Speaking of visual effects, if you’ve been following this production closely you’ll know about the drama surrounding troubled visual effects house Manex, and upstart ESC Entertainment. Manex worked on the first film, but has since been plagued with financial and legal trouble, prompting Warner Bros. to harvest some their best effects artists and employ a new company – ESC Entertainment, made up of former Manex employees.
Since all this behind-the-scenes drama has surfaced, Matrix fans have been fretting over the potential for lesser quality effects in the sequels. Well, we’ve heard from a mysterious industry insider who calls himself “Indabiz.” The scooper reveals himself as an original member of the Manex team that worked on The Matrix.
Indabiz wants to set the record straight. He addresses the recent concerns saying, “Most of the original crew are back for the sequel. John Gaeta and Janek Sirrs, VFX Supervisor and Associate VFX Supervisor are back and employed directly by WB. As far as ESC Entertainment, the main people at ESC were the original part of the Matrix crew that dealt specifically with the hardest shots. Their technical expertise was the critical part of delivering the effects on the sequel.” He continues, “The only critical person that is missing is Rodney Iwashina, the digital effects supervisor. He was the ‘glue’ of the 3D team and through his sheer determination, helped the team pull off the impossible. Being a member of the original crew, I can say that what made the original so special was the dedication and amount of work the Manex team put into getting effects work done under a short time frame. It was absolutely insane the amount of time and sleepless nights the team had to get it done. Now, if this spirit is gone in the new company, then I can see why this person would feel this way. Otherwise, the sequels still have the right people on board to deliver the same cutting edge effects you saw in the first one.”
Incidentally, the source adds that Manex has pretty much closed its doors except for some finishing work on Queen of the Damned being done in the LA offices. He also reminds us that the Matrix sequels have suspended production in Oakland – as part of their planned break in anticipation of the actors strike, and relates that a good portion of the effects crew are enjoying a break during the Summer months. Production will resume at Fox Studios Australia in September.