15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Original 'Matrix' Film

List Rules
Vote up the facts that made you say, 'Whoa.'

The turn of the century may not have resulted in widespread computer outages via the Y2K bug, but it did see the release of one of the greatest action/sci-fi movies in the past few decades. The Wachowskis' The Matrix is easily one of the greatest movies of the past 25 years, and a lot of that has to do with the work that went into making it. The movie isn't simply a gun-filled violent onslaught of action... well, it is, but it's hardly done without careful steps along the way.

The Wachowskis had a vision, and achieving it took them years of hard work. They had to convince Warner Bros. to let them make it, which required more work than most fans would realize. The actors involved needed to knock out months of training, and there's so much more that a casual fan knows little to nothing about. This list features some of the more interesting things you (probably) didn't know about the original Matrix film. Check them out below, and if you see something you didn't already know, be sure to give it an upvote to see which one rises to the top!


  • 1
    12 VOTES

    The Wachowskis Insisted The Cast & Crew Be Able To Explain The Philosophy Of The Movie

    The Matrix is an incredibly deep and allegorical tale, and that's entirely by design. This list could honestly be about all of the symbolism in the movie(s) and how deep that goes, but there's no need to go into that much detail. Of course, the Wachowskis didn't insist the audience pick apart every detail in the underlying philosophy of their movie, but they did expect it of the cast and crew. It was important for them to ensure the people starring in and making the movie understood their vision.

    To achieve this, they insisted Keanu Reeves read Simulacra and SimulationOut of Control, and Evolutionary Psychology. These weren't something they wanted him reading in preparation for the role; rather, they insisted he read them before he read the script. Of those three books, none are even remotely close to being considered "light reading." As Reeves recalls:

    I had to read Baudrillard; I had to read Out of Control, which is about systems, evolution, robots. Then, there was another book, which was Evolutionary Psychology. Those were three books they wanted me to read before I even opened up the script.

    12 votes
  • 2
    11 VOTES

    The Lobby Scene Doesn't Use Any CGI

    Arguably, the greatest scene in the movie comes when Neo and Trinity storm into the building lobby to save Morpheus. They do so while packing more weapons than most small armies have at their disposal, and it's one of the best-shot scenes in the movie. While it would seem likely CGI was used to achieve all of the flips and incredible movements of the characters, that wasn't the case. In fact, the entire scene was shot using practical effects.

    Getting it right took a great amount of time and work, as it took 10 days to shoot. That's a relatively long period of time for one scene during a 118-day shoot. Wires were used to achieve the acrobatic movements of the characters, and the rest was all ballistics and the like. In the end, it took 10 days and amounted to only three minutes of screentime.

    11 votes
  • 3
    22 VOTES

    Keanu Reeves Had "No Martial Arts Background" Prior To 'The Matrix'

    Keanu Reeves has developed into an incredibly successful action star, and if you're on the fence about that, just look at his filmography. He's been in Speed, Point Break, John Wick, and much more. One of his most important action films is easily The Matrix because it required a great deal of intense (and varied) martial arts moves. While some actors might be fine learning basic fight choreography to make specific scenes look good, Reeves wasn't willing to do the bare minimum.

    His character plugged into the construct on the Nebuchadnezzar and immediately learned kung fu, but sadly, that wasn't a realistic option. Reeves trained for four months to prepare for his role. That was on top of the mixed martial arts moves he learned in addition to karate. Reeves admitted to "have no martial arts background" before The Matrix, having taken only a single aikido class. He did learn what he calls "movie kung fu" but never mastered the discipline. He must have enjoyed his training, though, because he learned both judo and jujitsu for John Wick.

    22 votes
  • 4
    35 VOTES

    Keanu Reeves Was The Last Person The Studio Wanted To Play Neo

    Looking back, it's difficult to think of another actor playing Neo in The Matrix. After all, the man played the role to perfection, but if the studio had its way, he wouldn't have ever gotten the chance. Keanu Reeves wasn't the first choice for the part, and he wasn't the second, third, or fourth. He was behind a long list of actors (and one actress) considered for the role.

    Ideally, Brad Pitt would have played Neo, and he accepted only to quickly decline. The role was then offered to Leonardo DiCaprio, who did the same thing. After those two accepted and then pulled out, the job was offered to Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, Sandra Bullock, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner, David Duchovny, and Tom Cruise before Reeves was even considered.

    35 votes
  • 5
    9 VOTES

    Neo Doesn't Kick Much For A Very Good Reason

    Keanu Reeves learned numerous fighting moves to prepare for his role as Neo, but you may have noticed he doesn't kick very much. There's a good reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the character or the script. Shortly before production began on the movie, Reeves underwent neck surgery, which he explained in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2000:

    I have a two-level fusion. I had one old compressed disk and one shattered disk. One of them was really old, 10 years, and eventually one started sticking to my spinal cord. I was falling over in the shower in the morning because you lose your sense of balance.

    Despite his need for recovery, which required a neck brace, he continued to train. He wasn't able to do many kicks during training or filming. Regardless, if you sit down and watch The Matrix, you'll see him doing several kicks, which must have been excruciating for him at the time. The filming took 118 days, and it can take several weeks before a person has a normal range of motion following such a procedure.

    9 votes
  • 6
    8 VOTES

    Carrie-Anne Moss Trained For Six Months To Film Her Action Scenes

    Before The Matrix, Carrie-Anne Moss was largely unknown, and that's clearly no longer true. In preparation for her role as Trinity, Moss trained intensely for six months alongside her co-stars. Her training included fight choreography and the use of wires to pull off all of the elevated action shots, which Moss participated in during the filming of the movie. Moss put in the time and effort needed to prepare herself for the intense action sequences required for her character. 

    Moss explained, "We trained as a team: Keanu, Laurence, Hugo, and myself. We trained for six months with a wire team from Hong Kong led by Woo-ping. It was so challenging but incredibly fulfilling." When they were finished shooting the movie, the Wachowskis allegedly gave Moss a gift in the form of a bottle of champagne, which featured an inscription saying, "Congratulations, now you're an action hero." That may not be the only time the Wachowskis gave someone a bottle like that. Reportedly, halfway through filming the movie, they presented Laurence Fishburne with one reading, "One down, two to go."

    8 votes