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Divorce Filing Puts Light on 'Matrix'

May 22, 2003|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

One of the two reclusive brothers behind Hollywood's hottest movie, "The Matrix Reloaded," is embroiled in a nasty divorce that has laid bare lucrative movie deals almost as complicated as his film's plot.

The court filings, first disclosed Wednesday by the Smoking Gun on its Web site, come as Larry Wachowski and his brother, Andy, are basking in the near-record opening of the film, which grossed $134 million in its first four-plus days and is expected to be one of the biggest films of the year. The two are the writers, directors and two of the executive producers of Warner Bros.'s three-film franchise.

Court papers posted on the Web site show that Larry Wachowski's divorce from his college sweetheart, Thea Bloom, took a nasty turn last week when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu temporarily froze his business funds after she alleged that millions of dollars he earned was unaccounted for.

"Larry has been extremely dishonest with me in our personal life, and I believe he is hiding information from me regarding our financial affairs," Bloom said in a court declaration. Wachowski said to her that he had been paid large amounts of money but also told her "that there was hardly any left," she said in court papers.

Peter Grossman, a lawyer for Wachowski, 37, declined to comment. Warner Bros. also declined to comment. A lawyer for Bloom didn't return calls.

According to Bloom's declaration, the two began their relationship in 1984, became engaged in 1991 and were married in 1993, first living in a modest Chicago apartment.

With Wachowski's success, the two moved to Southern California in 2000, settling in a $1.9-million Venice home. They separated in July 2002, "based on very intimate circumstances, concerning which I do not elaborate at this time for reasons of his personal privacy," Bloom said in the court papers.

According to court documents, the brothers' deal called for them to receive a combined $16 million for "The Matrix Reloaded" and the sequel, "The Matrix Revolutions," the third installment in the franchise due out in November. The two also were behind the first film in the series, 1999's "The Matrix."

The $16 million in the Wachowskis' package includes $5 million for scripts, $2.2 million for pre-production services and $6.6 million to be paid during principal photography. An additional $1.1 million was to be paid over the course of post-production, $550,000 when they delivered "The Matrix Reloaded" and $550,000 more when "The Matrix Revolutions" is delivered.

That does not include the 5% participation in the films' revenue, which court papers show won't be paid before 2005.

The two also are scheduled to receive $2.75 million in advances paid out through next year for the video game tied to the film, and additional amounts for an online game.

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Times staff writer Robert W. Welkos contributed to this report..

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