The Matrix franchise has typically seen extensive involvement from its directors be it in the production design, visual effects or the action sequences. It appears that spirit is set to continue with the upcoming Matrix 4. In an interview, Collider has learned that The Matrix 4 director Lana Wachowski is handling all the action sequences herself, without any second units. Here’s what stuntman turned John Wick director Chad Stahelski had to say about Lana’s work ethic in this regard.
What makes [Lana] so great is she directs her own action. We’ve had second unit directors on some of the [‘Matrix’ films] just because of the logistics involved. But of late, and especially on ‘Matrix 4,’ she’s directing her own action. The second units for them are mostly establishing shots, the B-sides of the some of the compositions for some locations. But Lana, she does her own action. She weaves it into the main unit stuff, which is why their stuff looks so good.
Stahelski added to this, explaining that their role in The Matrix 4 is limited to a supervisory role with the Wachowski doing the bulk of the heavylifting (read: directing).
It’s more about the creative concept of some of the choreography and backing them up with stuff.
Stahelski and Leitch worked and collaborated closely with some of the stunt guys from the original Matrix films (can’t believe we’re using this term now). Stahelski had this to say about his comrades.
They were very cool. They asked us to help out with the choreography and some of the physical training for the guys. I’m helping out a little bit for a sequence, I think Dave’s helping out for a sequence. Lana’s come back with a lot of love to have a pseudo-family reunion, so that’s been a lot of fun. It’s been good to see a lot of the crew members again. We just finished doing a sequence in San Francisco before the pandemic started.
That San Francisco sequence that Stahelski is referring to is one from which multiple set photos leaked. It was filmed back in February before filming on The Matrix 4 was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For the uninitiated, second unit directors are often involved in shooting action or stunt sequences in movies whereas the main directors largely shoot the dramatic scenes, the closeups, the actors interacting with each other. This is a practice that’s followed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of films. It has its pros and cons and it explains why a lot of the action scenes you see across films can look or feel “similar”. With Lana set to direct action sequences herself, The Matrix 4 should have some unique and exciting set pieces in store.
The Matrix 4 is currently set for a May 21, 2021 release date. It would’ve clashed with John Wick: Chapter 4 but Lionsgate has chosen to delay that film. It remains to be seen whether the fourth Matrix movie will suffer a similar fate. For now, its set to star Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne-Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Lambert Wilson who will reprise their roles from the original trilogy as Neo, Trinity, Niobe and the Merovingian respectively. They will be joined by Yahya-Abdul Mateen II who is rumored to be playing a young Morpheus as well as Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra and Jessica Henwick.