‘Matrix’ stars get to talk — and play — a good game

By Paul Martin February 6th, 2003, in Enter the Matrix
Jada Pinkett Smith kicks some serious butt in the new video game Enter the Matrix, based on the hit sci-fi movie franchise.

Her moves impressed her 4-year-old son, Jaden, and her husband, Will Smith, as they played the game Tuesday night at a party on the Warner Bros. lot. The event marked the debut of the game, which goes on sale May 15. That’s the day The Matrix sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, hits theaters.

Pinkett Smith, who wasn’t in the original Matrix, co-stars in both Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, in theaters in November. She plays Niobe, a fleet commander and one of the good guys.

Pinkett Smith is the best-known actress to star in a video game, and she’s a pretty good player, too.

“What’s great is that even if you’re not a game player, you can still play this game and do a lot of cool moves,” she said. “You can make the characters move slow like they did in the movie.”

Enter the Matrix includes more than an hour of Reloaded footage shot exclusively for the game and using actors, sets and crewmembers from the sequel. Players get to be either Niobe or Ghost (Anthony Wong).

Matrix star Keanu Reeves says he doesn’t mind that the game doesn’t feature him. “I had enough to do in the films,” he said.

Co-stars Carrie Anne-Moss and Laurence Fishburne also attended the party. Fishburne brought his new wife, Gina Torres, who is also in the movie sequels.

Tobey Maguire, his hair dyed red for Seabiscuit, said he had no plans to play the game at the party: “I’m going to wait until I get the game.” Nona Gaye, who replaced the late Aaliyah in the movie, wanted to play, but so did nearly everyone else. “I’m trying to get a spot. I’ve been waiting in line about half an hour.”

The game, the first inspired by the Matrix movies, is based on a 244-page script written by Matrix trilogy creators Larry and Andy Wachowski. Pinkett Smith had her body scanned with lasers to create her video game character; she and Moss also did special motion-capture sessions.

“The game and the film are on parallel timelines. There are actually moments where the story and the film will intersect,” says Dave Perry, president of Shiny Development, which is making the game. It will be playable on PCs and Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.

Before entering the party, guests watched The Final Flight of the Osiris, a nine-minute film that sets up the next two Matrix movies and opens theatrically on March 21 with supernatural thriller Dreamcatcher.

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