At 26, Clayton Watson isn’t exactly a kid anymore, but thanks to ”The Matrix Reloaded” and ”The Matrix Revolutions” (in theaters this week), he may be stuck with the title. As the Kid, Watson fends off the machines and proves that Neo isn’t the only tough guy in Zion. EW.com talked with Watson, who grew up on an Australian sheep farm and briefly flirted with a professional football career down under, about what’s truly weird about ”Matrix” writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, the rumors that his next movie may be directed by Steven Spielberg, and why ”Reloaded” makes more sense than anyone realized.
Considering how desperate fans were to leak information about ”Reloaded” and ”Revolutions,” were you kept in the dark about your story line?
When I was told I got the part, I hadn’t read the script or anything. For six months, shooting kept getting pushed back and pushed back and then finally I got over here and met Andy and Larry [Wachowski], who said, ”Are you ready to film your big scene tomorrow?” I’m like, ”Gosh, I haven’t even got a script!” to which they replied, ”Yeah, good luck.” They just threw the scripts at me. Only when I read them did I realize how big the part was, in No. 3 especially.
There’s an air of mystery surrounding the Wachowskis, who mostly avoid talking to the press. Are they as shy with their cast?
They’re beautiful guys. They love their basketball and their Japanese comics. There’s no mystery about them. The mystery that everyone feels towards them is the fact they don’t do press. But the way they communicate is extraordinarily odd, though I’ve seen it before. They don’t even have to talk to each other, just look at each other and nod. There’s an unspoken code between them. It takes a while to get used to, but once you learn their language of creation, it’s really easy.
A lot of people felt ”The Matrix Reloaded” didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Did you get it? Tell the truth.
There’s a whole process of entering the world the Wachowskis created. Even my mates were a little disappointed with ”Reloaded,” but it’s hard to explain to people that the film was a setup for the third, and that all the answers that people are looking for will be answered. Andy and Larry have a clever way of filmmaking, in that they want people to see the films two or three times because they can’t get it all the first time. The story is multi-multilayered.
You seem to be stuck in Zion in ”Reloaded.” Do you ever get your groovy leather outfit?
Well, I’m primarily in Zion, but you never know. The Kid may go to the Matrix. But he has to wait his turn. How the Kid ultimately becomes a savior of Zion is through his belief in Neo.
Since ”The Matrix Reloaded” hit theaters, have there been any outlandish rumors about you on the Internet?
Someone in Australia wrote that I landed a role in ”Star Wars” and that spread like wildfire. I was like, Oh s—, [George Lucas is] going to look at me and go, ”Who the hell is this kid saying that he’s got a role in ‘Star Wars’?” But that led to the casting directors calling up to say ”George wants to see this kid.” Nothing happened, so I was bummed about that. I thought it would be great if I was in ”Matrix” 2 and 3 and ”Star Wars” 3, you know. There’s another rumor on the Internet about Spielberg looking at me for a movie called ”Tin Tin,” but there’s not much fact to it. I’m quite open to it, though.
So, does the Kid ever get a name? You’re getting a little old to be the Kid forever.
He has a name in the anime films, which is Michael Carl Popper, I think. I haven’t seen the anime for a while. But yeah, [The Kid] is on my tombstone.
What did everyone call you on the set? Please don’t say Kid.
Oh yeah, I was the Kid. I still get emails like, ”So, what’s up, Kid?” But Andy and Larry are the Boys, Carrie-Anne’s Ms. Moss, Laurence Fishburne is Fish, and Keanu Reeves is just K.
Even though you’re primarily stuck in Zion, did you still take a bruising during filming?
The APU [Artillery Protection Unit] threw me around like a rag doll on set. That’s the puppy I was in for most of ”Revolutions,” as you’ll see. It’s the big metal machine that protects Zion. This thing is ten times faster than any amusement park ride in the world and you get tipped backwards, thrown around 360 degrees, and then you’ve still gotta hit your mark and say your lines. There were a lot of bruises and cuts and grazes and wounded egos now and again. But I enjoyed doing it. It’s good to go home, sit in the bath and go, ”Yeah, I’m bruised. I feel liked I’ve done a good day’s work. I’ve earned my money today.”
Is there any shot of there being a fourth ”Matrix” movie?
I’ve been told not to say anything. At one point it was, ”Look, if there’s a 4, 5, and 6, then it’s you and Jada [Pinkett Smith]. And I’d say to the Boys, ”Are we starting?’ And they’d say, ”Don’t f—ing go there, Kid.” At this stage, it’s very doubtful that there’ll be a continuation of the saga, but maybe in another five years or so.