One of the unexpected pleasures of my time at HitFix has been getting to know the Wachowskis as people as well as filmmakers. When I was at Ain't It Cool, they released the Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer, and they didn't do any press to speak of for the films. They simply weren't available. I remember how eager Warner Bros. was to put us together with Joel Silver, and what a willing speaker on their behalf he was, but it was still disappointing to not get to speak with them about the work they were doing.
On Cloud Atlas, though, Warner Bros. knew they had something unusual, and they reached out early to see what people thought. I saw it with a group of critics mid-Summer, and as soon as the screening ended, I started asking how and when they could arrange for me to speak with the Wachowskis. Even once it happened, it was obviously a special thing, and there were very few of us who ended up sitting down with them for extended conversations during the Toronto Film Festival.
A few weeks later, they came to Austin for Fantastic Fest, and they asked me to moderate the Q&A after the screening. It was a great conversation, and a great evening, and after the screening, they came to the Highball and spent the next few hours chatting with fans and other filmmakers. During that entire process, it never occurred to me to treat Lana Wachowski as anyone but Lana Wachowski. There was one moment during the Cloud Atlas Q&A where someone pointed out how they were formerly billed as “The Wachowski Brothers,” and asked what to call them now. It was Lana who joked, “The Starship Wachowski,” and it was great seeing how comfortable and open Lana was. She not only defused the tension that comes with a question like that, but managed to utterly charm the audience in the process.
One of the things that I liked about Lana and Andy together was how deep and clear their connection was. Whatever Lana had gone through on her journey to living a public life as Lana, it was obvious that Andy was 100% supportive and proud. When I caught up with them before the release of Jupiter Ascending, it was the same way. There were small things about Andy's appearance that felt like they could just be a way of being supportive of Lana, like wearing nail polish, but again… it just came across as two very close siblings who shared one big, glorious brain.
By now, the news is starting to spread that Andy Wachowski has now transitioned to Lilly Wachowski, and in a statement to Windy City Times, self-described as “the voice of Chicago's gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community since 1985,” Lilly describes the circumstances that brought her to the decision to come out. Actually, it's more a matter of coming out to the media, since it's clear that Lilly has already been living an open life with her wife, her family, and her professional friends. For those who haven't read the letter yet, you really should. It's lovely in places, but it also addresses something very important, which is why Lilly felt she had to make this statement right now.
She describes how she's been living for the past year waiting for some media outlet to break the story, and how she's been contacted a few times by reporters looking for a statement. When no one actually ran the story, she started to actually have faith that the press was going to be decent about privacy for once.
Nope. Check out this excerpt:
Then last night while getting ready to go out for dinner my doorbell rang. Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize.
“This might be a little awkward,” he said in an English accent.
I remember sighing.
Sometimes it's really tough work to be an optimist.
He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid. And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn't want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I? BTW-The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid.