LOS ANGELES — It wasn't the fight choreography, the wire work, having to act in front of screens where computer-generated effects would be added later or memorizing the exposition-heavy dialogue that made shooting both "Matrix" sequels back-to-back so hard on "The One."
At Monday night's premiere for "The Matrix Revolutions," next month's third and final installment of the sci-fi action trilogy, Keanu Reeves said that the only grueling aspect of shooting "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" was plain and simple homesickness.
"The hardest thing about making [these films] is being away for so long," he lamented. "[More so than] all of the other challenges — working in the rain and the last fight between Neo and [Agent] Smith or anything like that. I mean, that [stuff] is just fun!"
Arriving roughly the same time as the film's hero, producer Joel Silver (who regularly speaks for press shy Matrix writer/directors the Wachowski brothers) seemed both happy and proud to be putting the lucrative ("Reloaded" has made over $727 million worldwide) and often-imitated series to bed.
"It feels good that we finished it, but I'm sad a little bit," he did admit. "But I'm proud that the Wachowski brothers had this idea, this dream and we all saw it through to completion and this is the end of the story. And it's a fantastic ending."
"This is the best one," he added. "It completes the saga [and] it's really the pay-off."
The "Revolutions" posters affixed to poles in various places at downtown Los Angeles' Disney Concert Hall included the tagline "Everything that has a beginning has an end," but the wraparound red carpet seemed to have no end.
Stretching a long and winding pathway from the street, around a cocktail party and into the theater, the carpet was trod upon by Reeves, Silver, Jada Pinkett Smith, her husband Will (who shied away from the press to let his wife do the talking), Carrie-Anne Moss, several more "Matrix" cast members and movie stars like Derek Luke ("Antwone Fisher") and Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg").
Pinkett Smith, who plays ship captain Niobi in the two sequels and the "Enter the Matrix" videogame, agreed with Silver that "Revolutions" is the best of the three films. She's so excited about it, in fact, that she doesn't even mind having significantly less screen time than Reeves, Moss or Laurence Fishburne. "I spent a lot of time doing the video game [in particular] and I worked every single day [in some capacity]," she said. "I'm just glad to be a part of this trilogy."
Moss, for her part, said she doesn't have a favorite between the three films. "They were all a joy and a pleasure and incredibly difficult to make."
But like her onscreen romantic partner Reeves, when walking into the theater, Moss showed no signs of any true regret.
"I loved every minute of it," she said, flashing a smile.
"The Matrix Revolutions" hits theaters November 5.