Hundreds of film crew members in Germany contracted to work on “The Matrix 4” are threatening legal action against Germany’s Studio Babelsberg after their work on the Warner Bros. tentpole was terminated due to the coronavirus outbreak shutting down production. According to Variety, terminated crew members from “The Matrix 4” and the video game adaptation “Uncharted” have formed a working group to demand financial aid from the studio. Both films were in preproduction but never started filming in Germany. “The Matrix 4” was gearing up for a Berlin shoot when production was shut down by Warner Bros.
Studio Babelsberg CEO Charlie Woebcken said to Variety in a statement that it was impossible to say “when, if or to what extent” the production of “The Matrix 4” and “Uncharted” would begin. The production shutdown forced the studio to terminate all of its employment agreements with independent crew members. The terminated employees are now hoping to reach an agreement with the studio and are also appealing to Germany’s federal government for help.
Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (BKM) announced March 27 a financial aid rescue package for productions shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, but the “Matrix” and “Uncharted” crew members are unlikely to be eligible for that money since neither projects made it to the filming stage. BMK said to Variety that other financial aid funds might be able to help these crew members, including a $55 billion aid package “aimed at self-employed workers and small businesses.”
“We are in constant discussions with the affected film crew members and our longstanding U.S. partners and are making every effort to find solutions,” Woebcken said to Variety. “Like all companies in the film industry worldwide, Studio Babelsberg is also affected by the current crisis and the associated delays and cancellations.”
“The Matrix 4” shut down production after wrapping filming in San Francisco. Lana Wachowski is returning to the franchise as writer and director, while actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively. Warner Bros. has already set a May 21, 2021 release date for the tentpole, although that date is now in question given the production stop.