Roger Ebert's Run In with Larry and Andy Wachowski
Die hard fanatics of The Matrix know that filmmakers Larry and Andy Wachowski haven't ever spoken to the press since 1999, when Matrix first premiered. Its been nine years and they still haven't broken their anti-press stance, remaining absent during Speed Racer promotions. However, our favorite critic-turned-blogger Roger Ebert randomly ran into the brothers after a screening of a newly restored print of The Godfather (which was re-released recently) and spoke to them officially for the first time in years. He describes them as: "Nice people. Friendly. No Hollywood attitude. The blogosphere paints them as mysterious recluses, which may add to the legend, but doesn't match the reality."
If anyone's curious, Ebert's recount of the evening is a fascinating read. He mainly quotes their discussion about The Godfather and specifically cinematographer Gordon Willis' use of shadows and light. Cinephiles should be in utter awe just reading about one film legend's comments about another film legend, but there's definitely something valuable to be found in Ebert's chat with the two. In one of my favorite parts of the interview, Larry explains where and when his fascination with cinema began.
"I've always been fascinated by films that draw you visually into the picture," he said. "I first experienced that when I was taken as a kid to see Kubrick's '2001.' I told my dad, 'That black box is the key to everything! What do you think it means?' My dad said, 'Maybe it's the consciousness of God.' I went back and was even more deeply drawn into it."
By now it's well documented that 2001: A Space Odyssey was one of the key inspirations for The Matrix. As Ebert mentions, "digital technology allowed them to hold perfect focus as [The Godfather's] Willis had inspired them to do." Even though I've been able to chat with talented filmmakers like Danny Boyle and Darren Aronofsky, there are a few filmmakers who I've been dying to get some one-on-one time with. Larry and Andy Wachowski (as well as Christopher Nolan) are at the very top of my list. I doubt it will ever happen, unless I have some crazy luck like Ebert, but I'll be trying as hard as I can. For now, this brief chat with the Wachowskis is enough of an exhilarating peek, that I'm not worried about losing any sleep.