It’s been 15 years since Morpheus took us along on Neo’s ride into the Matrix in the Wachowski brothers science fiction masterpiece. Since that time we’ve had two lesser sequels and countless knockoffs attempting to recapture some of the original movie’s cinematic wizardry and inventive storytelling.
From the secret of those bullet time sequences to the studio’s first choice for the role of Neo, getting The Matrix made was no easy process. So without further ado, let’s pop that red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
1. The Wachowskis sold Warner Brothers on the project with the $10 million opening sequence. When the brothers first approached the studio about the project they had a projected budget of $60 million. The studio balked at the idea of giving them that much and instead offered them $10 million to shoot the film. The brothers spent the entire $10 million on the film’s opening sequence and impressed the studio enough that they were given the initial asking budget to finish the movie.
2. The altered studio logo was a dig at the system. According to Visual Effects Supervisor John Gaeta on the DVD commentary, the altered studio logo in the movie’s opening was done as a way of going against the system that stifles the creativity of writers and directors.
3. Keanu Reeves wasn’t the first choice for Neo. Will Smith was offered the part, but turned it down to film Wild Wild West. From there the role was offered to Nicolas Cage who had to refuse because of family commitments. Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Leonardo DiCaprio were also in consideration for the part that was finally sealed with Reeves.
4. Laurence Fishburne wasn’t the only choice for Morpheus. Last week, we learned that the role was passed on by Russell Crowe. In addition to Crowe, Sean Connery and Samuel L. Jackson were also considered for the famous part.