The production of The Matrix 4 has been accused of holding a wrap party disguised as a scene from the long-awaited sci-fi sequel.
Reports from the German tabloid Bild, also reported by The Guardian, claim that the 'party' found 200 cast and crew gathering at the famous Babelsberg film studio in Potsdam, just north of Berlin, last Wednesday.
However, local safety rules have banned meetings of more than 50 people due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that even 50-person gatherings have to be cleared first with local authorities.
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Once cleared, such gatherings then have to adhere to strict social distancing rules, including the wearing of masks when not eating and drinking.
One guest told Bild: “The mood was exuberant. Everyone was given a corona PCR test in advance. Everyone needed to come wearing a mask but many people didn’t wear them as the party wore on.”
“No directorial instructions were given, there was no clapperboard and no one was filming.”
Keanu Reeves, who is reprising his role of Neo for director Lana Wachowski's movie, was said to have been in attendance, with his girlfriend Alexandra Grant, but left early.
A spokesperson for the Babelsberg studio said that: “The production team consciously put this shoot with its many participants, right at the end of the filming.”
They added that the 'celebration scene' that was being filmed was 'in connection with' a scene filmed earlier on in the movie's schedule over the summer, and that 'hygiene regulations were complied with'.
According to reports, guests were treated to a DJ and pyro show and dancers, with bedouin tents and caravans laid on, as well as food and refreshments, and the offer of Matrix tattoos.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the Matrix trilogy has gone down this route, notably seen in the much-ribbed club scene from The Matrix Revolutions in 2003.
A spokesperson for the city of Potsdam said that authorities would be looking into the event and discussing the matter with the studio.
They added: “No event was announced to us. There were ongoing discussions between the health authority and the studios on the topic of infection protection during filming.”
The Matrix 4 has, like so many other movies, suffered severe delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Filming was first halted in March, after shoots in San Francisco, under the codename 'Project Ice Cream'.
It resumed in August in Berlin, before wrapping on November 11.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessica Henwick and Jonathan Groff are among the new members of the cast, while Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Niobe) reprise their roles from the original trilogy.
It's due for release on 22 December, 2021.
Watch: Keanu talks movie making in a pandemic