A Popular Food Inspired The Most Iconic Part Of The Matrix Movies

The iconic green code in The Matrix came from scanning sushi recipes.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

the matrix

Almost a quarter of a century since its release, The Matrix is still a fascinating film with an enduring philosophy, aesthetic, and, as it turns out, behind-the-scenes ingenuity that endures to this day. While the stunt work with Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving was revolutionary, what’s more impressive is the mundane details that came together to create a sci-fi masterpiece. For example, the famous green code that defines the Matrix in the real world was the result of a production designer scanning his wife’s sushi recipes.

Sushi as the basis for the actual Matrix makes sense, considering Japanese Kanji are visible among the rapid-fire reversed letters and numbers flashing on the screen. In a philosophical sense, sushi is made by combining multiple foods and holding them together with either a ball of rice, or a thin layer of seaweed, and it’s not hard to see how that connects to the meaning behind The Matrix. An entire world kept together by lines of code, easy to break apart, yet through the simplicity and elegance of its design, something magic is created.

Well, that, and also, the word sashimi is created by combining the words for “pierce” and “body,” playing off of the not-so-subtle Biblical themes of The Matrix. After all, the ship used by the rebels is the Nebuchadnezzar, which is a Mark III, No. 3 model, translating to Bible verse Mark 3:11 — “And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, they would fall down in front of him shrieking, ‘You are the Son of God!'” Considering Neo is referred to as “The Chosen One” throughout the film, all of that was done on purpose, as yet another well-hidden easter egg in a movie full of them.

This is a sushi recipe

Another Biblical inscription appears on Agent Smith’s car, “IS 5416,” or Isiah 54:16: “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” The role of the villainous agent almost didn’t go to Hugo Weaving; instead, French actor Jean Reno was offered the part, but he opted to make Godzilla with Matthew Broderick instead, but he’s not the only star to turn down The Matrix, and make a disaster.

Will Smith was offered the role of Neo, claiming that the Wachowskis presented the bullet-time kick sequence as a way to sell the film. Smith turned it down, skeptical of the rest of the film, and opted to film Wild Wild West, one of the worst movies of his career (enjoy the horrible Rotten Tomatoes scores). His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, auditioned for Trinity but didn’t get the part, though she’d be a key part of the rest of the trilogy and the tie-in video game.

Sushi helped create the literal and philosophical basis of The Matrix, making one of the most popular foods in the country surprisingly influential in filming the sci-fi classic. Considering how, before it entered production, stars in Hollywood thought the script was too complicated to be made and easily understood by the general audience, it’s impressive that it changed the course of movies.