See the Cast of ‘The Matrix’ Then and Now
In 1999, Larry and Lana Wachowski unleashed their inventive feature ‘The Matrix,’ which followed computer programmer Neo (Keanu Reeves) as he learns that reality as we know it is simply a simulated one created by machines to keep humans under control. Neo discovers he is the “Chosen One” destined to lead a rebellion against the machines and free humans from their oppression. The film was wildly successful and spawned two sequels, an animated anthology, and a video game, and made the visionary Wachowskis a household name. Fifteen years later, we revisit the cast of this beloved contemporary sci-fi classic and see what they’re up to now.
Keanu Reeves, Thomas A. Anderson/Neo
Then: Keanu Reeves played Thomas A. Anderson, a computer programmer who spends his spare time hacking systems under the name Neo. Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer all turned down the role. Johnny Depp was the Wachowski’s first choice, but the studio pushed for Reeves, star of films like ‘Speed’ and ‘Point Break.’
Now: Reeves reprised the role for both sequels, and also appeared in films like ‘The Gift,’ ‘Constantine,’ ‘The Lake House,’ ‘A Scanner Darkly’ and ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’ He became enamored with martial arts while filming ‘The Matrix,’ and became friends with Tiger Hu Chen, who would star alongside Reeves in Reeves’ directorial debut ‘Man of Tai Chi’ in 2013. Reeves also recently appeared in the box-office bomb ’47 Ronin,’ and can be seen next in ‘John Wick.’
Laurence Fishburne, Morpheus
Then: Laurence Fishburne played Morpheus, a human who freed himself from the Matrix and is the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar. The Wachowskis also considered Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson for the role. Fishburne played Morpheus in all three ‘Matrix’ films.
Now: Since then, Fishburne has appeared in films like ‘Assault on Precinct 13,’ ‘Mission: Impossible III,’ ‘Predators’ and ‘Contagion.’ He was also the voice of the Silver Surfer in ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.’ He played Dr. Raymond Langston on ‘CSI’ for a few years, and recently appeared in the films ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Ride Along.’ Fishburne currently stars on ‘Hannibal’ as FBI Director Jack Crawford, and can be seen next in the films ‘Rudderless’ and ‘The Signal.’ He reprised his ‘Matrix’ role in a Super Bowl commercial for Kia – a news anchor confused him with Samuel L. Jackson — and he will reprise his ‘Man of Steel’ role for the forthcoming ‘Batman vs. Superman‘ movie.
Carrie-Anne Moss, Trinity
Then: Carrie-Anne Moss played Trinity, another human freed from the Matrix, one of Morpheus’ crewmembers, and Neo’s love interest over the course of the three films. Pop star Janet Jackson was originally approached for the role, if you can believe it. Moss didn’t previously have much of a career, and was startled that she was given the role.
Now: Moss went on to appear in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento,’ as well as films like ‘Disturbia,’ ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Silent Hill: Revelation.’ She had a recurring role on ‘Chuck’ and guest starred on ‘Vegas,’ and recently appeared in the films ‘Compulsion,’ ‘Unity’ and ‘Pompeii,’ the latter of which opens this week. She’ll next voice act for the animated film ‘Pirate’s Passage,’ out in 2015.
Hugo Weaving, Agent Smith
Then: Hugo Weaving played Agent Smith, a sentient program of the Matrix whose mission it is to destroy Zion; unlike other “agents,” Smith has free will. Jean Reno, star of ‘Leon: The Professional,’ was offered the role and turned it down. Weaving, who was previously known for his role in ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,’ played Smith in all three films.
Now: Weaving went on to star in ‘V for Vendetta,’ produced by the Wachowskis, and played Elrond in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. He also voices Megatron in the ‘Transformers’ films and played Red Skull in ‘Captain America.’ He reunited with the Wachowskis in 2012 for various roles in ‘Cloud Atlas,’ and recently reprised the role of Elrond for the ‘Hobbit’ films. He can be seen next in ‘Healing.’
Joe Pantoliano, Cypher
Then: Joe Pantoliano played Cypher, a human freed by Morpheus, but unlike his fellow crewmembers, Cypher regrets gaining awareness and wants to return to the blissful ignorance of the Matrix. Pantoliano previously starred in the Wachowski’s debut feature, ‘Bound.’
Now: Pantoliano reunited with Carrie-Anne Moss for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’ just a year after ‘The Matrix,’ and appeared in films like ‘Bad Boys II,’ ‘Wedding Daze,’ ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ and ‘Deadly Impact.’ From 2000 to 2004, he played Ralph Cifaretto on ‘The Sopranos,’ and he starred on season 2 of the short-lived HBO series ‘How to Make It in America.’ His most recent film credits include parts in ‘Loosies’ and ‘Spring Break ’83,’ both released in 2011.
Matt Doran, Mouse
Then: Matt Doran played Mouse, a human freed by Morpheus who works aboard the Nebuchadnezzar. Doran was previously a star of the Australian soap opera ‘Home and Away’ from 1992 to 1996, and he appeared in the film ‘The Thin Red Line.’
Now: Doran went on to star in several TV shows, including ‘Always Greener’ and ‘All Saints.’ He appeared in ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones’ and in the 2006 version of ‘Macbeth.’ He recently appeared in the films ‘Found Footage’ and ‘Battle of the Damned,’ and on the TV series ‘Redfern Now.’
Rowan Witt, Spoon Boy
Then: Rowan Witt played the little bald boy whom Neo meets when he goes to visit the Oracle — the boy shows Neo that reality is not what he thinks it is by bending a spoon with his mind.
Now: Like Matt Doran, Witt also appeared on the series ‘Home and Away,’ though he only starred on 12 episodes in 2001. He also made appearances on ‘The 21 Conspiracy,’ ‘Underbelly’ and ‘People You May Know.’ Witt had a supporting role in the Australian thriller ‘X: Night of Vengeance’ and in the recent indie ‘Adore’ with Naomi Watts and Robin Wright.