The Matrix sequels were ‘mind-numbing and soul-numbing’ to work on, says their cinematographer

‘There was a lot of friction and a lot of personal problems, and it showed up on screen to be honest with you’

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 15 July 2020 11:22
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Classic scene where Neo escapes from work in The Matrix

Bill Pope, the cinematographer who worked on the Matrix trilogy, has described his time on the franchise’s two sequels as “mind-numbing and soul-numbing”.

While 1999’s The Matrix is still widely cited as one of the best sci-fi films in recent history, 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were critically panned.

Pope, who is also known for his collaborations with Sam Raimi and Edgar Wright, spoke about his time making the sequels on the Team Deakins podcast.

“Everything that was good about the first experience [on The Matrix] was not good about the last two,” he 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.”

Pope cited the unusual length of the shooting schedule – 276 days – as one of the main reasons for the films’ failures.

“That is mind-numbing and soul-numbing and I think it numbs the movie,” he said. “There’s a limit to what we can take in.”

A fourth Matrix film is currently in production, with Lana Wachowski – one of the two Wachowski sisters who directed the original films – serving as director and co-writer.

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are set to reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively, while Jada Pinkett-Smith, who featured in Reloaded and Revolutions, will also return.

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