Even Lana Wachowski’s closest friends never thought she’d do a fourth Matrix. Writers David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon worked with Wachowski on her Netflix show Sense8 (Mitchell also wrote the Cloud Atlas novel the Wachowskis helped adapt), and knew Warner Bros. had been asking her and sister Lilly to return to the world the siblings created in 1999. So when Lana asked them if they’d like to help her write a new movie, the writers were stunned.
“It was Fall 2018 and Lana asked for a Zoom… and she outlined one or two ideas for Resurrections,” Mitchell told Gizmodo over the phone. “And while she was speaking, I was already thinking, ‘This sounds great and if she is telling me this just by chance to ask if I’d like to be involved, then it would be yes.’ And she was and it was.”
“I know that [Warner Bros.] had been wanting her and Lilly to make another Matrix for 20 years or so, and she never had any interest, so it was totally unexpected,” Hemon added. “But we had plans and ideas for various projects, so I expected us to work together, David, Lana and I, in the future at some point. But the Matrix idea came out of the blue, and she told me in This particular conversation what her thinking was, what she saw and the evolution of the idea. And of course, who in their right mind says ‘No’ to working on The Matrix with your favourite people in the world? So yeah, it didn’t take long to decide anything.”
Eventually the trio got together in a hotel to figure out the beats of what would become the fourth Matrix film. Each would write scenes and, eventually, Wachowski would kind of smooth them all out and make it cohesive. During that time, Mitchell and Hemon found themselves in sort of a Matrix school as Wachowski would explain all of the minutia and backstory she and her sister had been thinking about for decades.
“I remember this one day when we were writing it [and] a couple of hours went by when she was talking about all these other possibilities,” Hemon recalled. “It’s not that they wanted to shoot and they couldn’t. It was just that they imagined more than was necessary for the story itself. The backstory was so elaborate and huge and expansive.”
Mitchell adds that he feels that attention to detail is why the franchise has continued to be so popular. “I think it makes the world building absolutely copper bottomed and solid and robust,” he said. “There’s nothing kind of makeshift or floating about the world building of The Matrix. It’s really solid. It feels really solid on the screen because it is really solid in Lana’s head.”
Keeping things light on the spoilers, the trailers for Resurrections show that many of the ideas for this film hinge on a memory of the original film. So there are moments in Resurrections that are just footage from the original Matrix Trilogy. The writers explained that some of that was scripted and some of that was just everyone realising a picture can speak so much louder than words.
“Some of the [movie clips] were in the script… but also some of the things that we wrote were replaced, and the movie’s better for that,” Hemon said. “The scene in a coffee shop in particular was intercut with Neo’s memories of Trinity. It was something that we worked out in that scene that showed how strong their love is, although they cannot quite formulate or understand it in that moment. But then to intercut with the old movies gave. and not only in that scene in a particular way, value [to] those movies. The movies as memories. That’s a fascinating concept.
“And memory is a kind of movie,” Mitchell added. “And we are the editors of the memory movie in our own minds.” In the words of Keanu Reeves: “Whoa.”
You’ll be making your own movie memories later this week when The Matrix Resurrections hits theatres and HBO Max. Check back later this week for more from the writers discussion a few bigger spoilers.
Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.