Although actors and film crews are allowed to return to sets despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they’re still not allowed to party together once filming wraps up. Unless, that is, if you disguise the event as a film shoot in order to bypass COVID-19 rules.
This is exactly what the Matrix 4 producers did, according to a new report. As told by The Guardian (via German newspaper Bild), producers Lana and Lilly Wachowski held a party for 200 people at a studio in Brandenburg, code-naming it ‘Icecream Teamevent’. The guests were allegedly invited as ‘extras’ in order to bypass health regulations.
“The mood was exuberant,” a 39-year-old guest told Bild. “Everyone was given a corona PCR test in advance. Everyone needed to come wearing a mask, but many people didn’t wear them as the party wore on. No directional instructions were given, there was no clapperboard and no one was filming.”
Keanu Reeves was among the guests, and attended with this partner Alexandra Grant, both of whom reportedly left early on in the evening. The party also boasted a DJ, dancer, and pyrotechnic show, with guests invited to get souvenir Matrix tattoos.
Bianca Markarewicz, a spokesperson for Studio Babelsberg, where the event was held, said that producers told her they were shooting a “celebration scene, which was filmed in the summer, and this was in connection with that”. She added that “hygiene regulations were complied with” and asserted that “the production team consciously put this shoot with its many participants right at the end of filming”.
Parties of up to 50 people are allowed in Berlin and its neighbouring state, Brandenburg, but permission must be given in advance. Guests must abide by social distancing rules, and are required to wear a mask when they’re not eating or drinking.
A spokesperson for the city of Potsdam, which is responsible for giving permission to parties, said: “No event was announced to us. There were ongoing discussions between the health authority and the studios on the topic of infection protection during filming.” The health authoritiy will reportedly be in touch with the studio about the event.
Matrix 4 filming was interrupted in March due to coronavirus, but was able to continue in August. Slated for release in December 2021, behind-the-scenes footage emerged in February, as Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss were spotted filming in San Francisco.
In the summer, writer and director Lilly Wachowski confirmed that The Matrix movies are an allegory for the trans experience. Both Lilly and Lana came out as trans after the first three films were released, with fans subsequently speculating whether the journey of the protagonist was a metaphor for gender transition. “I’m glad people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative,” Lilly said, “and I’m grateful I can be a part of throwing them a rope along their journey. I’m glad that it has gotten out that that was the original intention. The world wasn’t quite ready for it. The corporate world wasn’t ready for it.”