Producer Joel Silver is the man behind some of the biggest action movies ever made, from "Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard" films to "Predator" and "The Matrix". He told Film 2003 about working with directing brothers, Andy and Larry Wachowski.
Film 2003: You once said of your movies, "I don't make art, I buy it". Have you disproved that with "The Matrix"?
Joel Silver: That was a remark I made a long time ago - it was for an art magazine and I made a kind of glib statement... the action pictures we've done have been commercial in many ways, and we never meant them to be anything other than that, and maybe they weren't as smart as they might have been, but they worked and they were exciting, and they performed well at the box office. But I do think that with "The Matrix" we did do something that was really unusual, and that's because of the Wachowski Brothers. They have an incredible ability to manufacture a really special kind of entertainment, and they have this incredible sense of art and we're lucky that their art is commercial, people really like what they do. [The films] are very effective in that they work as action pictures if that's what the audience wants, but there is so much more there, which I think is pretty special.
The Wachowski Brothers were very new to the scene when you started working with them.
I was fortunate to be there in the right place at the right time. They'd written a script for me that I got Warner Brothers to buy called "Assassins". That was really a brilliant script, very smart, a very intelligent action picture, and I did get it and put the team together but the director changed the script to the point it bore no resemblance to the script the boys had written. You could make their script today and no-one would know the difference. And I think they must have liked the way I defended their script because they said: "We have another script and you might want to read it", and they gave me "The Matrix" and I just said, "I have to have it"
"The Matrix" was a ground-breaking film, you yourself said you set the bar very high... how are you going to top it?
The guys were saying at first they were kind of flattered by the amount of imitation when the movie came out, there were TV commercials and movies... people were reproducing not just the fighting, but the cutting and shooting style of the movie. But then they started getting angry about it so [this time] they really worked to create a series of visual effects that can't be copied, that are so intricate and so involved and require so much effort, and so much time, and sometimes so much money, that it's just impossible to do. Some of these shots have taken up to three years to create, so someone can't say: "Oh I want to do that", because they can't do it. It's going to be beyond anybody's wildest dreams. The bar is raised so high, there is no more bar. It's going to change movies forever... it's going to be a whole other world and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
Read more interviews from "The Matrix Reloaded".
"The Matrix Reloaded" opens in UK cinemas on Wednesday 21st May and "The Matrix Revolutions" opens on Friday 7th November 2003.
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