The Matrix Resurrections' Spectacular Ending Jump Almost Didn't Get Filmed

You didn't think we were done geeking out over Lana Wachowski's "The Matrix Resurrections," did you? The triumphant fourth film proved a worthy follow-up to the original trilogy of movies, taking perhaps the best and most meaningful approach of any so-called "legacy sequel" in recent years. The new film may have been far more overtly focused on its central love story than the previous sequels (though I'd argue that's always been baked into the text of those movies, too), but that doesn't mean "Resurrections" skimped on the expectations of spectacular action sequences, either. The centerpiece of the film and especially all the marketing revolved around a certain rooftop jump taking place at a crucial moment late in the story, filmed practically, with stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss actually leaping off a San Francisco skyscraper into thin air ... with a little help from the stunt crew and safety harnesses, of course. But according to the special effects supervisors on the film, the production team came perilously close to the stunt not happening at all.

In an interview with Yahoo!, longtime SFX wizards J.D. Schwalm ("Pearl Harbor," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "The Fate of the Furious") and Pau Costa ("The Bourne Ultimatum," "Fast & Furious 6," "Terminator: Dark Fate") opened up about their perspective of bringing one of the franchise's most jaw-dropping moments to life. But as a consequence of the dangers of the rooftop stunt, the production apparently came this close to needing to pull the plug on it entirely, with the official go-ahead coming right down to the wire. Check out the full comment below!

Dodging bullets

You know, maybe it's only fitting that the franchise that popularized "bullet time" on the big screen back in 1999 would need to find a way to dodge a much larger one during filming for "The Matrix Resurrections." Writer/director Lana Wachowski has never shied away from pushing the envelope of what can be accomplished on set or on location of a major blockbuster movie, and the stunning rooftop jump is no exception. /Film's Jack Giroux previously interviewed the cinematographer of "Resurrections," Daniele Massaccesi, who specifically talked about the timing of the scene at "golden hour" and the challenges involved in filming both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss performing the stunt themselves.

SFX supervisor J.D. Schwalm shed even more light on the behind-the-scenes process when asked about the toughest sequences to pull off in the movie. As he put it,

"The most nerve-wracking one was when they did jump off the building. We filmed the jump in the morning as the last shot of the day after filming all night. But the evening of [the jump], we got word that we were not gonna do it. The studio and the insurance company and whatnot wasn't going to allow the actors to get on the rig. It was down to the wire and ultimately somebody showed up, gave the green light and it happened that day. It was pretty intense."

Luckily, the production team took the utmost caution to ensure the sequence would unfold without any hitches and we were given one of last year's most memorable moviegoing moments. But where this invaluable moment was able to be preserved, other ideas ended up on the chopping block. Schwalm goes on to mention,

"In San Francisco, we had a couple of asks that we tried for. We were going to mount miniguns on some helicopters. They were dummy ones which actually shot flames instead of bullets. We thought we had it all the way down to the last minute. Then the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] stepped in and ultimately we weren't granted permission to do it. So that was a little bit of a bummer. A lot of work went into the guns. Other than that we pulled off the majority of asks."

The complete interview is worth reading, giving fans of the movie even more insight into how it all turned out so well.