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Matrix Revolutions - I don't think it's an accident I'm part of this... I think it was perhaps my destiny

Compiled by: Jack Foley

THE success of The Matrix franchise is probably beyond the wildest dreams of anyone involved in it, so it comes as little surprise to find that its main stars look back on the experience with such fondness.

The journey began, in 1999, when Neo and co first gave George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise a run for its money, and hasn’t really looked back since.

Reloaded, the second film in the series, opened in May this year, and has since earned over $735 million in worldwide box office, making it the highest-grossing film of 2003 so far and the highest-grossing R-rated film in history, both in the US and abroad.

Additionally, Reloaded scored the record for the largest single week ever, with $158.2 million and reached the $150 million mark in a record-breaking six days in America, while internationally, it has become the tenth highest grossing film of all time.

Its spectacular conclusion, Revolutions, opened on Wednesday last week (at the same time around the world, thereby creating another ‘first’), and has already proved tremendously popular with audiences, who look set to help it break new records.

Speaking ahead of the release of the film, however, its stars were suitably gushing about their involvement in the movies.

Keanu Reeves, who plays Neo, said he felt ‘really proud to be a part of them’, adding that each of the three films ‘are all very special to me’.

But he remains satisfied that writer-directors, the Wachowski brothers, have brought his character’s journey to a satisfactory conclusion.

"He starts to make his own decisions in Revolutions," he explains. "There's a moment in the film where Neo makes a decision and Morpheus says: "Is that what the Oracle told you?" And he says, "No." He's gained his own way now. Or, at least, is finding his way…

"In the first film, Morpheus instructs my character to free his mind. And I think he's gained sight progressively through that."

Looking back on the franchise as a whole, Reeves confesses to having several fond memories, not least the numerous battles he has enjoyed with Hugo Weaving’s arch-villain, Agent Smith.

For Revolutions, their hostilities climax in what has been dubbed as ‘the super burly brawl’, a 20-minute, rain-soaked sequence, which furthers the technical achievements of everyone involved in creating the films’ distinctive action scenes.

Yet despite the size of the challenge ahead of the actors, when the time came to film it, Reeves really enjoyed the experience.

"The final battle between Neo and Smith took quite a long time," he admits. "And we did it in rain, so there were certain elements to it that made it a little more difficult.

"Hugo and I oftentimes couldn't see each other, because of the rain, so we were fighting just by feel. But we had fought so much together by then, for almost two or three years, that on the first take, when the rain fell, we started to do our fight and we couldn't see, but we could do it. It was cool."

The brawl is something that the makers, themselves, are particularly proud of, particularly the big ‘money shot’, courtesy of the virtual cinema techniques employed, that enables them to depict, in unprecedented detail, the surreal final impact of Neo’s fist colliding with Agent Smith’s face, and thereby creating an impossible event captured at impossible camera angles as the action shifts between super slow motion and supersonic speed.

The moment aspires to be the most photo-real, dynamically moving computer-generated close-up of a human face ever created to date and, to commemorate the achievement, the Wachowski brothers and producer, Joel Silver, had three-dimensional sculptures of the final result crafted into bronze medallions, which were given to guests at each of the three Revolutions premieres, in Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo.

It is clear, from talking to any of the principle people involved in the three movies, that the experience will be something they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Laurence Fishburne, for instance, insists that the making of the films will shape the rest of his life and career, and is gushing in praise of his co-stars.

"I don’t think it’s an accident that I’m a part of this," he observes. "I think it was perhaps my destiny. I love Morpheus and he’s probably the character I will be most remembered for.

"And everyone that I spent time with, making these films, will be part of who I am for the rest of my life."

And talking more specifically about his relationship with Reeves, he adds: "Keanu and I had a great time. He is probably one of the most generous people I know.

"He's got a great sense of humor, great intelligence and great sensitivity, and it's been an honour and a joy to get to know him, and to become friends with him."

The final major star of the series, Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays Trinity, is similarly excited about her involvement, even though the experience of filming proved quite painful, as she broke her leg when performing some of the wire work.

For Revolutions, fans of the Trinity character can look forward to yet more action sequences, and the continuation of her relationship with Neo.

In terms of action, though, the Club Hell sequence, at the beginning of the film, rates as one of her fondest memories, because ‘the pressure to get every move right and be in sync with all the squibs and the explosions was immense’.

"I was also nervous about getting back on the wire again after breaking my leg, but Chad and the wire team really helped me out," she recalls. "I wound up nailing a couple of big moves in one take, and got a ‘hurrah!’ from the brothers, which is really rare for me."

And talking of her relationship, on-screen, with Reeves, she believes that ‘it evolves to the deepest place that it can’.

"Their partnership is complete," she says, "and I love the relationship between the two of them. I don't really remember seeing such a relationship in an action film where they are that close with one another. It's so real."

As for the completion of the franchise itself, she concludes: "I really want to celebrate. It has been such a great ride and I think people are really going to love it."

The film is currently on general release at cinemas across the country.

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