Trivia / The Matrix

  • Actor Allusion:
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #66
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!
    • What if I told you Morpheus never actually says “What if I told you…”? The origin of this meme stems from a simple jab at the film’s twist, which featured a photo of Morpheus simply asking “What if I told you … The Matrix is all inside a computer?” Since then, people have just taken it from there.
    • One of Agent Smith’s most famous quotations is often written as “But Mr. Anderson, how can you make a phone call when you cannot speak?” or something similar. The actual line is “Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable … to speak?”
  • Creator Backlash: An oddly specific example: Armorer John Bowring hated the Wachowski's choice of the Desert Eagle as the weapons of the Agents, deriding it as a "wanker's gun".
  • Development Gag: A deleted subplot from The Matrix reveals that Morpheus has previously believed five other people to be The One, all of whom died after attempting to fight the Agents. In The Matrix Reloaded, the Architect explains that there have been five previous versions of the Matrix before the current one, each with its own version of the One, meaning that Neo again has five predecessors.
  • Doing It for the Art: While watching the “Lady in the Red Dress” scene, you might notice the same people are passing Neo and Morpheus more than once. Production goof? Nope! All the extras in the scene are actual twins. The Wachowskis cast several sets of identical twins from Sydney as extras to create the impression that Mouse got so lazy while writing the Agent Training Program that he made half the crowd, then copy-pasted the models and gave the copies new clothes, instead of making unique ones. Did you notice that … or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?
  • Dyeing for Your Art/Important Haircut: Rowan Witt’s (“Spoonboy”) mum was very reluctant to have his beautiful locks shaved off.
    • To prepare for the scene in which Neo wakes up in a pod, Keanu Reeves lost 15 pounds and shaved his whole body to give Neo an emaciated look.
  • Edited for Syndication: Basic cable cuts of the film frequently substitute “Shucks” or “Smokes” for “Shit,” and change Neo’s line in the interrogation room scene to “How about I give you a flipper?”, while completely cutting the actual middle finger (and, by consequence, the “You give me my phone call” part of the line). Also “Jeepers creepers (originally “Jesus Christ”), that thing’s real?!”
    • The AMC edit, in particular, changes a line in Reloaded to “I’ll bring that whole cockamamie (originally “goddamn”) building down.”
  • Executive Meddling: Dropping the original idea of Human Resources being a vast neural net for the more literal concept of human Duracell batteries because Viewers Are Morons. Given all the other stuff that has to be explained (or not) in this trilogy, one wonders why this idea was so difficult to put across.
  • Fake American: Although inside the Matrix proper, Neo and Trinity are probably supposed to be Americans, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are in fact Canadians.
  • Hire the Critic: For The Ultimate Matrix Collection, the filmmakers included two Alternate DVD Commentaries, one by philosophers who loved the movies, and one by critics who hated them.
  • Killer App: The Matrix was this for the DVD format.
  • Recycled Set: Sets from Dark City (1998), including rooftops, buildings and other exterior sets, were used in this film. The rooftops that Trinity runs across at the beginning of the film are the same ones that John Murdoch runs across in Dark City.
  • Star-Making Role: For Carrie-Anne Moss, who was almost completely unknown before she became Trinity. Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, and Monica Bellucci, meanwhile, went from semi-obscure straight into the mainstream after this movie. For Keanu Reeves, however, this was more of a Type-Cementing Role.
  • Throw It In: After the lobby shootout, the camera pans back showing the aftermath of the gunfight in the lobby. During this a piece of one of the pillars falls off. This happened by coincidence during the filming and was not planned, but was left since it seemed appropriate.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Originally, Will Smith was offered the role of Neo, but turned it down for Wild Wild West. Smith explained his decision in 2004, in an interview with Wired:
    “You know, The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance — and very rarely do I say this — but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix.”
    • The Wachowskis wanted Johnny Depp for Neo, while Warner Bros. wanted either Brad Pitt or Val Kilmer. Ewan McGregor turned down the role of Neo, as he was filming Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. David Duchovny turned down the role of Neo to make The X-Files: Fight the Future. Nicolas Cage turned down the part of Neo because of family commitments. Tom Cruise was also considered. Leonardo DiCaprio turned it down, supposedly because he was concerned about the amount of special effects.
    • Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson were considered for Morpheus. Also, Chow Yun-fat was offered the role of Morpheus, but turned it down. Russell Crowe also turned down the role of Morpheus. He said: “I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t get past page forty-two. That world was just not interesting to me.”
    • Sandra Bullock turned down the role of Trinity because she couldn’t see herself acting alongside the actor the studio intended to play Neo. This was before Reeves (her costar from the 1994 hit Speed) was cast. She later regretted this decision. Janet Jackson was initially approached for the role of Trinity but scheduling conflicts prevented her from accepting it. In an interview, she stated that turning down the role was difficult for her, so she later referenced the film in the “Intro” and “Outro” interludes on her tenth studio album Discipline. Michelle Yeoh was also considered for Trinity, as was Gillian Anderson.
    • Jean Reno was approached to play Agent Smith. He turned it down and took a role in Godzilla (1998) instead. He was also unwilling to move to Australia.
    • Early drafts of the original film’s script contain a number of things that were arguably changed for the better. One such detail is the climax having Neo flipping off Smith after being revived, while Smith helplessly lets out a Big "NO!" as Neo escapes.
    • The “mental projection” of the Matrix would have been plot-relevant, with Switch (the butch blonde woman and only other woman in the crew besides Trinity) appearing as a woman in the Matrix, but a man in the real world.
  • Word of God: The Wachowskis have stated that Cypher hacked into the Matrix on his own without the help of the Nebuchadnezzar crew. This explains how he could have arranged a meeting with the Agents.

This film series has named the following tropes:note 

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