Wachowski and her brother Andy have directed some of the most iconic and lucrative films to come out of Hollywood, including “The Matrix” franchise and “V for Vendetta.” “Cloud Atlas,” the $100 million sci-fi time-bending epic starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry that dazzled Toronto festgoers, is her next directorial effort, again teaming with sibling Andy plus Tom Tykwer. It’s also the filmmaker’s first film as Lana, not Larry. At the recent Toronto fest, she talked to the press about her transgender choices, saying that she began struggling with gender identity at an early age. For his part, Andy has said that Lana is “easier to work with” than Larry was.
What we should know: “My brother and I don’t really (believe in) the idea of the auteur theory of directing. We believe that filmmaking is a social art form and that every movie is a composite of all of the artists that work on it. It’s an extremely social project, and actually in a lot of ways women are better suited to directing. Most of the women I know, that are in my life, are better communicators. A lot of what directing is about, trying to get the best performance either from the actor or a storyboard artist or a cinematographer or a costume designer, is about empathetic communication.”
Words of wisdom for biz newbies: “No. 1 — if you can write your own material, that’s the easiest way. If you can’t write then the next thing you have to do is start directing. Do a short film, do a low-budget film, find a way to raise a little bit of money. It’s a lot cheaper to make movies now, in some ways it’s the cheapest its ever been to make a movie. So I would urge someone who wants to get into directing to go out and direct. And I think that alliances are really important. Find friends and other people who want to also work in the business, build support networks.”
Smartphone of vacation? “Sometimes you have to, I try to get time off, like the last week we’ve been driving across the country and I don’t get reception in a lot of places. It was nice to be isolated.”
Work week habits:“If we’re in the middle of the movie, if we’re planning, prepping and shooting and editing, I would guess 100 hours a week maybe.”
Life-work balance: “I would like to read all of the other (women’s) responses because I could use help with that. Mostly it’s about finding a partner who’s compassionate and understanding, and knows how much I love what I do. And when I try to go away (on vacation), I try to go away completely.”
Charitable passions: “Chicago House. It’s a project that deals with homelessness in the LGBT community, and it was started at a time when my partner and I were looking to get involved in a project that had a wider range of services than most public services do. It actually started just recently and I think it has the best approach to dealing with a complicated subject.”