"Matrix" co-creator Larry Wachowski is now a woman -- and the good news is that it's not big news
Perhaps the most interesting thing about “Matrix” co-creator Larry Wachowski’s gradual transition into Lana Wachowski is the fact that nobody seems all that interested. There are some specific reasons for this, to be sure: Despite the popularity of their films, the Wachowskis have always been private people, and most moviegoers couldn’t pick either Lana or her brother Andy out of a police lineup. To Wachowski fans and film-industry insiders, Larry’s likely trajectory toward gender reassignment had been clear for quite a few years. He began adopting an androgynous or feminine appearance nearly a decade ago, after separating from his wife, and then announced his intention to become a woman. He evidently completed the process during a hiatus after the completion of “Speed Racer” in 2008, the last film to credit the “Wachowski Brothers” as writers and directors.
Most of the anticipation surrounding “Cloud Atlas,” the forthcoming film adaptation of British writer David Mitchell’s literary blend of sci-fi and experimental fiction, which was created by the Wachowskis and German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, is about what we’ll get to see on-screen. That’s as it should be, because “Cloud Atlas” looks like one of the weirdest and most memorable movies of 2012, with numerous nested narratives and an all-star cast — Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving — playing multiple roles. As this eye-popping extended trailer suggests, the Wachowskis haven’t lost their eye for visionary spectacle (or their taste for grand, abstract concepts), and I’m cautiously optimistic to see them moving back toward independent, adult-oriented cinema after the slow decay of the “Matrix” franchise and the baroque debacle of “Speed Racer.” (We can discuss that movie some other time: There are many things to admire, but sitting and watching it is exhausting.)
Still, this two-minute video chat, in which Tykwer and the Wachowskis discuss their highly unusual collaboration, marks Lana Wachowski’s quiet coming-out party — and that deserves its own moment of quiet celebration. It would be different if the Wachowskis were actual celebrities, as I’ve already said, but still: A major creative figure in the film industry has changed genders, midway through his-her career, and it’s not especially big news. It’s easy to grow disheartened about the direction of American society (for ample and good reasons), but let’s give ourselves a little credit here. Transgender people still face all sorts of prejudice and numerous difficulties, especially when they’re not rich and famous. But as all aspects of the LGBT movement have permeated mainstream society, the idea that some measurable percentage of the population feels that they were born with the wrong equipment or assigned to the wrong category is no longer novel or shocking. Most of us are OK, most of the time, with the idea that what goes on inside your bedroom or under your clothing is simply none of my damn business. (Unless, y’know, you’ve invited me in and it’s like that.) That’s a big change, and a kind of wonderful one too.
Larry is now Lana, and the sun did not fall from the sky, and it’s only natural that we’re all a little curious to see her. (I dig the hair!) The pronouns on IMDB and Wikipedia have been changed, and now she can get on with making more dazzling, puzzling and often frustrating movies, full of automobile crashes and philosophical question marks. It’s a victory for privacy, decency and liberty — a tiny victory, but still a victory — in a time that seems bereft of them.
More Related Stories
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
- Why do men pretend to be women online?
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Is Pittsburgh the next Portland?
- Tornado survivor to Wolf Blitzer: Sorry, I'm an atheist. I don't have to thank the Lord
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- San Francisco Giant Jeremy Affeldt apologizes for homophobic past
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Federal court strikes down Arizona abortion ban
- I'm not achieving my dreams!
- The most popular Tumblr porn
- Slave descendants seek equal rights from Cherokee Nation
- Snapchat is secretly storing your photos
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Facebook's hate speech problem
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11