Enrichment Arts & Culture

Keanu Reeves says trans character was cut from ‘The Matrix’

Getty Images, Jeff Kravitz

Story at a glance

  • Keanu Reeves this week said studio executives in 1999 weren’t ready for an openly trans character to appear in “The Matrix.”
  • The character Switch was originally intended to be played by a woman and a man in an early draft of the original script, Reeves said.
  • “The Matrix” co-director Lilly Wachowski, who is a trans woman, has previously confirmed that the films are an allegory for the closeted trans experience.

Keanu Reeves in an interview with Entertainment Weekly this week said an openly trans character was cut from the first installment of “The Matrix.”

“I think the studio wasn’t ready for that,” Reeves said, remembering an early draft of the 1999 film’s original script which featured a character whose screen time had been intended to be split between female and male actors.

Switch, an androgynous character, was meant to be played by a woman in the matrix and by a man in the real world, hence the name “Switch,” co-director Lilly Wachowski, who is a transgender woman, said in an interview last year.

“The corporate world wasn’t ready for it,” she said at the time.


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


In the actual film, Switch was played exclusively by the actress Belinda McClory, who had originally auditioned for only half of the role.

While Switch was not portrayed as initially written, Wachowski said “The Matrix” film as a whole is still very much an allegory for the closeted trans experience.

“‘The Matrix’ stuff was all about a desire for transformation but it was all coming from a closeted point of view,” she said, confirming a long-held fan theory.

In the film, Reeves’ character sheds the identity given to him, Thomas A. Anderson, in a false reality to become Neo, his chosen self.

Wachowski said she and her co-director, her sister Lana Wachowski, who is also a trans woman, found comfort in creating the matrix universe. At the time of the film’s release (as well as its sequel’s release), neither Wachowski had publicly come out as trans.

“I don’t know how present my transness was in the background of my brain when we were writing it but it all came from the same kind of fire,” Wachowski said. “Trans people exist — especially me and Lana — in this space where the words didn’t exist, so we were always living in a world of imagination.”

It’s currently unclear whether an openly trans character will appear in “The Matrix Resurrections,” which hits theaters Dec. 22, or if the film will again allude to the trans experience.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

SCIENTISTS SAY THEY MIGHT HAVE DISCOVERED THE CAUSE OF ALZHEIMER’S

NASA SAYS HUGE, ‘POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS’ ASTEROID WILL BREAK INTO EARTH’S ORBIT NEXT WEEK

THE REAL MOBY DICK: MYTHIC WHITE WHALE CAPTURED ON FILM IN CARIBBEAN

SUPER ATHLETE REFUSES VACCINE, DIES TRAGICALLY

MODERNA CHIEF PREDICTS VACCINES COULD STRUGGLE AGAINST OMICRON