After almost two decades of silence, the world of The Matrix has been resurrected with a new instalment in the franchise. Developed in the creative mind of Lana Wachowski, The Matrix Resurrections is set to continue the story of Thomas Anderson, AKA Neo and further expand on the film series, which has become iconic within the trans community. 

In a recent phone interview with Star Observer, Neil Patrick Harris, a new addition to the franchise, spoke about his admiration for Lana Wachowski, his love for the franchise, his role in the film, and whether the film can meet expectations. 

During our conversation, Harris explained how he learned about the film and eventually joined the cast. 

‘That Was My Red Pill Moment and Down the Rabbit Hole I Went’

“I had no idea it was happening at all until I got a phone call from a friend asking if I would be willing to have a conversation with Lana Wachowski about ‘a thing’ – didn’t know what that meant but I was very anxious to talk with Lana because we’d never met, but I was a huge fan of her work and her stories. We had a virtual meeting, which was very Matrix, to talk things through. We got along really well, and she asked if I would come to San Francisco to work with her on a project which turned out to be this. So that was my red pill moment and down the rabbit hole I went.” 

The opportunity to work alongside and spend time speaking with Lana Wachowski was also incredibly special for Harris. “As a trans woman, she is very special… When I was talking with Lana, I could tell that her evolution in her own life had really been formed through storytelling and I got a big appreciation for the way she tells stories,” Harris said. 

According to Harris, he was not the only person on set who felt this was a special moment in time. 

“It felt so special for everybody involved. I can’t tell if that was because it was the next iteration of these characters, after such a long time off, or whether it was that anyone who was around her Midas touch turns to gold. Watching a crew who would do anything for her and her process, was so unique. It was unlike any other director I have worked with. To make a movie of this scale in her singular head was nothing short of miraculous.” 

For his role in the film as Thomas Anderson’s psychiatrist, Harris chuckled and said that he drew inspiration from his own therapist. “I was tasked with being a voice of calm, so I tried to shine as that. Lana really wanted me to bring that calm and mature side out of me… It was my Bob Ross moment.” 

‘An Allegory About Transgender People’

Since its release, The Matrix has developed a cult following within the LGBTQI community thanks to the trans allegory, which is woven into the fabric of the film – something which co-creator Lilly Wachowski only recently confirmed. 

“That was the original intention, but the corporate world wasn’t ready for an allegory – a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning – about transgender people,” Lilly Wachowski explained in an interview for Netflix. At its core, “The Matrix was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view.” 

Looking back on the original film, there were several key elements that pointed to the trans allegory, for those that paid close attention. 

Firstly, the main character, Thomas Anderson, is living his life with the vague sense of something being off with the world or himself, suggesting that Thomas is struggling with a form of dysphoria. 

The next subtle clue – how Neo’s main antagonist, Agent Smith, interacted with him. Throughout the film, Agent Smith only ever refers to Thomas as Mr. Anderson, with an added emphasis on ‘Mr’ – a reference to deadnaming and misgendering, which many within the trans community sadly face all too often. 

Finally, and perhaps the most overt of all; the simple red pill vs blue pill conundrum. Not only is the pill literally Neo’s gateway to seeing the world as it is and the systems built to define and control his identity, but it is also an apt metaphor for hormone therapy. 

‘I’m Team Red Pill For Sure’

Given all these elements and the cult following the film has built, expectations are riding high for The Matrix Resurrections. So, we asked Harris how he felt about the expectations that would be levied on the film, given its iconic stature in the trans community. He answered, “It is hard to judge expectations, but I can certainly say that the cinematic style of this movie is vastly different from the first, which was super intentional. 

“There was all artificial lighting in the first Matrix, so much so, they blocked out all natural sunlight because they wanted it to feel manufactured. The opposite is very much true in this film – you’ll see beams of natural light shining through the window. We would film at 6:30 in the morning, when the light would come in through the window in that exact way. So, I think this will be a very special piece of art to witness.” 

“I also think that is very metaphoric to Lana and her ascension, she is very much about bright light and the reality of filming the world right now, in a way that I don’t think she was 20 years ago.” 

To close out our interview we asked Harris if he was team red pill or team blue pill. 

“I speak a lot about encouraging everyone to go out of their comfort zone to try anything,” he answered. “I feel that is what adds a depth of flavour to one’s life. The more experiences, the more immersion, the more travel, the more points of reference & perspectives you can have the better. So, I’m team red pill for sure!” 

The Matrix Resurrections is in theatres now. 

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