Cover Story: Journey into Darkness; WITH HIS SUCCESS IN THE MATRIX TRILOGY, LAURENCE FISHBURNE WILL FOREVER BE KNOWN AS HEROIC MORPHEUS

The Mirror (London, England), October 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

Cover Story: Journey into Darkness; WITH HIS SUCCESS IN THE MATRIX TRILOGY, LAURENCE FISHBURNE WILL FOREVER BE KNOWN AS HEROIC MORPHEUS


Byline: ALUN PALMER

Laurence Fishburne has a problem. He sees himself as an actor and not a film star, and his theory is backed up by the impressive list of movies he's appeared in. Yet to millions of movie-goers around the world, he is simply Morpheus, the philosophy-spouting rebel leader in the Matrix films.

And next Wednesday, the final chapter in the trilogy - The Matrix Revolutions - opens with an unprecedented simultaneous worldwide release.

"Things have changed for me," admits Laurence, 42. "If you are walking down the street and a guy goes, 'Morpheus!', they're a fan of The Matrix and not a Laurence Fishburne fan. If someone goes, 'Oh, my God!', that's someone who has recognised me as a movie star, which is a little overwhelming. After 31 years as an actor, it still freaks me out."

Revolutions will throw Fishburne firmly back in the spotlight once more.

After the release of Reloaded in the summer, fans have had to wait to see who wins the battle of the humans versus the machines. With an army of killer Sentinels heading towards the last human refuge of Zion, it is down to Neo (Keanu Reeves) to win the day.

Reloaded did not win the universal acclaim that greeted the first outing in the series due to its convoluted plot and heavy philosophy. But Fishburne thinks all will become clear for fans by the end of the final film.

"The first movie's about birth, the second deals with life and the third part is about death," he says. "Revolutions is where more and more of Morpheus's humanity comes to the surface. He's not so much the formidable figure that we met in the first movie who seems to know everything."

He may forever be known as Morpheus, but there is far more to Fishburne than the The Matrix trilogy. Born in July 1961, in Augusta, Georgia, his middle-class family moved to New York, and he was only 11 when he made his debut in the TV soap opera, One Life To Live.

Then, as a fresh-faced 16-year-old in 1977, he went to an open call audition and won a part in Francis Ford Coppola's epic Vietnam war saga Apocalypse Now. He played the innocent Mr Clean aboard the boat that headed upriver towards Marlon Brando's heart of darkness.

The shoot was a nightmare for all involved. It went massively over budget and stretched to two years as the Philippines set was hit by hurricanes and monsoons. Harvey Keitel quit as the lead and then his replacement, Martin Sheen, had a heart attack. …

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