Keanu Reeves, who plays Neo in The Matrix franchise, recently claimed that Warner Bros. was not ready for a transgender in the original The Matrix film.
Reeves recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly to promote the upcoming The Matrix Resurrections, where he told the website, “I think the studio wasn’t ready for that.”
His comment came while discussing an early draft of the film’s original script that included a character who entered the Matrix as a different sex.
Reeves comments come over a year after The Matrix director Andy Wachowski, who now calls himself Lilly Wachowski, claimed the original intention of the film was a transgender allegory.
In a YouTube video uploaded to the Netflix Film Club channel Wachowski would answer the question, “What do you think of fans discussing The Matrix’s trans allegory?”
The director responded, “I’m glad that it has gotten out that, you know, that was the original intention but the world wasn’t quite ready yet. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”
Wachowski continued, “When you make movies and it’s this public art form, I think any kind of art that you put into the universe, there’s a letting go process. Because it is entering into public dialogue. I like that.”
“There’s an evolution process that we as human beings engage in art in a non-linear way that we can always like talk about something in new ways and in new light,” Wachowski added.
The director then specifically discussed the character of Switch saying, “The Matrix stuff was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view. And so we had the character of Switch, who was like a character who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix, both were where our headspaces were.”
Interestingly, Wachowski would also be asked, “Did your identity inform writing and directing The Matrix at the time?”
The director answered, “I don’t know how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing it. But it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.”
Wachowski continued, “Because trans people exist in this…especially for me and Lana we were existing in this space where the words didn’t exist so we were always living in a world of imagination. It’s why I gravitated towards science fiction and fantasy and played Dungeons & Dragons. It was all about creating worlds and so I think it freed us up as filmmakers because we were able to imagine stuff at that time that you didn’t necessarily see on screen.”
“Or even the idea of how we can exist in as many genres as possible. One of the things we really enjoyed doing was sort of genre bending, where you would have stuff that felt like Kung-Fu movies, and anime, and westerns,” The Matrix director elaborated.
Wachowski then stated, “And we always loved this scene that Ned Beatty would do in this movie Network, where he would talk about the way the world was, and it was always from this corporate hierarchical, overlord structure.
Finally, Wachowski concluded the video stating, “I think in our transness and queerness we were always trying to incorporate as many things as possible. It’s just like trying to visualize within a much larger infinite scope of the imagination.”
However, in an interview with Ken Wiber, Larry Wachowski, who now calls himself Lana Wachowski said, “You make a work of art and you want it to be provocative. You want people to dialogue about it. You don’t want them to rely on somebody to tell them what it is. The whole nature of the movie is exactly that.”
Wachowski elaborated, “It seems hypocritical for us to go out and tell everybody what it is supposed to be about or what you are supposed to think about.”
The director added, “And even if I was to do it, or Andy was to do it in the gentlest of terms and try to contextualize it as what it means to us, it’s because by the very nature of us being the creators of it, it becomes the law. It becomes the interpretation. And anyone else’s interpretation is just some crazy individual that really doesn’t get it.”
Wachowski concluded, “I don’t want to devalue anyone’s opinion of it. I think that is one of the reasons why art is a worthwhile experience.”
What do you make of Reeves’ comments regarding the original The Matrix film?