A man and a woman wearing dark sunglasses, black clothes and carrying guns.

Re-entering the Matrix

Looking back at The Matrix

The 1999 classic was filmed in Sydney
 Tara Marynowsky
& Nathan Smith

The NFSA hosted a 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix in 2019 with special guest Executive Producer Andrew Mason.

Hollywood to Australia

In 1999, The Matrix became a sensation, with its fresh combination of cutting-edge technology and philosophical narrative. It was also one of the first American productions to be produced at Australia’s Fox Studios in Sydney.

Written and directed by the Wachowskis, the film premiered in Los Angeles on 24 March 1999. This Nine Network story on the premiere features interviews with star Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving, who was playing his first major Hollywood role:

The Matrix premieres in Los Angeles,1999. Courtesy: Nine Network. NFSA title: 407291

Lights, Camera, Action!

While the interiors for The Matrix were shot at Fox Studios, the Sydney cityscape played an important part in establishing the dystopian futuristic society crucial to the film's storyline.

The shoot generated a huge buzz when production took over large sections of the Central Business District. Martin Place and the water fountain designed by Lloyd Rees became an iconic location in the final production as well as the Colonial State Bank Centre (where Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus is held captive by Weaving's Agent Smith) and the Adam Street bridge in Chinatown.

This brief news report from 1998 marks the start of filming in Sydney:

Filming The Matrix in Sydney, 1998. Courtesy: Seven Network. NFSA title: 376643

Hugo Weaving: 'This is a big deal'

The Matrix won four Academy Awards, including Oscars for Australians David Lee (Best Sound Mixing) and Steve Courtley (Best Visual Effects), and brought Hugo Weaving to a new level of international attention.

Here, in an excerpt from an oral history interview at the NFSA, Hugo Weaving discusses his first reactions to reading the script of The Matrix and meeting the directors:

Hugo Weaving oral history (excerpt), 2018. NFSA title: 1545943

The Matrix also kick-started a string of major international movies filmed at Fox Studios including Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), Star Wars: Episodes II (2002) and III (2005), Superman Returns (2006), Alien: Covenant (2017), Peter Rabbit (2018) and more.