Stanley Kubrick Surprisingly Affected The Matrix Sequels In A Major Way

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded

Stanley Kubrick has had a tremendous influence on modern filmmaking. His movies are studied and analyzed more than most directors. To try to tap into that genius, many directors have tried to emulate his directorial style on set. And, according to The Matrix cinematographer Bill Pope, that influence made life pretty miserable for The Matrix sequels.

The Matrix 4 reportedly has begun filming in Berlin again, bringing back director Lana Wachowski, actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss. But cinematographer Bill Pope won't be returning for the next installment in the franchise. Pope made a guest appearance on Roger Deakins' podcast Team Deakins, and during the interview, Bill Pope expressed how it was mind-numbing shooting The Matrix sequels. Here’s what he had to say:

Everything that was good about the first experience was not good about the last two. We weren’t free anymore. People were looking at you. There was a lot of pressure. In my heart, I just didn’t like them. I felt we should be going in another direction. There was a lot of friction and it was a lot of personal problems, and it showed up on screen to be honest with you. It was not my most elevated moment, nor anybody else’s. The Wachowskis had read this damn book by Stanley Kubrick that said, ‘Actors don’t do natural performances until you wear them out.’ So let’s go to take 90! I want to dig Stanley Kubrick up and kill him.

Yikes. That sounds painful. It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick’s directorial tactics were uniquely difficult. He famously made actress Shelley Duvall’s life a living hell on the set of The Shining. It sounds like the Wachowskis decided to use similar methods on set of The Matrix sequels.

Along with having occasionally painful director tactics, Stanley Kubrick was a meticulous filmmaker that focused heavily on detail. His meticulous nature went all the way to the projectionists, of whom he sent detailed descriptions on how to do their job when showing his movie Barry Lyndon. Despite his methods being off the wall, it’s hard to deny that he made some of the most iconic and famous movies of the last century, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus, and A Clockwork Orange. But hearing this type of feedback might be a lesson learned for The Matrix filmmakers.

Even though making the The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions sounded painful, the movie's starring cast has once again returned for The Matrix 4. And from the way Keanu Reeves speaks about the script, perhaps it was inspiring enough to go through the process all over again.

As of right now, The Matrix 4 is set to release on May 21, 2021.

Jason Ingolfsland