Larry Wachowski

Active - 1995 - 2009  |   Born - Jun 21, 1965 in Chicago, IL  |   Genres - Science Fiction, Adventure, Action, Crime, Thriller

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

The bonds of brotherhood can forge great things, and in the case of Larry and Andy Wachowski, they have created a vision that has revolutionized the modern approach to sci-fi action cinema. Even if their ideas for individual stylistic and artistic flourishes may not be entirely original, their remarkable talent for combining the best of both the action and sci-fi universes with high-concept, nearly mythological storytelling has resulted in a film that has been imitated, emulated, and parodied arguably more than any other in genre history, The Matrix (1999). Born in Chicago to a businessman father and a mother who worked as a nurse and painter, Larry and Andy flexed their creative muscles early on with frequent meditations on current perceptions of reality and by attempting to conjure up new and original variations of those perceptions. After attending Bard College for two years and subsequently dropping out, Larry worked alongside his brother as a painter and carpenter while writing and taking in a steady diet of comic books, in addition to continuing his philosophical debates with his younger brother, who had likewise dropped out of Emerson College. Inspired by a book about legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, Larry insisted that his younger sibling read the book and the duo decided to test their storytelling skills in the form of screenplay writing. Penning a Corman-style yarn concerning cannibalism of the upper classes, the brothers found the Hollywood elite hesitant to embrace the disturbing screenplay, though frequent positive comments regarding its originality and creativity inspired the brothers to keep pursuing their cinematic endeavors. Re-approaching the same studios a short time later with a script for the film that would eventually become Assassins (1995), the brothers found more disappointment when the film failed to ignite the box office and decided to take matters into their own hands. Serving as both writers and directors of the stylish neo-noir thriller Bound (1996) found the brothers recipients of more positive critical feedback, and the clever film developed a dedicated following when released on home video. On the heels of Bound's success, the brothers decided to return to a script that they had been developing for some years. Incorporating their frequent philosophical meditations on mythology and perceptions of reality in the internet age into a high-concept action screenplay that would utilize the most modern developments of special effects combined with thrilling martial arts, the brothers teamed with artists Geof Darrow and Steve Skrose to create an enticingly kinetic comic storyboard to pitch to Warner Bros. production head Lorenzo di Bonaventura and producer Joel Silver. The resulting product, with its intellectually highbrow mix of mysticism and mythology, Hong Kong-inspired action, and ultra-stylish cyber-noir visuals, broke box-office records and left fans thirsting for more, and it wasn't long before the brothers began work on two films that would complete the trilogy about humankind's struggle to reclaim its minds from an ominous and far-reaching conspiracy in which nothing is as it seems.

After finishing up with the Matrix trilogy, the Wachowskis wrote and produced the graphic novel adaptation V for Vendetta, and in 2008 returned to the directors chairs to mount a visually splashy big-screen version of the cartoon series Speed Racer. After that film, Larry completed sexual reassignment surgery and became Lana. The duo directed Cloud Atlas, a sweeping drama about how people's actions reverberate through history with an all star cast that included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.

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