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The Matrix: 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets

From the moment The Matrix was released in theaters in 1999, it became an instant cult classic and has had a considerable influence in contemporary pop culture. Despite their tight budget in making The Matrix, the Wachowskis made movie history. Over the following four years, the Wachowskis released The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, completing the trilogy. 

The series also spans across several media platforms including comics and video games. There was even an animated film called The Animatrix. It is one of the largest interconnected series to ever be produced. Only the most loyal fans of the series could uncover these secrets hidden across multiple platforms.

However, a project as large as The Matrix does come with its share of challenges. The actors were forced to brush up not only on their philosophy, but they also required extensive training to properly play their roles. These conditions imposed hardships on the overall production.

Here are the 15 Dark Behind-The-Scenes Secrets Of The Matrix.

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15  15. The Matrix Defense

Following its release, The Matrix introduced a new wave of pop culture and is responsible for generating innovative ideas among artists and its fanbase. The concept, which the film revolves around has generated a new philosophical way of understanding the world around us. Sadly, this way of interpreting reality has also resulted in some unintended consequences.

A result of these consequences is the Matrix Defense, which is a form of insanity plea. This entails the defendant justifying their actions by saying that they believe they are in the Matrix.

Surprisingly, this form of defense has been successful in swaying a jury's decision. Tonda Lynn Ansley was found not guilty due to insanity after murdering her landlady in 2002.

14 The S&M Club Is A Real Place

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At one point in The Matrix, Neo, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, goes to an S&M club to meet Trinity, played by Carrie-Ann Moss. Neo hopes that she can tell him more about what the Matrix is. The scene takes place in what appears to be an S&M club, which adds a unique atmosphere.

However, this scene is more authentic than people realize. The truth is that the scene was shot at the Hellfire Club in Sydney. The directors of The Matrix asked the club’s regular members to show up dressed in their usual attire.

This results in a truly authentic club vibe when watching the movie. The extras have no need to do give an artificial performance, as they could just act like themselves. This is just one example of how the film demonstrates an excellent example of how the real world overlaps with an artificial world.

13 The Matrix Ripped Off The Invisibles?

The Matrix brings with it some heavy philosophical implications regarding how humans perceive reality. The film implies that reality is an illusion and that humans are in fact tools subject to the manipulations of superior beings.

However, The Matrix was not the first series to develop and implement this idea. The concept was first used by Grant Morrison’s comic series, The Invisibles. Many key elements of the film were adapted from The Invisibles to The Matrix. Elements including the prophesied Messiah and the group of rebels who can travel between the real world and the fake one were adapted by the Wachowskis from The Invisibles.

Morrison has said he enjoys the movies and did not take issue with how the films draw inspiration from his source material.

12 Keanu Reeves Had Spinal Cord Surgery

Keanu Reeves shows extreme dedication to his performances. He prefers to make his stunts seem as real as possible and avoids using stunt doubles. Reeves has achieved amazing results, but often at the cost of his physical well-being.

Thus, it comes to no surprise that Reeves would continue to shoot a film as intense as The Matrix, even after undergoing surgery. During production, Reeves required spinal cord surgery after he developed some trouble maintaining his balance.

He was able to continue his role as Neo and had no trouble with scenes that did not require strenuous movements. Toward the end of filming, he was able to participate in fight scenes. However, his surgery still left him with certain restrictions. This included avoiding any unwanted stress on his spine. This is a large reason why we do not see Reeves perform much kicking during his fighting sequences.

11 The Costumes Were Cheap

There are several elements that make The Matrix an iconic film, one of them being the unique costumes worn by the characters in the film. Upon infiltrating the Matrix, Neo and the resistance don black suits, leather jackets, and some cool shades.

From the moment audiences saw this fashion on-screen, one of the most iconic images in film history was made. The outfits in The Matrix remain to this day an important symbol in pop culture.

Due to the film’s tight budget, the filmmakers resorted to use cheap materials for many of the costumes. For example, Trinity's outfit was made using cheap PVC, a synthetic plastic, and Neo's coat was fabricated using a cheap, wool weave. Regardless of the materials used to make them, the film's costumes succeed in bringing the world to life.

10 It Got Sued

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For almost two decades, The Matrix franchise remains an important focus on the topic of religious and philosophical debate. However, it has been confronted with its fair share of legal issues.

In 2013, it was the focus of a lawsuit issued by playwright ,Thomas Althouse. He claims that Warner Bros. and the Wachowskis stole the screenplay for his film, The Immortals, which he submitted in 1993. The judge presiding over the case, R. Gary Klausner, found that both films did feature a protagonist fighting against an oppressive force. Whether it be the machines from The Matrix or the Nazis from The Immortals, both groups were seeking to exploit an enslaved people.

In the end, his ruling favored Warner Bros. and the Wachowskis - the reason being that the supposed similarities weren’t substantial enough.

9 Keanu Reeves' Ledge Walk

Keanu Reeves has done some intense stunts in his time as an actor. The Matrix was especially hard on him. In one scene, we see Keanu’s character, Neo, walk out on a window ledge to escape the authorities who have come to bring him in for questioning.

The scene is terrifying and what's worse is that he really was risking his life while doing it. Not only did Reeves do the stunt himself, he also did not use cables. Reeves did all this while holding on to a bulky Nokia phone while he was 34 floors above the ground.

Reeves certainly knows how to fully commit to his role, especially with his refusal to use stunt doubles. However, the idea that he would do something so intense really blows your mind.

8 Hugo Weaving Had To HAve Surgery During Filming

Another unique element of The Matrix was the intensity of its fighting sequences. The film draws inspiration from Hong Kong martial arts films. The Wachowskis requested that the actors perform in their own fight scenes rather than use stunt doubles.

To prepare themselves for the fights, the cast underwent fourth months of rigorous training. The Wachowskis even went to great lengths to hire expert martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping to supervise their training.

However, this requirement did come with some risks. Hugo Weaving, who plays Agent Smith, suffered some serious injuries due to his training. It turned out that Weaving needed to have hip surgery, forcing the directors to alter the film’s shooting schedule. Fortunately, Weaving’s fight scenes were shot toward the end of production, giving him time to recover from his surgery.

7 The Film Forced New South Wales To Change Its Laws

After rescuing Morpheus from Agent Smith, Neo comes in, guns blazing, with a helicopter to take out the agents. As amazing as it sounds, bringing in a helicopter ended up causing quite a few problems for the film. The helicopter’s presence led to the violation of quite a few air traffic laws.

The matter was very serious and almost resulted in the film cancelling production. Fortunately, the worst did not come to pass. A compromise was met and production of the film resumed after the state of New South Wales changed some laws so that the helicopter would be allowed.

When production started, nobody expected that the film would force a state to change its laws. The helicopter rescue scene is now one of the most memorable in the movie.

6 We May Soon Be Able To Download Information Like in The Matrix

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To prepare Neo for the fight against the machines, Morpheus teaches him how to navigate through the Matrix. He introduces Neo to a unique feature that the machines incorporated into the humans’ biology, called a headjack.

The headjack not only allows the rebels to enter the Matrix, but it also allows them to download information directly into their brains. Thanks to this, Neo was able to learn martial arts in record time. According to scientists, this method of gathering information may be closer to reality than previously thought.

Researchers in Boston and Japan have collaborated to develop a method that uses MRI feedback. Due to positive results, research is continuing. The possibility of downloading info like in The Matrix may be closer than we realize.

5 Carrie-Anne Moss's Ankle Injury

Carrie-Anne Moss has always been a key figure in The Matrix franchise. Without her, the film’s opening sequence would not have had the same type of impact. According to an interview with IGN, she claims that the Wachowskis went to great lengths to make her a part of the movie.

Moss also confirms that she has a deep connection with her character, Trinity, and went to great lengths to continue playing her. This includes bearing the brunt of the exertion from the physical training the film required. At some point during filming, she broke her ankle.

Rather than risk being recast, Moss continued to play the part all while hiding the pain she was in. Her dedication to playing Trinity shows that the Wachowskis made the right choice to fight to have her among the film’s cast.

4 The Matrix Curse

The release of The Matrix created a fan base of individuals who started to question their own reality. This paranoia among Matrix fans is further reinforced by a string of unfortunate mishaps threatened to tear the franchise apart.

These events have been referred to as “The Curse of The Matrix.” These include the deaths of actors like Aaliyah, who plays Zee, and Gloria Foster, who plays The Oracle. Keanu Reeves was also a victim of this supposed curse. In addition to losing his child, he also broke up with his girlfriend Jennifer Syme, who was killed shortly after in a car accident.

To make matters worse, Reeves was sent to the hospital after a motorcycle accident. If that wasn’t enough, the production of both sequels almost fell through due to lack of sufficient funding. Thankfully, Reeves was able to personally finance the remaining production costs.

3 Warner Bros. Didn’t Want The Wachowskis To Direct

The Matrix is undeniably one of the Wachowskis' greatest achievements. However, despite the film’s success, it’s important to know that there were times when it almost did not happen. In the beginning, the film faced many obstacles to get into production. One of its first major obstacles was that originally Warner Bros did not want the Wachowskis to direct the film.

Before The Matrix, the Wachowskis weren’t exactly known as experienced directors. In fact, many studios saw them as unqualified. However, this was the incentive they needed to prove their talent as directors.

They applied their skills to the production of the crime thriller, Bound. Following the film’s successful release, Warner Bros. opinion of them changed, and the studio offered them the job.

2 Switch Was Meant To Be Gender Fluid

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In the original script, the character Switch was supposed to be gender fluid. Switch would be male in the real world, but in the Matrix his gender would become female. Unfortunately, this aspect of the character was removed from the final script.

Interestingly, Switch was also meant to be an outlet for the Wachowskis' expression of their struggles with gender identity. This personal struggle of theirs was not yet made public at the time. Switch was meant to represent this transition of gender identity from man to woman and vice versa.

In the end, it was decided that Switch's gender would remain female. It's unfortunate that this promising idea reflecting the nature of the Matrix and the real world would not be incorporated into the movie.

1 The True Reason For the Matrix

As good as The Matrix is, it does have its fair share of plot holes; the most glaring being the idea of how the machines use humans as an energy source. In the film, the machines keep humans alive by trapping them in the Matrix while harvesting the bio-electricity they produce.

However, this is scientifically impossible. Humans do not produce much energy and the machines could easily gather more resources by burning the nutrients they use to sustain their captives.

This led to the development of a fan theory stating that machines don’t harvest humans for energy. Instead, they harvest humans for their consciousness and imagination. In a way, it makes sense that the machines would use people for their ability to learn and be creative. This, in turn, helps them to learn new skills to adapt and evolve.

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