Lana Wachowski, the "trans" filmmaker who revolutionized cinema

American screenwriter, director, and producer Lana Wachowski, along with her sister Lilly, revolutionized science fiction and innovated visual effects.

Lana Wachowski, the "trans" filmmaker who revolutionized cinema
UPDATE: The $1.6bn sci-fi franchise The Matrix is returning with Lana Wachowski at the helm and Keanu Reeves back in front of the camera. Image: Wikimedia

The screenwriter, director, and producer of Polish descent Lana Wachowski, who along with her sister Lilly revolutionized science fiction and innovated visual effects with Matrix, will celebrate her birthday completely away from the industry. Lana was born Laurence, on June 21, 1965, in Chicago. His father was businessman Ron Wachowski and his mother, nurse Lynne Wachowski.

Since childhood, he showed his love for comics, video games, and movies. He started his university studies at Bard College, but he did not finish them. Along with his brother Andy, now known as Lilly, he dedicated himself to the creation of comic strips and, to obtain money, he worked in carpentry.

It was in 1995 when his first approach to the film was made, with his screenplay Assassins (co-written with his brother), which was taken to Hollywood directed by Richard Donner. The protagonists were Antonio Banderas, Sylvester Stallone, and Julianne Moore.

With this success, Lana (who still identified herself as Laurence) was able to create The Wachowski Brothers, and his directorial debut, also with his brother Andy (still not becoming Lilly), was a year later with Bound, a thriller in which the lovers "Corky" (Gina Gershon) and "Violet" (Jennifer Tilly) create a plan to steal millions from the mafia.

In 1999 came international recognition with The Matrix, a film he wrote, directed, and produced alongside Andy and was starring Keanu Reeves, this film became a reference of science fiction as it is known today. The scenes with influences of cyberpunk, Japanese cinema, videogames, and comics have been emulated in other films or series, so it has a special place in popular culture. It is considered a cult film. Its success was such that for 2003 two sequels were released: Matrix Reloaded (The Matrix Reloaded) and Matrix Revolutions (The Matrix Revolution).

During that time, much was speculated about his private life and his sexuality and it was mentioned that he had started a hormonal treatment (he was on the way to becoming Lana); for 2002 he divorced his wife Thea Bloom, with whom he married in 1993.

Media reported that Larry's hobby was dressing as a woman and frequenting a Los Angeles social club run by a dominatrix. It was in that place that he met Ilsa Strix, one of the most high-profile dominatrices and with whom he started a relationship. Speculation about a change in sex increased year by year; however, producers, publicists, and actors denied the facts.

In 2005 V for Vendetta arrived at the cinemas, an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name of Alan Moore, that directed James McTeigue. The Wachowskis were the writers of history and producers. The film received mixed reviews and the mask of "Guy Fawkes" used by "V", is today a symbol of protest.

In 2008, the brothers returned to the direction with Speed ​​Racer (Meteor, the movie), based on the anime of the 60s and in which the visual effects once again stood out. Four years later, and after producing Ninja Assassin (2009), released Cloud Atlas (2012), starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, whose script, production, and direction were under his charge.

It was at the presentation of this new science fiction film, at the Toronto Film Festival, that Larry made his new identity public and introduced himself as a woman: "Hi, I'm Lana." According to American media, Lana became the first Hollywood transsexual director to come out of the closet.

2015 was the last year in which Lana and Andy presented original productions, one of which was the film Jupiter Ascending (2015), with Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Eddie Redmayne. That same year the series Sense8 was released on a streaming platform. The first season was held together; however, the credit for the second (2016) is only for Lana.

It was in early 2016 that her brother Andy declared herself transsexual and introduced herself as Lilly. Those disclosures were made after receiving threats and blackmail. For economic reasons, the platform canceled the broadcast of the series, which led to a cluster of complaints on social networks. Thus, there was a final chapter of two hours, which was released in June 2018.

Last year, a Chicago newspaper reported that the now Wachowski sisters closed the offices of their production company and put up for sale the building they were in, which predicted that there would be no more projects.

Update: The Matrix is returning with Lana Wachowski at the helm

Keanu Reeves is set to return to the world of The Matrix with a fourth chapter now officially confirmed. Lana Wachowski, who created the franchise with her sister Lilly, will also return as director, along with the original cast member Carrie-Ann Moss.

"Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now," Wachowski said in a statement. "I'm very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends."

The script is co-written by Wachowski alongside the sci-fi novelists Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the original Matrix, which told the story of the hacker Neo and his discovery that the world was in fact a simulated reality. It was a surprise hit, making more than $460m worldwide and launching two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The franchise has made more than $1.6bn. Sources tell Variety that the new Matrix film will start production in 2020.