Lilly Wachowski reveals hidden trans theme behind ‘The Matrix’
Lilly Wachowski, one half of the prolific filmmaking Wachowski duo, has been reflecting on the deeper meanings of their pioneering sci-fi film The Matrix.
The film, which is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its first release, famously stars the likes of Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano and more when telling the story of a dystopian future
While fans and theorists have picked the finer details of the film for years now, the sisters, who are both trans women, have remained relatively quiet on the themes rolling through the now-iconic picture.
Now though, Wachowski, who co-wrote and co-directed, has been reflecting on the trans themes that are embedded in the story, one which was released before she officially came out as trans. “I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention,” Wachowski explained in a new Netflix Film Club video which arrives to celebrate the film’s anniversary “The world wasn’t quite ready for it. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”
“I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me say, ‘Those movies saved my life.’ Because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science fiction, which is just about imagination and world-building and the idea of the seemingly impossible becoming possible, that’s why it speaks it to them so much. And I’m grateful I can be a part of throwing them a rope along their journey.”
“The Matrix stuff was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view,” she said. “We had the character of Switch, who would be a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix, and that’s where our head spaces were.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wachowski offers an insight into the thinking of both her and her sister prior to transitioning: “We were existing in this space where the words didn’t exist, so we were always living in a world of imagination,” she said.
“It’s why I gravitated toward science fiction and fantasy and playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was all about creating worlds. And so I think it freed us up as filmmakers because we were able to imagine stuff at that time that you didn’t necessarily see on screen.”