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Chicago Company Crafts VFX for ‘The Matrix Resurrections,’ ‘Work In Progress’

Last updated: September 21, 2021

As The Matrix Resurrections trailer continues to break the internet, with well over 50 million views worldwide, the film has also shined a light on a highly touted VFX artist out of Chicago. Meet Ryan Urban.

Chicago-based visual effects supervisor Urban (pictured here) was a vendor-side VFX Supervisor for The Matrix Resurrections and famed director Lana Wachowski. Ryan’s company, Turncoat Pictures, supplied visual effects as a vendor on the film.

“It was a dream come true not only to work on this franchise, but also to have my company, Turncoat Pictures, create and deliver visual effects for the film,” Ryan Urban told SCREEN.

But it’s not the first time Ryan has worked with his fellow Chicagoans. Ryan has previously collaborated with the Wachowskis on Sense8, Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas and Ninja Assassin.

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to enjoy that visually stunning The Matrix Resurrections one more time…

And by the way, if you’d like to get the scoop from Ryan about what to expect from the fourth installment of The Matrix franchise, you can forget about it. Ryan’s lips are sealed, and you’ll have to wait until the blockbuster arrives in theaters on December 22nd.

Terrence Malick, James McTeigue Highlight Urban’s Creative Collaborations

Urban moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College, where he studied film. After graduating, he worked as an editor and motion graphics artist in Chicago. 

“My favorite project I edited before I got into visual effects was for the Field Museum at RPM Advertising,” Urban told SCREEN. “We got to do an overnight shoot at the Field Museum, and the director, Larry Bessler, shot all this great new footage. We still had to use one shot from a much older spot, and the actor’s shirt was pretty dated. I remember everyone asking if we could change his shirt. At the time that wasn’t really feasible. I think back to that often, because that type of task is now something in our visual effects wheelhouse.“

While freelancing, Ryan landed a job on Ninja Assassin as an inhouse VFX artist, where he first met the Wachowskis and the director, James McTeigue (also well known for directing the critically acclaimed V for Vendetta). That job eventually took him to Los Angeles. After nearly five years in LA, mostly at Method Studios, Ryan moved back to Chicago to help open Method Studios Chicago, which has since closed. Ryan joined the team at The Mill Chicago as a VFX Supervisor, where he helped nurture and train talent while leading the team through successful campaigns. Returning to episodic work, Ryan served as the VFX Supervisor for the second season of Sense8, alongside Senior VFX Supervisor, Dan Glass. Ryan was recently the overall supervisor for the finale episode of Sense8 and the Netflix series, Messiah.

Here’s a quick glance back to the making of the finale episode of Sense8…

Ryan founded Turncoat Pictures in 2015, and the first official project for the company was visual effects for the film Voyage of Time for Terrence Malick. Turncoat Pictures is a story-driven creative and consulting studio that specializes in visual effects for film, TV and advertising. Some of the recent projects include Pacific Rim Uprising, in addition to the aforementioned Sense8 and Messiah.

Work in Progress with Lilly Wachowski

Ryan and the Turncoat Pictures team is also wrapping up the visual effects for the second season of Showtime’s Work in Progress for Lilly Wachowski, Abby McEnany, and the rest of the primarily Chicago-based team.

“I love that Work in Progress is not only filmed here, but does Post Production here too.” Ryan shared with SCREEN. “We’re here to do our part to help support Lilly and Abby’s vision.”

And of course, you can enjoy new episodes of Work in Progress on Showtime every Sunday this month at 10 pm Central…

What’s next for Turncoat Pictures?

Busy months ahead for Ryan and his team, with a nice balance of major studio projects and independent feature work. “We have a few new projects in the works and are really excited for the upcoming release of the World War II action movie Wolf Hound, starring James Maslow and Trevor Donovan, directed by fellow Columbia College grad Michael B. Chait.” 

“I’m proud of the year we’ve had developing talent in the Chicago market, during what’s been a challenging time in the world,” Ryan shared with SCREEN. “Additionally, we continue to seek out diversity, targeting women and underrepresented groups, as we approach the next wave of VFX opportunities.”

For more from Ryan and Turncoat Pictures, click right here. And for The Matrix Resurrections, head to your local movie theater on December 22nd.

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