Keanu Reeves and the rest of The Matrix 4 cast and crew reportedly held a huge wrap party with over 200 attendees in Potsdam, Germany, despite the country's strict coronavirus lockdown measures. They allegedly staged the party as a movie scene to avoid a 50-person limit on parties during a four-week partial lockdown that began on Nov. 3. The party was allegedly code-named the "ice cream team event."
The party was held at Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam, located west of Berlin, reports the German newspaper Bild, via Page Six. The event included pyrotechnics, dance performances, a DJ, and a packed dance floor. There were even tattoo stations inside caravans and bars serving drinks and a dessert station. Reeves and his girlfriend, Alexandra Grant, were both seen at the party. The film's directors, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, were also reportedly there.
"The mood was exuberant," one guest told Bild. "There was a rapid [COVID-19] test for everyone in advance. Everyone had to come with a mask, but many didn’t wear them later." The guest said there were "no directorial instructions" given and no one was filming, reports The Guardian.
Bianca Makarewicz, a spokeswoman for the studio, defended the event, saying it really was part of the film. "According to the production, it was the last day of shooting. It was a celebration scene... Hygiene requirements were adhered to," Makarewicz told Bild. "The production deliberately put this shoot with many people involved at the end of the shoot."
Germany began a partial lockdown on Nov. 2, with the number of coronavirus cases rising in the country again. The order shut down bars, restaurants, and theaters, as well as banned large gatherings. Parties of up to 50 people are allowed in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg, but hosts are supposed to submit a "hygiene concept" and get permission from authorities. Guests must also follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Potsdam's spokesman told Bild no party event was registered and its health department plans to examine the party photos the outlet published.
Warner Bros., which is distributing the film, has not commented on the situation. Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, and Daniel Bernhardt all reprise their roles from the original film series. It is the first live-action film in the franchise since 2003's The Matrix Revolutions. Production on The Matrix 4 was put on hold in mid-March after the project moved to Berlin. In May, Variety reported the cast had to sign on for eight extra weeks of filming. The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 22, 2021.