Keanu Reeves has reacted to Lilly Wachowski’s revelation that The Matrix was a trans allegory, admitting that he wasn’t aware of the deeper meaning while he was filming.
Lilly Wachowski, who created the seminal film trilogy with her sister Lana, confirmed earlier this month that it was written as a metaphor for the transgender experience – long before either of them came out as trans.
This was news to Keanu Reeves, who revealed that he had no idea he was portraying themes of gender identity in the film’s starring role.
“I never spoke to Lilly about that, she never conveyed that to me,” he said in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment.
“I think The Matrix films are profound, and I think that allegorically, a lot of people in different versions of the film can speak to that.
“And for Lilly to come out and share that with us, I think is cool.”
The $1.6 billion Matrix franchise is set to continue with an upcoming sequel, The Matrix 4, which is slated for release in 2022. Reeves began filming in San Francisco in February before production paused due to coronavirus.
When asked if the newly-confirmed transgender themes will manifest in the sequel, Reeves said with a laugh: “I don’t know. I think it’ll be open to interpretation.”
Lilly Wachowski previously explained that “the world wasn’t quite ready” to hear the trans narrative when the original film came out in 1999, but it was the sisters’ “original intention” as they wrote the script.
“The Matrix was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view,” she told Netflix in an interview for its Film Club YouTube series.
“We had the character of Switch, who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix, and that’s where [both of] our head spaces were.”
Netflix later elaborated on the film’s many transgender themes, including Neo ditching his deadname, taking the red oestrogen pill, and losing his fear of change.
Lilly and Lana Wachowski gave us one of the most influential, enduring, and celebrated films of all time. Through THE MATRIX, they gave trans people the possibility of a cinematic world without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) August 6, 2020