Matrix director changes sex to become a woman

Channels Television  
Updated July 31, 2012

“Hi, I’m Lana,” the director says with a broad smile and soft, breathy voice, her hair styled in pink dreadlocks.

The new Lana Wachowski (L) and former Larry Wachowski (R)

Lana Wachowski appears in a video introducing the trailer for her new movie, “Cloud Atlas,” a drama starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry  — a film on which Lana shares directing credit with her brother Andy Wachowski and “Run, Lola, Run” director Tim Tykwer. But Lana was also introducing herself — as a woman.

The filmmaker formerly known as Larry Wachowski, half of the sibling duo behind “The Matrix” series and “Speed Racer,” Lana has been quietly transitioning genders for the better part of a decade.

“Cloud Atlas,” which premiered a more than five-minute trailer and a brief, introductory video by its filmmakers on iTunes on Thursday, will be Lana’s first feature directing credit under her new name and identity.

Plenty of questions surround “Cloud Atlas,” chiefly, how will its makers have tackled author David Mitchell’s dense, centuries-spanning novel, which tells six separate but interlocking stories starting in the South Pacific in the 1800s and progressing to a dystopian future with genetic clones.

Like the book its based upon, the “Cloud Atlas” production has been sprawling. In addition to Hanks and Berry, the cast includes Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent, some of them inhabiting multiple roles to bring to life the screenplay penned by Tykwer and the Wachowskis.

The unusually long trailer gives a peek into the ambitious Warner Bros. film with images from its wildly contrasting stories — an old sailing ship steaming across the sea, Berry in a slow-motion car crash, Korean actress Doona Bae as a clone waitress, Hanks with a ’70s-style shag haircut, a future with flying crafts and blue-lit architecture.

Mimicking the interlocking style of the movie in the directors’ video, the Wachsowskis and Tykwer finish one anothers’ sentences, promising a film that is “political, philiosophical, with lots of action,” and describing their difficulty raising the financing, and determining how to market “Cloud Atlas.”

Lana explained the quandary: “The experts all said it was too complicated.”