The Matrix is a trilogy that’s getting a +1 at a date tentatively scheduled for 2022 or later, as filming pretty much anything has been on hold amid the coronavirus outbreak. We do know that Lana Wachowski wrote the script, and Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back for more bullet time. And we also know that the rumored filming schedule is pretty hefty, which may be why cinematographer Bill Pope isn’t returning for a fourth installment.
Pope worked the first three movies, but clarified his decision in a chat with Roger Deakins on the latest “Team Deakins” podcast,
According to IndieWire, the filming was pretty hellish for a number of reasons. Pope called shooting The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions “mind-numbing and soul-numbing,” which isn’t a great thing to say about shoots that lasted 276 days
“Everything that was good about the first experience was not good about the last two,” Pope said. “We weren’t free anymore. People were looking at you. There was a lot of pressure. In my heart, I didn’t like them. I felt we should be going in another direction. There was a lot of friction and a lot of personal problems, and it showed up on screen to be honest with you. It was not my most elevated moment, nor was it anyone else’s.”
The pressure to match the genre-altering success of the first Matrix film could get to just about anyone, especially given that long a time at work. But Pope also said some directorial influence on the Wachowskis didn’t help, either.
“The Wachowskis had read this damn book by Stanley Kubrick that said, ‘Actors don’t do natural performances until you wear them out.’ So let’s go to take 90! I want to dig Stanley Kubrick up and kill him.”
It does sound pretty miserable when you put it like that, which perhaps is why the resulting films were also a bit of a slog when they finally hit screens. Still, the stars of the forthcoming Matrix seem to love the script for the movie. Hopefully getting it all on film will be a bit more enjoyable experience this time around.