"She's just engendered differently": Wachowski siblings give first interview in 14 years

The reclusive Wachowski siblings have given their first interview since 1999 to 'The Sunday Times' newspaper about co-directing 'Cloud Atlas' with German director, Tom Tykwer.

Lana and Andy Wachowski (Credit: Wenn)

The film, their sixth, is an adaptation of David Mitchell's 2004 novel, 'Cloud Atlas, which spans six stories, six centuries, and a multitude of characters, played by Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Halle Berry and Ben Whishaw.

The idea that good and evil can co-exist is part of the DNA of all of their films, explains Lana, adding the film was inspired by their own upbringing by an atheist father and a Catholic-turned shamanist mother.

'Cloud Atlas' also features a messianic figure, reminiscent of Neo in 'The Matrix', called Sonmi-451, who rises to oppose an insidiously oppressive power structure.

Natalie Portman gave the Wachowskis a copy of the novel on the set of 'V for Vendetta', which they co-wrote and produced.

The Wachowskis then gave it to all their friends as "the best book of the 21st century". The also invested their own money in the film to get it made.

Co-director Tykwer says it came out of the "spiritual love making between the three of us".

Since their smash hit, 1999 'The Matrix', elder sibling Larry has become Lana. As a transgender woman she says she related to the novel's themes of a soul's transcendence beyond boundaries of gender, sexuality and ethnicity.

She criticises a culture that wants to see gender "as a binary thing… In the same way that some people look at the movie and  get upset because it doesn't fit into a conventional mould, people get angry because I represent something that transcends their limited definition of what gender is."

Younger brother Andy defends his sister's decision: "It's not like Lana was knocked over the head and now she's a different person. This is not 'Regarding Henry'. She is the same person. She's just engendered differently and the sooner we can get people understanding that … it's all part of the normalisation period."

The Wachowskis  grew up Polish in a mostly Irish neighbourhood. Lana reveals  the torment of feeling like a girl trapped in a boys' body, led her to retreat into books, movies, role playing games. "Andy and I did all of those things together and making movies became a natural extension of that play."

Their next film is an original science fiction epic called 'Jupiter Ascending'.

'Cloud Atlas' is released on 22 February.