two of the first stars to appear on set. Pinkett Smith arrived in Sydney on the weekend.
WELL before "action" was called, Keanu Reeves led the Matrix cast and crew on a Buddhist chant with incense burning to ward off any evil spirits hovering near the production's doorstep. Carrie-Anne Moss and Lozza Fishburne also took part.
September 18th 2001Why Keanu likes to play Hardball
Arriving at a party at what was then the city's trendiest restaurant, he looked uncomfortable in a flannel shirt and jeans, standing alone near the bar, drinking a beer.
Four hours later, I walked by the restaurant and there was Reeves, sprawled on a bench in front, apparently asleep and utterly unbothered.
Fifteen years later, Reeves is not likely to go unnoticed in public. While it seemed as if half the stars in Hollywood were encamped at midtown's Four Seasons Hotel, the crowd that had gathered outside was primarily hoping for a glimpse of Reeves, back to promote his new movie, Hardball.
"Did you see him?" asked a woman in a tank top and navel ring, looking a few years past the Backstreet Boys age of stage-door vigil. "What was he was wearing? Was he with anybody?"
As to the latter question, it's one every inquiring – read nosy P – mind's been trying to figure out for years; if there's a more private person in Hollywood than Reeves, he's not in the movie business. As to the former, he was wearing a smart black suit and a crisp black T-shirt, plus a pair of old brown clodhoppers with the clods seemingly still attached. His white socks barely made it to the top of the boots. Reeves, however, is not the kind of person you joke with about fashion confusion, or anything else, at least on the record. With journalists he's notoriously remote and businesslike. He comes to work.
The attempt to coax the restaurant-bench memory from him is fruitless: "I don't remember that," he says flatly, "but I'm not disputing your memory." Nor does he remember much about the two days he spent in Detroit last year filming Hardball, in which he plays a ticket-scalper and sports bettor who gets so deep into bookies he has to take a job coaching a Little League team in Chicago's Cabrini Green, generally regarded as the toughest housing project in the United States.
In the film, Reeves is seen selling tickets outside a Bulls game, which is apparently being played at Cobo. When he takes his team for an outing at Wrigley, the famous field is played by Tiger Stadium, which is spending its retirement as a movie stand-in, having impersonated other ballparks in For Love of the Game and 61*.
"When I'm working, I don't go out; I usually just stay in my room and prepare," says Reeves.
His preparation for Hardball extended to some research on his character's occupations.
"I had a friend who called a friend who hooked me up with this businessman who works out of a bar, and I spent the night with him and some of his customers, drinking and listening to some pretty incredible stories. And me and John Hawkes (who plays his scalping partner in the film) spent a night over at Wrigley, doing some business ourselves," he recalls.
"Oh, sure, I got busted (recognised), but after we went through all the movie stuff, then we'd haggle over the ticket prices. I got some people some pretty good seats for a fair price. It was capitalism at work. People got seats; Wrigley made money; I made money."
Like Wrigley, Cabrini Green had its own stand-in in Hardball, a smaller, apparently safer project called Alma. But Reeves said he took a walk one night that unexpectedly led him to the real Cabrini, where residents were friendly enough to greet him with Yo, Bill and Ted, and Yo, Eno.
The first refers to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the film that made him a star and established his persona as dude. The latter refers to his character in The Matrix, the film that made him an epic action star. The day after this interview, Reeves was set to return to Australia, where he had been since July, to resume work in earnest on the two sequels to the 1999 surprise smash. The first of these, filming under the title Matrix Reloaded, will be released in 2002.
Reeves says the next two Matrix chapters "are so beyond the first film it's unbelievable." Without revealing anything about the plot, he promises the films will be deeper and more elaborate in every way, especially in regard to story. "They're just a lot more layered.
"I never did think of The Matrix as an action film," says Reeves. "To me it was science-fiction drama, and the special effects, as amazing as they were, are only part of the storytelling process. What the Wachowskis (brothers Andy and Larry, who co-directed and co-wrote) have done is synthesised everything that's going on emotionally, technologically and philosophically in movies in ways that made everything else look instantly old-fashioned. I mean, all you have to do is see the movies that came out in the last year to see the influence it had."
Reeves will be in Australia for nine months making the films, but he's not one of those movie stars who takes along a squad of assistants or a posse of pals for diversion. A guitar, some books and a good job, he says, are pretty much his only requirements.
"Nine months isn't that long when you have work to do and you're focused on it," says Reeves. "I think I'll survive it."
Keanu shares Matrix booty
Reeves was said to have signed away sizeable back-end deals for his upcoming roles.
The Journal said he had handed over profit points to the special effects and costume design teams.
"He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate," movie execs said. Going by money made from The Matrix, that's quite a bit of green stuff.
Reeves took $A20 million up front and made another $A50 million from back-end deals when the film became a worldwide box office smash.
Reeves is not opposed to sharing the spoils. He took a huge pay cut on The Devil's Advocate so execs could afford Al Pacino.
September 16th 2001Matrix star on a roll
He has shaved off his grungy facial growth in preparation for his first day on set with co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss.
Dressed in his regulation black street clothes, Reeves was seen burning up fashionable Oxford St on a Harley-Davidson last Thursday night.
He returned to Sydney only on Wednesday after attending the Hollywood premiere of his film, Hardball, with co-star Amanda De Cadenet. He was on the same flight as pop princess Britney Spears and US Open hero Lleyton Hewitt, but escaped the waiting media.
However, he was photographed Reeves preparing to ride out of his harbourside hotel on his impressive black Harley, complete with Californian plates.
The Sunday Mail
Hopefuls line up for extras jobs on the Matrix sequel top left and above Keanu Reeves practices martial arts
Sunday Mail 9th September 2001. Text of newspaper article below
Along with co-stars Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Australian Hugo Weaving, Reeves arrives on the Fox Studios lot at 7.30am and trains for up to 10 hours.
"All the actors have been undergoing intensive martial arts training," one insider on the set of Matrix Unloaded said. "They emerge only for a lunch break and they're usually in training gear. The caterer has also prepared high protein diets for them."
After workouts at the purpose-built gym to get in shape for the demanding fight sequences, even Reeves is hardly recognisable in sweatpants, beanie and boots.
Despite Reeves' enthusiasm for the sequels, The Matrix insiders say he still has depression following the stillbirth of his daughter last year and death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, in a car crash in April.
The name has been announced for the second Matrix movie and it is
The Matrix Reloaded
Thanks to Coming Attractions for the info
March 29th 2001
Keeanu Reeves is coming back to Australia in October for the filming of The Matrix 2 and 3
WARNER BROS. PICTURES ANNOUNCES PLANS TO
FILM "THE MATRIX" SEQUELS IN
Burbank, CA, March 29, 2001 - Producer Joel Silver and directors Larry
and Andy Wachowski will shoot sequels to their groundbreaking, Academy
Award-winning blockbuster "The Matrix" in Australia, it was announced
today by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, President of Worldwide Production,
Warner Bros. Pictures.
"We had a terrific experience shooting 'The Matrix' in Australia,"
Lorenzo di Bonaventura said. "We look forward to returning to the
state-of-the-art facilities and incredible locations in Sydney to shoot
the sequels in collaboration with the talented local production crew and
with the cooperation of the Australian government."
"This is wonderful news because it's return business," said Bob Carr,
the Sydney-based Premier of New South Wales. "'The Matrix' was the
first big international production to come to our new Sydney studios.
Now the sequels will be shot here as well. That's a great vote of
confidence in our crews, our locations and our facilities. It confirms
our position as a leading film-making destination."
After completing preliminary photography in California, the production
will be based at the Fox Studios in Sydney. "The Matrix" sequels will
film on location in Sydney with the support and assistance of the
Federal Government, the State Government of New South Wales, N.S.W.
State Premier Bob Carr, and the Office of State and Regional
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving will
reprise their roles from "The Matrix." Also returning will be
Australian producer Andrew Mason, as well as numerous local crew members
and award-winning technicians from the original "Matrix" production.
The highly acclaimed action thriller won four Academy Awards, became the
fastest-selling DVD on record at the time of its release, and has
accumulated the biggest box office in Warner Bros. Pictures' history -
over $450 million worldwide.
"The Matrix" sequels are scheduled to begin production in Sydney in
September 2001. The films will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros.
Pictures and, in select territories, by Village Roadshow Pictures.
Because there are so many sites on The Matrix 2 and 3 I can't even compete.
So what I have decided to do is try to list info from an Australian perspective.
Location pictures etc that will not be accessible for overseas fans of the series.
Adding these pictures for The Matrix in case someone hasn't seen them before
The Matrix 1999