What Keanu Reeves did with the team of The Matrix in 1999 was unimaginable for the time. But, following up such high standards have always been a task and that’s what happened with cinematographer Bill Pope.
Bill feels something went wrong with the sequels which resulted in pretty average products. He believes some things happened on the sets which affected the final product. The sequels didn’t receive praise as the makers hoped for.
Bill Pope explains it all on Roger Deakins’ Team Deakins podcast. About The Matrix sequels, he says, “I have a complicated relationship with the last two (sequels)…Everything that was good about the first experience was not good about the last two. We weren’t free anymore. People were looking at you. There was a lot of pressure. In my heart, I just didn’t like them. I felt we should be going in another direction.”
He also agreed to have friction among the team of The Matrix. Bill said, “There was a lot of friction, there was a lot of personal problems which showed up on the screen, to be honest with you. It was not my most elevated moment, nor anybody else’s. The Wachowskis had read this damn book by Stanley Kubrick that said, ‘Actors don’t do natural performances until you wear them out.’ So let’s go to take 90! I want to dig Stanley Kubrick up and kill him.”
“There is something about making a shoot that long, 276 shoot days, that is mind-numbing and soul-numbing and it numbs the movie,” Bill Pope added.
He still fondly remembers shooting with The Wachowski Sisters, Bill added, “Their imagination required me to be cleverer than I had been. I loved that combination, I loved working with them.”
The Matrix 4 is coming but Bill Pope won’t be a part of it. John Toll, who is known for his work in Iron Man 3 and Jupiter Ascending will take over the camera.