The Matrix Resurrections' Cinematographer Breaks Down The Real-Life Roof Jump [Exclusive]

Remember the brouhaha that erupted in the wake of Kevin Feige's endearingly doe-eyed comments about how remarkable it was that "Eternals" director Chloé Zhao had the unprecedented idea to film in, you know, the outdoors and stuff? (I know, I know, don't say "And stuff.") Zhao has already made a permanent impression on the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her formula-shattering approach to filmmaking, but she's not the only director using the idea of natural light and perfectly-timed "golden hour" shooting schedules to help make movies look as naturally gorgeous-looking as possible. Lana Wachowski is cut from a similar cloth, having chosen to purposefully bring the beauty of nature to the otherwise cold, metallic, and unreal aesthetics of her and Lilly Wachowski's "Matrix" franchise with this fourth film.

After releasing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max this past weekend, "The Matrix Resurrections" has finally revealed its carefully-guarded secrets and proved to be as bold, inventive, and perhaps divisively meta as anyone could have expected. /Film's Chris Evangelista absolutely loved it, stating in his review that:

Don't expect the same old same old. Instead, 'The Matrix Resurrections' is a film that reflects on the past and openly has fun with it. 'We need a new bullet time!' someone says at one point. 'I still know kung-fu,' Keanu Reeves adds later. This approach is bound to infuriate purists who wanted something familiar."

Of the many elements to pour over and analyze, from post-credits scenes to the ending itself to the thematic ramifications of the overall story, one key topic worth digging into is the particulars of how certain scenes were filmed — such as the heavily-marketed (and widely-publicized) moment where Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss jump off the roof of a skyscraper during a show-stopping third act sequence in "Resurrections." Luckily, /Film was able to talk to one of the most important crewmembers involved with this scene.

'The Real Actors Are Jumping Off the Building'

Nowadays, the idea of actors performing dangerous stunts on their own has increasingly become restricted to only the most obsessive actors in the business: think of Tom Cruise in the "Mission: Impossible" movies or, ironically, Keanu Reeves in the "John Wick" franchise. Fans may have forgotten that much of this can be traced back to the original "The Matrix" trilogy, which featured Reeves and co-star Carrie-Anne Moss performing many of their own intricate stunts and action sequences.

In any case, director Lana Wachowski seemed intent on bringing the franchise back to its roots with "Resurrections," particularly with one crucial scene set on a San Francisco rooftop featuring sci-fi's best power couple. /Film's Jack Giroux recently caught up with cinematographer Daniele Massaccesi to talk about his work on the film and, specifically, how he helped bring this heart-pounding stunt to life. Massaccesi remarks that Lana Wachowski "...had a completely different approach to filmmaking and to life, where she'd rather have it in real. You've seen the movie so you know that they actually, at the end of the movie, the actors jumping off the building. The real actors are jumping off the building."

As you might expect, the precise timing of capturing this at just the right moment proved tricky ... to say nothing of the actual logistics of filming two older actors jumping off a building as the cameraperson follows. According to Massaccesi:

"Lana was quite keen of the time when she wants to shoot the scene. Obviously, if she wants the sun just coming off the horizon, faded, beautiful, that you can see at dawn every day, it gives you a very small window to do a shot so important. So, for a few times we were on the rooftop of the building in the dark, getting everything ready to do it, and then, as the sun breaks the horizon, we just did it. And as an operator, that was actually a challenge shot because you have main actor jumping off a 100 floor building, and you have a camera leading them in front, so as they jump you need to follow them as they go down. Make sure they are in frame. It's not like you can miss it, so that was a bit of a challenge."

"The Matrix Resurrections" is currently playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.