The Matrix is one of the most iconic movies released in the past 20 years. We may think we know everything there is to know about the sci-fi classic, but, like Neo, we haven’t even begun to learn all there is to know. Below are 21 facts you probably never knew about the movie:
1. The Wachowskis risked the film’s entire budget just to make it the way they wanted.
The original budget that the Wachowskis pitched Warner Bros. was over $80 million. Warner gave them $10 million, so they used all of it on the opening sequence with Trinity. The opening scene impressed executives at Warner so much when they showed it, they green-lit the original budget.
2. The film differentiates the Matrix and the real world through color.
The scenes that take place within the Matrix are tinted green; those that happen in the real world have more of a normal coloring. The fight scene between Neo and Morpheus has a yellow tint, since it takes place in neither.
3. Keanu actually climbed out the window without a stuntman.
During the phone conversation between Neo and Morpheus within the MetaCortex offices, Morpheus instructs Neo to go through the window. Keanu did this himself without the aid of a stunt double, 34 stories in the air.
4. The helicopter scene almost caused the film to be shut down.
They flew the chopper through restricted airspace in Sydney, Australia. Laws in New South Wales had to be changed in order to let The Matrix proceed with filming.
5. Which might explain why the Morpheus’ rescue took six months to prepare and plan.
6. The Wachowskis worked on their vision for the movie for five and a half years.
The final product, arrived after working through 14 screenplay drafts, took up 500 storyboards.
7. Morpheus, in Greek mythology, is the god of dreams.
Which is ironic, since he’s the man who wakes people from their dream states and introduces them to reality.
8. Keanu Reeves only has 80 lines in the first 45 minutes of the film.
Of those 80 lines, 44 are questions. That’s over his half his dialogue, and it amounts to about one question per minute.
9. All of the color blue was removed from the exterior shots.
The idea behind this was that it would make the outside world of the Matrix seem more grim.
10. Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation was required reading for all principal cast and crew.
The book, which is about hyperreality and the imitation of real-world processes, can be found in Neo’s apartment as well. It, along with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Karl Marx, Franz Kafka, and Homer’s Odyssey, were all hugely influential on the film.
11. Will Smith was approached to play Neo.
“Welcome to the real Will.” He turned it down to star in Wild Wild West instead. Good choice? Maybe not, but Smith has since admitted that it was for the best because he didn’t actually understand the script at the time.
12. Other actors considered to play Neo were Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Thankfully, Keanu won out. He’s really the only Neo we can imagine. #canttouchthis
13. “Neo” is an anagram for “one.”
Which is fitting, really, since Neo is the One.
14. The opening sequence took six months of training to prepare for and four days to shoot.
15. Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) twisted her ankle during filming, but kept it a secret.
She was afraid that if she told someone, they would re-cast her, so she kept it hidden.
16. The glyphs on the screens consist of reversed letters, numbers, and Japanese katakana characters.
17. Given Neo’s choice, the Wachowskis have both said they would choose the blue pill.
18. Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson were both considered for the role of Morpheus.
19. The film’s legacy began to show within 3 years of its release.
By mid-2002, the Bullet Time sequence had been parodied in over 20 films.
20. When Carrie-Anne Moss saw the first cut, it was the first time she’d ever seen herself in a movie.
21. Richard Walker, founder of sunglass company Blinde, competed against Ray-Ban and Arnette to design the glasses for the movie.
He personally designed custom sunglasses for each character based simply on their unique names in order to get the job. Once he got it, Walker was flown into Sydney to make custom glasses for the duration of filming.