In breathtaking news, more than 70,000 fans have signed a new Change.org petition to have “most wholesome person alive” Keanu Reeves crowned Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019.
The petition was launched last week, with a press release saying Reeves is “officially an internet obsession” for everything from his “cult-like success” in the John Wick franchise to how he “respects his female fans by using the time-honoured ‘hoverhand’ technique” in photos.
But before he was a retired assassin, a gentleman and a potential Time honoree, Reeves, 54 went large 20 years ago in The Matrix.
The film – about an apocalyptic world in which humans are unknowingly imprisoned in a computer simulation – revolutionised the movies (remember bullet time?), rejuvenated Keanu’s then-stalled career, launched Hugo Weaving to international stardom and made writers and directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski (then Larry and Andy; they now identify as female) the hottest things in Hollywood.
To simultaneously bolster Reeves’ Time hopes and plug you back into The Matrix for its big anniversary, here’s some inside secrets from its Sydney set.
Keanu wasn’t the Wachowskis’ first choice to play Neo
He wasn’t their second choice, either. The filmmakers courted Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp among others to play the computer hacker who’s told he is ‘The One’ to save the world.
Former Home and Away star Matt Doran, who played Mouse, went for a different role
“I auditioned for the guy who was accepting the disk off Keanu, when he sees the white rabbit on the girl’s shoulder,” Doran, now 42, tells The New Daily. “I didn’t get that … but it so happens that the Mouse role was perfect for me.”
The Wachowskis storyboarded the entire film before production
“Without a doubt, the project was visually the most well-prepared show I’ve ever worked on,” Sydney-based production designer Tim Ferrier, who was the set decorator, tells The New Daily.
The sibling directors were in total sync
“They were both on the same page,” says Doran, now a father of one who between acting gigs works with his brother in a building business. “They never contradicted each other.”
Keanu had a special way of welcoming newcomers to the set
Doran first met Reeves in a lift on location in the Sydney CBD. “I was with the wardrobe lady and she said, ‘Have you met Keanu yet?’ and I said, ‘No.’ And she said, ‘Keanu, this is Matt.’ And I turned around, and he was standing behind me in that black SWAT gear with his sunglasses on… And he said, ‘Welcome to the Matrix’. ”
And he was way keen
According to Ferrier, Reeves “kept to himself” on set. “He was perfectly nice, but he didn’t engage with the crew,” he says. What he did do was work hard: “He really was the first person on set each day.”
Shooting the groundbreaking ‘bullet time’ sequences took a really long time
The revolutionary effect – the camera seemingly moving around a frozen moment – involved “45 still cameras”, says Ferrier. “It was very laborious.”
The food on the Nebuchadnezzar hovership was a “rice porridge”
“Mixed with honey,” said Doran. “I had to look like I was enjoying it.”
The S&M club was real
When Neo follows the white rabbit (a tattoo on the back of a woman played by a 20-year-old Ada Nicodemou), he winds up in an S&M club, which is actually Sydney’s Hellfire Club.
The Matrix is a true story, according to Elon Musk
The billionaire entrepreneur believes humans are more than likely living in a simulation, given the age of the universe and the possibility that alien civilisations could have long ago developed the technology to create simulations. So Musk is saying there already is a fourth Matrix film, and it stars us.