October 2003
The Matrix Revolution : An Interview with Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves

Interviewed by Alberlynne "Abby" Harris

An Interview with Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne

There’s a certain feeling of comfort when you do sequels. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristopherson (Blade), and Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker (Rush Hour). All of these guys have done sequels that have been successful. And while Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne are part of a much bigger cast in the Matrix films, their characters are the focal point of the stories, and that has given them much time to bond and form a good chemistry that translates on-screen. In a brief interview with blackfilm.com, both gentlemen were kind enough to share their thoughts on doing the final film of the trilogy, "The Matrix Revolutions".

Lawrence, you said that the role of Morpheus was destiny for you. Can you elaborate?

LF: I was at the bite fight between Evander and Tyson in Las Vegas and I see The Wachowski Brothers; they have their very introverted shy guys thing. Cut to we’re working and doing a movie and at the end they presented me with a gift of a beautiful rendering of Neo and Morpheus in the Dojo fighting with a couple of photographs. On the back Larry (Wachowski) wrote, ‘I had a dream about a man who wore mirrored sunglasses and spoke in riddles and when I met you and heard your voice I knew that you were that guy.’ So he had heard my voice in his head. So that’sthe deal.

What do your kids think of you being in ‘The Matrix’?

LF: My children are teenagers and pre-teens so right now I’m stupid. I’m Dad;
I have to be stupid. In seven years from now when my son is 21 I will have gained so much wisdom in his eyes, but right now I don’t know nothing.

Keanu, you’re about to turn 40, any thoughts on that?

KR: I remember when I turned 30 I thought it was gonna be this big thing. Then when I turned 30 it wasn’t so bad. I don’t know if 40 is gonna be like that! Hopefully I’m becoming more settled and grounded.

In this movie you are the believer. Do you have something in your life that you really believe in?

LF: I have this unshakeable faith. I believe in myself, I believe in God. I had two times in my life where I wanted to give up everything I worked for, but God gave me a job. I believe in my children. I believe in human beings. I believe in the goodness that is in human beings. I believe in many, many things that I can not prove. I believe that there’s the world of the seen and the world of the unseen.

Keanu, how did it change you spiritually?

KR: I think the experience of making the film certainly brought an aspect of considered life. It influenced that.

How do you maintain such positive energy?

KR: It’s just easier. And of course I get angry. In fact I’m very rude sometimes

How do you maintain such positive energy?

LF: As a movie star you get good tables at restaurants. You get a lot of free shit from people. People think they can talk to you any f**kin way they want to because they feel they know you. People wanna be in your f**kin business all the time. That’s not power.

How do you handle that intrusion?

LF: The thing is to be as gracious as you possibly can. I’ve watched Keanu do it and he has the ability to be completely compassionate with people when they’re being incredibly rude! There was this one time where we were waiting for an elevator in Australia and this
girl came out of the elevator and she saw Keanu standing there and she got all sort of flustered. She ran around the corner to go into her room and she was so dazed that she couldn’t get the door open. So he went around the corner and he helped her open the door. She came back out and she took his picture and she couldn’t get the door open again, and he went and he opened the door for her. She never said ‘thank you’ and he came back to the elevator and he said, ‘yeah anytime you want me to help you move that furniture let me know!’ That was hysterical to me but he didn’t seem to mind that she had forgotten her manners and that’s the kind of shit that drives me f**kin crazy. I won’t allow people to do that.

What has been one of the best things that fame has allowed you?

KR: There’s been many situations that I’ve been to help friends and family like help build a school or giving money to charities or to lend my voice. I did a voice-over for a documentary on global warming. I guess they wouldn’t have asked me if I wasn’t famous.

Did you ever meet someone you admired and over-reacted?

LF: I use my f**kin manners like my mother taught me! Hello my name is, nice to meet

Is it weird for you that you are being compared to James Bond and Superman, this kind of suave hero?

KR: We are just actors performing in the piece. It’s not like for me how I think of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. I don’t really come into contact with people thinking of me as Neo, except on the street someone will come up to me and ask me about ‘The Matrix,’ but I don’t experience it in my professional life. I actually like that. I’m trying to be believable as the person I’m playing.

There is obviously a hint of another ‘Matrix’ coming up.

KR: It’s like life. You come to a place and in that moment in can change but how you are in each moment develops as well. I don’t think it’s like a cheap shot, now we’re gonna do number 4. I would do it but there’s no role for me.

This film, with the rise of the machines is exploring a fear of technology. How do you view technology?

KR: I don’t even own a computer. I don’t post on the internet and I don’t have a secret identity. No e-mail.

How did this role change you physically?

LF: I got to learn a lot about wire work and doing action sequences and working with weapons so physically I was grateful to be able to get the chance to do it. For me it’s a way to participate in your character. If I could do it they don’t have to put a stunt man in. I get to perform my role. I feel like you can maintain that intimacy with the character.

What is one of your greatest life lessons that you’ve learned?

KR: It’s kind of hard once you know something; if you make a mistake in your life say
emotionally or if you do something and you become conscious of it. When you do it again you know you’re making a choice to be that way and that’s when it gets really interesting.