BURBANK, California — Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith and Marilyn Manson walked the red carpet. A theater marquee reading "Enter the Matrix" loomed brightly over the flashing bulbs of the paparazzi. (Click here for photos from the premiere.)
It was exactly like a "Matrix" movie premiere — except for one thing. The "Matrix" film making its debut at the Warner Bros. lot Tuesday was only 10 minutes long.
Part of a group of shorts called "The Animatrix," "Final Flight of the Osiris" was conceived by "Matrix" creators Larry and Andy Wachowski. Its story line ties into the upcoming "Enter the Matrix" video game, which premiere guests were given a chance to play. The game's plot will also impact this year's "Matrix" movie sequels, "The Matrix: Reloaded" and "The Matrix: Revolutions" (click here to read a sneak peek at the movies from Keanu Reeves). It allows gamers to fight as either Pinkett Smith's "Niobe" character or as "Ghost," a new hero played by Anthony Wong.
An avid gamer herself, Jada was excited to try out "Enter the Matrix" on her rapper/actor husband. "When we play 'Resident Evil,' he's the controller, he's the one manipulating the buttons, the joystick, what have you," she said. "And I'm the brains. I'm like, 'Will, go to the left, go to the right, go up, go down, get that.' So it's going to be interesting playing this game [where] he's actually playing me."
Scripted by the Wachowski brothers, "Enter the Matrix" required Jada to shoot several new scenes. Clips of "Matrix" regulars Fishburne, Reeves and Moss also appear in the game.
"I find that the whole sound of video games drives me crazy," admitted Moss, who plays "Trinity" in the films (click here for photos from the trilogy). "[But] I'm open to the possibility of being into a video game. Maybe I'll be into one that I'm in — but maybe not. My husband is a huge fan of the whole video game thing [and] that's probably why. The whole sound of the whole thing can be a lot when you're not playing it."
For Reeves, the story and the unique world view laid down in the smash 1999 original film lend themselves to all kinds of mediums. "It's the platform of the story, of having the aspect of a real world and a computer-generated world [and] the struggle that's inherent in that and the ideas that the brothers have put together in it — choices, reality, evolution, revolution. I think the platform itself — if you relate to it, and I think people do — lends itself to many different stories, because of the richness of the characters. If you care about it, there's lot of stories to tell about life and about how we live our lives."
Fishburne, whose "Biker Boyz" film opened last week, said, "It was part of the Wachowski brothers' intention to utilize both [the film and video game] mediums to tell their story, which is pretty far-ahead thinking."
The actor promised that the next two full-length "Matrix" movies will provide a look "further down the rabbit hole." Like Marilyn Manson, the world of "The Matrix" is very much inspired by "Alice in Wonderland."
"I have a lot in common with Lewis Carroll — his inspiration, him tapping into the darker side of his mind," Manson said. "It's a book that I always loved growing up as a kid. I actually wrote many pieces of music related to 'Alice in Wonderland' in the past that were never really used for anything. So when I saw that [reference] in the first 'Matrix,' it made me very happy. And I'm a bit of a mad hatter."
Though Marilyn Manson was technically at the premiere as a DJ, he mainly used the event as an opportunity to unleash a few tracks from his upcoming album, The Golden Age of Grotesque.
"I wouldn't call myself a DJ. I'm just here as a fan and, well, I'm a dandy," he said. "And I like to make anything an exploit. Any scene will be obscene once I arrive. The Wachowski brothers used some Marilyn Manson [music] in the last film. And they stuck by me and we kind of stuck together when entertainment was being blamed for violence."
The "Enter the Matrix" video game will be released May 15, the same day "The Matrix: Reloaded" hits theaters. "The Matrix: Revolutions" will follow November 7. Meanwhile, the film's Web site is streaming parts of "The Animatrix," which will be available later this year on DVD.