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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 07:57 GMT
Matrix brothers take on Vendetta
Wachowski brothers
The brothers preferred to stay in the background at the Matrix premiere

Film-makers and writers Andy and Larry Wachowski have made their first step back to the big screen since ending their epic Matrix trilogy with V for Vendetta - a futuristic glimpse of the UK as a totalitarian state.

The pair have written the script, based on a cult comic, bringing in close collaborator James McTeigue, who worked with them on their Matrix films, to direct.

The Wachowski brothers are film-makers who have managed to remain firmly behind the camera, making of a point of not promoting their films.

It is left to V for Vendetta star Natalie Portman to promote the movie, helped along nicely by her dramatic appearance at the Cannes festival sporting a shaved head.

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

Their perceived shyness is in sharp contrast to other blockbuster directors such as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and George Lucas who generally embrace the promotion of their latest projects, building up their own media personalities.

Assassins - screenwriters
Bound - writers/directors
The Matrix - writers/directors
The Matrix Reloaded - writers/directors
The Matrix Revolutions - writers/directors
V for Vendetta - screenwriters

At the world premiere of the long-awaited Matrix sequel - Matrix Reloaded - the Wachowskis slipped past banks of photographers largely unnoticed.

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.

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

Comic writers

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.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman's shorn hair put the spotlight on V for Vendetta
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 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.

Personal project

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

Such was its success that it became a multi-million dollar franchise, spawning two sequels as well as computer games and merchandise.

The Wachowskis took on V for Vendetta as their next project, drawing on their love of comic books to write the script. The story first appeared in Warrior comic in the early 1980s, which folded before the plot was completed.

Nearly 10 years later, creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd were able to complete the story in the form of a graphic novel and another 15 years later the Wachowskis have brought it to the big screen.

But the film has been hit with negative comments after Moore said he wanted to diassociate himself from the film.

And as their script for the dark thriller comes under close scrutiny, interest in what makes the Wachowski brothers tick only heightens.

Premiere for Portman's cult film
09 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Matrix sizzles but does not stir
15 May 03 |  Reviews

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