MATRIX: How did you get involved with working with ‘The Matrix’ as the cast sports masseur?
LONGIE: Hugo Weaving is a friend of mine. When he went to America for the pre-movie martial arts training he got an injury, so when he came back here I looked after him. Then Keanu came out here and he had a problem, so I worked with him, and then I became involved with everyone in ‘The Matrix’. This is the first time I have worked in the film industry, and it is like a family here.
MATRIX: Up till now you have mainly been working with sports injuries?
LONGIE: Yes, international sport, the Australian rugby league team and the like.
MATRIX: Have you been to the US?
LONGIE: Las Vegas. I worked in a top ranking gym in Las Vegas, boxing.
MATRIX: Do you find it very different working with actors compared to athletes?
LONGIE: An actor can say cut and do it over again, but an athlete can’t do that. So I have more time to prepare an actor. With boxing, if you cop one punch and you’re out, you can’t do it again.
MATRIX: Do you expect to continue working in film?
LONGIE: If I’m there, I’m there, if not, I’m not. If I have time and they need me I will work with them. I don’t go for who they are, I go for who I like to work with. It is very important. I need someone who trusts me and who I would like to concentrate on.
MATRIX: How many years have you been doing this?
LONGIE: I started learning this job when I was 14 years old, I am 34 now, so 20 years… a long time.
MATRIX: Have you been working with athletes and professionals for all that time?
LONGIE: Yes. When I was young I worked with a lot of martial arts experts and the Vietnamese soccer team. Then I moved on to Thailand and Japan, working with sumo wrestlers.
MATRIX: There has to be a lot of difference between a Japanese sumo wrestler, an Australian football player and an actor.
LONGIE: There is. From a sumo wrestler to an actor it’s like fixing a truck versus a Porsche 911.
MATRIX: What’s next?
LONGIE: In the next two weeks I’m to Malaysia for the current European champion of the 100 meter sprint. I want him to be in the year 2000 Olympics.
MATRIX: Tell me about your experience working with the crew.
LONGIE: Keanu has a lot of knowledge about Eastern medicine, he is a very calm person. He respects every person and doesn’t want to waste any time. I really like him and the whole Matrix cast. I have met them all and worked with them. Carrie Anne is funny. She brings out both the best and worst in me. An amazing personality, very straight forward, with good energy.
MATRIX: Have you been involved from the beginning of the production?
LONGIE: Yes, before they started the movie, when Larry, Keanu and Laurence got here. I was doing acupuncture to help relax them. I am involved with the movie now too.
MATRIX: How is that?
LONGIE: I worked on the set with Larry on an acupuncture scene, putting needles into Keanu.
MATRIX: Was this just to get the look right or was it actual acupuncture you performed?
LONGIE: I did real acupuncture. I did it in the arm, head and face.
MATRIX: That’s pretty cool, to actually see your handy work on screen.
LONGIE: Yes [smiles]… it’s the first time I’ve been in a Hollywood film.
MATRIX: Thanks Longie.
Interview by Spencer Lamm