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THE MATRIX RELOADED

The Design
Envisioned by the Wachowski Brothers as one epic film that would be presented to audiences as two chapters of the three-piece story arc that began with The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were shot over a grueling 270-day production schedule.  Principle photography began in Oakland, California in March 2001 and wrapped that location in June.  After a brief summer hiatus, production recommenced in September in Sydney, Australia, where the entire Matrix production was filmed in 1998.  Reloaded and Revolutions were shot primarily at the Fox Studios in Sydney until production wrapped in August of 2002.

In Australia alone, the two films created over 3,500 jobs, employing 80 full-time actors and hundreds of extras. "It was a massive operation,” says producer Joel Silver.  "We had close to one thousand people on the payroll full-time.”

One of the first artists employed to work on the Matrix trilogy was Geof Darrow, whose illustrations for comic books like the gleefully maniacal Hard Boiled were a source of great inspiration for the brothers as they conceptualized their post-apocalyptic universe.  For The Matrix, Darrow created painstakingly-drawn, almost torturously intricate designs for the films' mechanized beings and sets.  The artist designed the scavenged, jury-rigged look of the Nebuchadnezzar's interior and the various models of robot that slither, skitter and fly through the "desert of the real.”  He also brought to life the nightmarish fields where humans are grown and cultivated, and the sinister Power Plant towers where they live out their "lives” in pods.  Darrow helped develop the look and aesthetic for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions along with production designer Owen Paterson and a team of conceptual and storyboard artists.  

To bring the Reloaded and Revolutions design concepts to life, the art department employed over 400 people at any given moment under the aegis of Owen Paterson.  In contrast to the 30 sets he and his team designed for The Matrix, Paterson was responsible for creating a total of almost 150 sets for the two films, constructing approximately 70 sets for each.  "That really is a huge amount of sets to build, particularly given the limited number of stages we had,” Paterson discloses.  "Some of the sets weren't used for more than a couple of days.   It was an enormous logistical effort for Hugh Bateup and a team of art directors and construction people who made this possible – a real exercise in getting one set finished, shot, broken down and out of the stage to make way for the next.”

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