Roger Ebert's Run In with Larry and Andy Wachowski

October 4, 2008

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.

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  • safichan
    haven't speak for 10 years??!!! it seems like boycotting or what??
  • I don't presume to know why The Wachowski's have avoided the press in the last ten years, but I'm sure Larry's transformation into Lana Wachowski had a little something to do with it. That's kind of a private matter and I doubt the press would be able to leave it alone in any kind of current profile of the pair. I was struck, however, that they didn't include any commentary or show up at all in the special features on Speed Racer. You'd think for a movie so visually complex, they'd have something to share in terms of their thought process. It would have been interesting to obtain their insights.
  • Deuce
    #3 - They didn't direct V For Vendetta.
  • nelson
    Ninja Assassin comes out 3 months and no new info about it whats up with that
  • Red Buttons
    Sure the 2nd and 3rd matrix movies weren't as great as the first, but they were good enough. Also Speed Racer was fun. And i have yet to find their movie "bound" so i can't judge them on only soo few movies.
  • Kail
    It's too bad they suck. The first Matrix and MAYBE V for Vendetta were the only good movies they shat out.
  • Kail
    Ha then I guess the only good movie they shat out was the first Matrix
  • Dave Lister, J.M.C.
    Wachowskis are one hit wonders so far. The Matrix, and... that's it. Reloaded and Revolutions were not good films; they seemed to crumble under the weight of trying to live up to the first film. However, that first Matrix film is enough to raise interest in anything they do in the future. It remains to be seen if they can ever reach those heights again.
  • If you guys haven't seen "Bound," I highly recommend it. I think it's better than The Matrix by miles.
  • Colin
    I agree, Tom. By far their best movie.
  • John
    I like all that they have done. Liking their movies is all subjective, so theres no point bitching about if they are good or crap.
  • avoidz
    #11—You just commented that you like all their work, which counts as a "bitch" about them being good/bad... Matrix was their only hit; a big, influential hit, though. I rented Bound for the lesbian content. It was a decent flick, too :)
  • they're one hit wonders. however, even the first matrix was comprised of ideas not exactly of their own making but a modification of sophia stewart treatment, and sxean lee-david game design. google the names and see for yourself.
  • #5 - Ninja Assassin got moved from January to an unknown date... I'm guessing near the summer season. It might've had some solid buzz from Comic-Con that showed them it was worthy of a better release date? All I know is they decided to move it from January... And the trailer I saw there looked fuckin' incredible. I, for one, don't think the Wachowski's are one hit wonders. Obviously we can argue this for hours, but not only did I enjoy the second and third Matrix films (for the technical achievements at least) but I loved Speed Racer, too. I think they are visionaries who do continue to push the limits of filmmaking and will continue to do so for years. I guess that's just my belief... They need to prove that to everyone again with something else though...
  • Peloquin
    Wow Alex must like the Wachowskis if they can get him to use the word "fuck" in a post... I'm a big Speed Racer fan myself so I'm eagerly awaiting Ninja Assassin...
  • The black thing in 2001, is a alien probe. Designed to lead mankind out into space to find its creator. Sheesh. Everyone knows that.
  • The black thing in 2001 is an extension of GOD.
  • Now that is a funny comment #17.




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