The surprise news of a fourth installment of The Matrix franchise was only just revealed earlier this week, seemingly timed to the 20th anniversary of the original movie’s release. But it sounds like this project has been in the works for awhile, because some key crew members are already being recruited for the production.
Hot on the heels of The Matrix‘s original concept artists returning for the new sequel, we have word that The Matrix 4 has hired cinematographer John Toll (above left), who won back-to-back Oscars for his work on Legends of the Fall in 1994 and Braveheart in 1995.
The Hollywood Reporter has news of John Toll being hired as The Matrix 4 cinematographer, which is a departure from the rest of the Matrix movies, which had Bill Pope as the director of photography. The Matrix movies turned Bill Pope into a blockbuster cinematographer, opening the door for him to shoot the likes of Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and Team America: World Police. More recently, he’s been cozy with Edgar Wright on Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The World’s End and Baby Driver.
As for John Toll, he’s been working with Lana & Lilly Wachowski for the past decade. In addition to shooting both Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending for the directing duo, Toll also shot every episode of their Netflix series Sense8. Toll’s visual style for those projects does feel like it could easily contour to the aesthetic of the world of The Matrix, but we’ll admit to being a little bummed that Bill Pope won’t be returning to shoot the sequel.
It’ll be interesting to see of The Matrix still has that green-ish tint of the original trilogy or if this branches out a little bit to differentiate itself from the other movies. It likely depends on whether or not this is a reboot, both in the sense of the franchise and in the language of The Matrix itself, which was rebooted at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. It’s hard to know for sure with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss both returning as Neo and Trinity. Plus, there’s that innovative camera work that allowed for the groundbreaking bullet time fight sequences, and we’re not sure what kind of innovations might come with a return to this franchise.
You can next see John Toll’s work in the upcoming historical biopic Harriet, chronicling the life of slave rebel Harriet Tubman, opening on November 1, 2019.
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