Date: 21st May 2003

Matrix maker rejects crime links

The producer of The Matrix films has dismissed stories linking the movies with violent behaviour in the US.
It follows reports that fans had acted out real-life crimes inspired by the sci-fi hit.

In doing so they were apparently copying the film's plot to "escape" the Matrix - a computer-generated world controlled by machines.

However, Joel Silver, in London to promote The Matrix Reloaded, said the films were "fantasy".

"I only can comment that 15 million people have seen the movie and I don't know what the links are," he told a news conference.

"It's a wonderful fantasy story that doesn't take place in the real world, so I can't comment on what makes people do what they do."

Actor Laurence Fishburne, who plays one of the film's heroes Morpheus, added: "There is no Matrix, there is only what is real."

In a report in the Washington Post, the film was named by two alleged killers, a woman from Ohio and a man from San Francisco.

They had each reportedly killed their landlord but had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The newspaper quoted makers Warner Bros saying: "Any attempt to link these crimes with a motion picture or any other art form is disturbing and irresponsible."

The Matrix Reloaded - the sequel to the original 1999 film - took a near-record $93.3m (58.2m) at the box office during its opening weekend in the US. It hits UK screens this week.

The first movie took nearly $460m (287m) worldwide and won four Oscars.

Meanwhile, an actor from the first film has sued Warner Bros for allegedly reneging on a promise to recast him as a freedom fighter in the two sequels.

Marcus Chong, 35, has accused the film's makers of breaching an oral agreement and a contract to revive his character, Tank.

Warner Bros and writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski have declined to comment on the case.

On Tuesday, a British philosopher joined critics who have attacked the film's philosophical themes.

AC Grayling, of Birkbeck College at the University of London, said dialogue in the Matrix Reloaded became "more and more incoherent and shallow" as the film progressed.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today: "In the first movie some very interesting philosophical ideas were brought into play - the idea of alternative realities, the question of whether life is a dream.

In this movie these things are discussed -and they are not discussed well."

Source: Press Release