Lana Wachowski biography
Born on June 21, 1965, in Chicago, Illinois, Lana Wachowski grew up as Laurence Wachowski with younger brother Andy. The two entered filmmaking as screenwriters and directed 1996's film Bound before going on to helm the groundbreaking Matrix films. They later produced V for Vendetta, and directed the films Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas. Lana has also become a lauded spokesperson for transgender rights.
Early Life and Career
Lana Wachowski was born on June 21, 1965, to parents Lynne and Ron Wachowski. Lana grew up as Laurence Wachowski (also known as Larry Wachowski) in Chicago, Illinois, with younger brother Andy Wachowski. Though biologically male, as a child Larry also identified with girls, existing between both genders and later struggling with depression and suicidal ideation due to social stigma.
Wachowski attended Whiney M. Young Magnet High School, taking on TV and theater programs, before going on to Bard College. She eventually dropped out to work for a time as a carpenter with brother Andy, back in their home city. The two were also consummate devotees of fantasy fiction and comic books, and wrote for a Marvel Comics imprint series, Ectokid.
Writing 'Assassins' and Directing 'Bound'
The Wachowskis started working in Hollywood with producer Joel Silver by penning a script for the Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas action flick Assassins (1995). They were then given directing and screenwriting duties for the sultry, women-centered heist film Bound (1996), starring Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly.
Launching 'The Matrix'
The siblings ended up directing and co-writing a groundbreaking work that explored existential philosophies in a dynamic storyline: The Matrix. The 1999 film, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss, had a story that scrutinized the virtual world of a future era, and revolutionized the interplay of action choreography and CGI effects. The movie grossed more than $460 million worldwide and was followed by two 2003 sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Though enjoying huge success, the siblings decided to maintain their privacy.
The Wachowskis returned to the comic world for their next project, producing and writing the 2006 film adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel V for Vendetta. The movie, directed by James McTeigue, starred Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman as characters in a dystopic England undergoing revolution, as sparked by a masked figure.
In 2008, the siblings produced, directed and co-wrote a kaleidoscopic adaptation of the 1960s animated series Speed Racer. The two returned to working as producers with McTeigue for 2009's Ninja Assassin.
'Cloud Atlas' and Coming Out
Two-thousand twelve was a momentous year for the Wachowskis. In late October 2012, they released their adaptation of the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas, which they co-directed with German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, and which features Halle Berry and Tom Hanks.
Also in 2012, Lana also began making public statements about her experience as a transgendered person. Openly living as a woman since 2000, she has talked about her outlook on gender during promotions for Atlas and in an eloquent gala speech for the Human Rights Campaign. She also received the HRC's Visibility Award in 2012.