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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
Matrix stars at UK première
Lawrence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith and Keanu Reeves
Lawrence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith and Keanu Reeves attended the UK screening
The stars of The Matrix Reloaded, including leading man Keanu Reeves, unveiled the film to British fans at a London première on Wednesday night.

Despite a constant downpour the actors took time to greet fans, with Reeves spending 30 minutes signing autographs in London's Leicester Square.

Reeves, who plays the futuristic hero Neo in the sci-fi thriller, was joined by co-stars Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Reeves, who has travelled the world promoting the film, said of the London crowd: "It's absolutely fantastic, it's extraordinary.

"Some people have been really anxious for this film to come out and I just hope it lives up to their expectations.

"I've loved making the film and I just hope that it brings as much enjoyment to those who watch it."


To receive the applause and the well dones is amazing
Adrian Rayment
Twins Neil and Adrian Rayment, the British actors who play two teleporting Matrix warriors, also made an appearance.

The actors, who have made the leap from TV handymen to big screen actors, were excited to be unveiling the movie in front of British fans.

"To be honest, we are humbled. It's so nice to be included in such a memorable film and such a step from where we were to where we are now," said Adrian Rayment.

"To receive the applause and the well dones is amazing."

Hundreds of fans had gathered outside the Odeon cinema for the première, which was taking place ahead of the movie's general release on Friday.

Other stars to grace the black carpet - which replaced the traditional red one - included Richard Branson, comedian Vic Reeves and American actor Billy Zane.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded
Reeves stars as Neo

Initial reviews of the Matrix Reloaded in UK papers have been muted, with most praising the film's epic action sequences, but less impressed with its plot and dialogue.

Massive takings

The futuristic thriller recounts Neo and a band of freedom fighters' struggle against the Matrix computer system enslaving mankind, and its army of robot machines aiming to destroy the humans' city of Zion.

The sequel to 1999's Matrix took a near-record $93.3m (£58.2m) during its first weekend at US cinemas, the second-biggest opening of all time behind Spider-Man.

But producer Joel Silver said the film has overtaken Spider-Man's opening week record, taking six days to make the same money as Spider-Man took in seven days.

It opened its run in more than 20 countries last week and by the end of its third week it will be showing in more than 100 countries.

It will be followed in November by a third movie, The Matrix Revolutions. All three films are written and directed by brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski.

Warner Bros is reported to have spent $300m (£187m) on making the two follow-ups.

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