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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
The elusive Matrix brothers
The brothers avoided the limelight at the world premiere
The Matrix is cited as one of the most influential films of recent years but who are the elusive brothers who wrote, produced and directed the film and its two sequels?

It would not be right to call Larry and Andy Wachowski reclusive but the tight grip on their personal life, limited photo calls and interviews have added to the mystique surrounding them.

Their film-maker personas contrast sharply with the media friendly attitude of other blockbuster directors, such as Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson.

Assassins - screenwriters
Bound - writers/directors
The Matrix - writers/directors
The Matrix Reloaded - writers/directors
The Matrix Revolutions - writers/directors

At the London première in December last year, the instantly-recognisable, bespectacled director was greeted with screams of "Peter, Peter" as he made his way along the red carpet.

But at recent premières for the Matrix Reloaded - Cannes and London - there was no sign of the brothers.

At the world première in Los Angeles the pair did make an appearance but it was so low key that many of the photographers missed their arrival.

No sign of them either at any of the many news conferences held for the sci-fi sequel in the last few weeks.

"They've never talked to the press," The Matrix's cinematographer Bill Pope has said.

"You guys only thought they were talking to you."

According to reports, the Wachowski brothers stipulated in their contract for the Matrix sequels that they would not have to do press interviews of any kind and that they would not have to be photographed for promotional purposes.

Directing siblings
Joel and Ethan Coen
Andy and Larry Wachowski
Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Chris and Paul Weitz
Allen and Albert Hughes
Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne

The two film makers have said that they want their films to speak for themselves.

Perhaps it is because directors who have built their careers on the clever interplay of reality and illusion are only too aware that the depiction of celebrities in the media is more fiction than fact.

Some directors, such as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, have managed to exert a level of control over their media image.

The Wachowski brothers, however, appear not to want to take the risk.

Born in Chicago to a businessman father and a mother who was a nurse and a painter, the pair were obsessed with the notions of perception and reality from an early age.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded
Keanu Reeves stars as Neo
Larry attended Bard College for two years before dropping out, and joining his brother - who had also dropped out of college - to work as a painter and carpenter.

Both continued to write and take in a steady diet of comic books, as well as engage in philosophical debates.

The pair were apparently inspired by a book about legendary filmmaker Roger Corman to produce their own screenplay.

The result was reportedly a "Corman-style yarn concerning cannibalism of the upper classes", which failed to find a buyer in Hollywood.

But the brothers received positive comments about its originality and the pair were inspired enough to keep going.

Their second screenplay, however, was accepted and the script would eventually become 1995's Assassins, starring Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas.

The brothers took more creative control over their next project, writing and directing the thriller Bound, a "lesbian heist" movie, which has since become a cult hit.

For their next film, the two brothers weaved their two main interests into a single thread, mixing philosophy and martial arts in the high-concept action movie The Matrix.

They took the script to producer Joel Silver, who had worked on Assassins with the pair, and he gave the green light to the film.

He secured a $63m budget for a film directed by two relative newcomers, starring largely unproven actors and with an obscure plot.

Almost every word of dialogue and every inch of celluloid has been pored over since by fans.

The private lives of the brothers, however, still remain closed to such scrutiny.

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