Matrix party ‘disguised as film shoot’ to bypass German Covid rules

Keanu Reeves among 200 people at studio party where guests came as extras, says report

German health authorities say they plan to speak to the studio where the latest Matrix film was shot after a party allegedly attended by the Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves was held to mark the end of filming, despite coronavirus restrictions.

About 200 people were at the party disguised as a film shoot, with the guests invited to come as extras in an apparent attempt to bypass health regulations, according to the German tabloid Bild.

Parties of up to 50 people are allowed in Berlin and the neighbouring state of Brandenburg, where the party reportedly took place at the Babelsberg film studios, west of the German capital. But they have to be registered in advance along with the submission of a “hygiene concept” that has to be approved by authorities. Guests have to abide by distancing rules, and to wear a mask when not eating and drinking.

A 39-year-old female guest at the party told Bild: “The mood was exuberant. Everyone was given a corona PCR test in advance. Everyone needed to come wearing a mask but many people didn’t wear them as the party wore on.”

She added: “No directorial instructions were given, there was no clapperboard and no one was filming.”

The party, hosted by producers Lana and Lilly Wachowski was codenamed “Icecream Teamevent” according to the paper, quoting sources, and started at 6pm on Wednesday and went on into the early hours of Thursday.

Guests were entertained by a dancer, a DJ, and a pyrotechnic show, and were invited to get souvenir Matrix tattoos. Refreshments included sushi, sake, pizza, currywurst (curried sausage, a Berlin speciality) and vegan chocolate apricot cake. Bedouin-style tents and hippy-style caravans were available for guests who wanted more privacy.

Reeves and his partner, the artist Alexandra Grant, were sat at a table drinking wine, and left early on in the evening, reported Bild.

Bianca Markarewicz, spokeswoman for Studio Babelsberg, said according to the producers of the Matrix franchise, the film team was shooting a “celebration scene, which was filmed in the summer, and this was in connection with that. The hygiene regulations were complied with.”

She added: “The production team consciously put this shoot with its many participants, right at the end of the filming.”

Germany cases

A spokesman for the city of Potsdam, which is responsible for giving permission for parties to go ahead, said: “No event was announced to us. There were ongoing discussions between the health authority and the studios on the topic of infection protection during filming.”

He said the health authority would be talking to the studio.

The faintest whiff of bad publicity would be the most Reeves has received in some time, having become that rare thing, a relatively scandal-free Hollywood celebrity. His introverted personality and grace with fans have earned him the nickname “the internet’s boyfriend”.

Earlier this year, he helped arrange a van after a flight he was on in California got stranded, and was filmed reading aloud to the passengers on the journey. The actor Octavia Spencer also said he once helped push her car when it broke down. “What Would Keanu Reeves Do?” is a popular slogan on unofficial merchandise.

Reeves also attracted praise for having a supposedly “age-appropriate relationship” after it was revealed that the actor, 56, was dating Grant, who is 47.

Filming on Matrix 4 was interrupted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic but resumed again in Berlin in August. It is scheduled for release in December 2021.


Kate Connolly in Berlin and Chris Michael

The GuardianTramp

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