Neil Patrick Harris Says Filming the Sequel Felt “Intimate”

The latest installment in the sci-fi franchise is due in theaters this December.

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The Matrix 4, the highly anticipated sequel to the hit sci-fi action trilogy that redefined cinema, is finally due to hit theaters (and HBO Max) later this year. Co-written and directed by franchise co-creator Lana Wachowski, this new installment features the auspicious return of original Matrix leads Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, despite the fact that both of their characters emphatically died at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. It also boasts an impressive cast of actors who are completely new to the Matrix universe, including Neil Patrick Harris, who recently shared some of his experiences working on the new film.

On a recent episode of Variety’s podcast Just For Variety, Harris revealed that filming The Matrix 4 frequently felt like Wachowski was making a much smaller and more personal movie, which is the exact opposite of what you would expect for a blockbuster sequel to one of the biggest franchises of the past 20 years:

“It didn’t feel large because it felt like she was in her sweet spot, which was filming on the fly, filming using natural light. Sometimes you’d sit around for an hour waiting for the clouds to clear, and then you’d quickly film. You’d film pages at a time in 30 minutes and then be done… You would think that a giant movie would be 100% storyboarded, animatics, and we’d be checking off shots. I think she lived that before three times over, and I would suspect that she wants to do things her own way now. It wasn’t often that you felt that you were doing something gigantic because she made it feel very intimate.”

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Image via Warner Bros.

That sounds very different from how I pictured the making of the fourth Matrix film; my version involved a lot less natural light and a lot more green screens. I’m admittedly more of a lukewarm Matrix fan – I enjoyed the first film but absolutely did not care for either sequel – but the little bit of information we do have about this new installment has me all kinds of intrigued. Specifically, it appears that Wachowski is being allowed to craft the movie the way she wants to with minimal studio meddling, which is exciting news for both fans of the franchise and of Wachowski’s brand of fearless storytelling. (The Wachowskis have produced some infamous misses over the years, but even their misses are profoundly interesting.) The Matrix 4 is scheduled to hit theaters December 22, 2021, with a simultaneous month-long streaming release on HBO Max.

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