Lana Wachowski – A Very Private Transformation
Anyone who has watched ‘The Matrix’ trilogy will no doubt be familiar with the Wachowski brothers. What many may not be aware of is that they Wachowski brothers are in fact now, the Wachowski sisters. Lilly (b. Andrew) Wachowski has come out very recently (2016) but her sister Lana has been a famous transgender woman since the early 2000’s.
The Wachowskis were born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1965 (Lana) and 1967 (Lilly). Their father was a businessman of Polish decent and their mother was a nurse and painter. Other siblings include Laurence, Julie and Laura. Although not much is known about the Wachowskis because they lead extremely private lives, what is known is their influences that begat their love of movie making. These include; Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott and of course, the great master, Alfred Hitchcock, as well as a long list of other name.
‘The Matrix’ franchise was their kingpin movie that catapulted the Wachowskis from simply well-known to globally acclaimed directors.
When the rumors of a possible transition began spreading around 2000 Lana, (b. Larry) who is a very private individual denied the rumors. When The Gothamist reported further rumors of a gender reassignment in 2003 this was also met with denial. As late as 2007 Joel Silver—who produced many of their Wachowski movies—was quoted as saying “they just don’t do interviews, so people make things up.” This simply added fuel to the fire.
During that time the Wachowskis were working on “Speed Racer”, which was released in 2008—after which Lana completed her transition. This was still under complete cover of secrecy until the end of 2010 when trade media began referring to Larry as Lana. The sibling duo were then publicly renamed Andy and Lana Wachowski and the mystique was simply swept under the carpet and zero fuss was made.
It wasn’t until July of 2012 that Lana made her initial public debut, in which she talked about the making of ‘Cloud Atlas’. In October of that year Lana was awarded the HRC’s Visibility Award. During her acceptance speech Lana revealed that she had contemplated suicide during her youth. It happened only once, but she was acutely aware that other troubled and confused transgender teens have made attempts at numerous times, many succeeding.
Despite Lana and Lilly’s intense shyness, they have thrived as directors. It’s only when confronted by the possibility of an interview do they both run for the shadows. In Hollywood it is quite understandable as a reaction, given the mood of the place sometimes. However, in the same HRC event Lana did explain her decision to stay out of the public eye, when she said; “there are some things we do for ourselves, but there are some things we do for others. I am here because when I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others. If I can be that person for someone else, then the sacrifice of my private civic life may have value.”
Equality Illinois bestowed Lana the Freedom Award in February 2014, highlighting the fact that she is not just an excellent director but also a great asset to the transgender community and no doubt an inspiration to Lilly.