More than 20 years since cyberpunk, science fiction phenomenon 'The Matrix' hit our screens and began a franchise loved the world over, the fantasy returns in 'The Matrix Resurrections’.
Directed by Lana Wachowski, 'The Matrix Resurrections' is the sequel to 'The Matrix Revolutions', a new chapter taking place in a world of two realities – one, everyday life. . . The other, what lies beyond. If Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) has learnt anything, it's that choice is still the only way out of – or into – The Matrix. He will once again be faced with the choice of which path to follow.
This time, the Matrix is stronger, more secure and more dangerous than ever.
'The Matrix Resurrections' sees the return of Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lambert Wilson and Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as the addition of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Christina Ricci.
Here, Keanu Reeves talks about the film and the opportunity to play Thomas Anderson/Neo in 'The Matrix' universe again.
What was your reaction when Lana Wachowski reached out to invite you back to the Matrix? Yeah, that was a very thrilling moment.
Your mind wasn't racing with 20 years of thoughts? Yes. That's what made it thrilling.
When she shared the story with you or when you got the script, what did you think about this new take on this iconic trilogy? I thought it was a beautiful script. I thought it was a beautiful love story, and I thought it was very up to date and important medicine for the days that we have. As I feel 'The Matrix, Reloaded' and 'Revolutions' had a cautionary tale and kind of inspiring messages, I felt like 'Resurrections' was embracing and speaking to where we are today and hopefully will be as inspiring.
Did you enjoy all the really beautiful callbacks and Easter eggs? Yes, I did, especially for the character that I play. I thought it was really interesting, in terms of a cinematic structure and storytelling structure, how Lana was dealing with the past and the present, not only for the characters in the film, but I think for the audience watching it. I think her use of flashbacks is very much an enriching feeling, along with some of their editorial choices and way that she includes the audience and lets us be connected to the present journey of the character as the film unfolds.
How did it feel to step back into Mr. Anderson's shoes? It was nice. They fit, and they're quite comfortable. The character has a sense of questioning and also has experience and knowledge. So with that, there's these moments in the film where he's kind of wondering, "Is it all worth it or what really happened or what does it mean?" I think those are memory, fiction, fact, truth, perspective, systems, control, personal perspectives. . . This kind of kaleidoscope that the character goes through and the film has with its references, its Easter eggs, its past, its present, its living-moment characters who talk about the past, but who are maybe inspired by the past, who have made certain choices that they're confronted by – "What have we done? What are we doing?” kind of aspects. "What do we hope to do? Not only for humans, but for artificial intelligence, other kind of sentient beings". This tapestry, this kaleidoscope, it was pretty profound. It's a pleasure to play.
What was your experience working with Lana now these years later, having done so early on? She's changed her style, right? Yeah. The filmmaker that I worked with in the late `90s and early 2000s and then worked with on 'Resurrections' was familiar, but then also had gone through revolutionary evolvement for a filmmaker who kind of watched on the monitors and was interested in artificial light now is fascinated by and interested in and acknowledging the power of the sun. The filmmaker who was watching things quite objectively on the monitors is now standing next to the camera operator and guiding them through shots. Someone who is interested in rehearsal is now not doing rehearsal, saying things like, "You learn by doing," but you do that on camera. It's a different way of working, and it's a fundamental change and made it very exciting. Not that the other way isn't exciting, but it's a different way.
Tell me about Carrie-Anne Moss coming back as your partner in this film, and getting to work together again? It's so special and such a pleasure to work with Carrie-Anne and really to partner up, to be that kind of single element, but the duality of the characters being this one thing in their love. It's such a pleasure to play the connection that Thomas Anderson and Trinity have, and she's an exceptional artist, a righteous soul. It was a real pleasure to work together again.
You have a lot of new talent coming into the world. Can you talk a little bit about your great cast? It was really cool just to be working with artists who had such an affection and enthusiasm for the project, and then to work with them and to experience all of their extraordinary, talented commitment. It's a real pleasure.
You've touched on the themes of this film a little bit. One of the themes, in this film especially, is about taking this leap of faith, but for your character that's a very literal and physical thing in this film, this leap. You obviously are used to training for your films very hard, but what did this one entail for you? I know that Lana wanted it to be different for you this time—the physicality, the training, the fighting always evolves in her films. The training was actually probably very similar to the training that I had had previously on the films. I guess the biggest thing was just Carrie-Anne and I jumping off a building. That was a little different, but we worked with Scott Rogers, who designed all of the wire and designed the architecture of that event, who I previously worked with, who I have complete trust in. Carrie-Anne came to completely trust him, as well. I thought it was really cool that Lana wanted these characters to leap off a building and not do it in a computer generated environment. She gave us the opportunity to do something and have an experience that we have never had in our lives.
One last thing: you bring up the experience for you, but what do you hope that your audiences are going to experience when they see this? This is one of those rare films, rare franchises, where people remember the first time they've seen these movies, so they are experiential. What do you hope that they will feel when they see this one? I hope they're inspired. I hope they find it interesting and inspirational, and they have a good time, and they laugh, and they cry, and they have some good sustenance, some good food for thought, and have a wonderful takeaway from the experience of watching the film.
'The Matrix Resurrections' is in cinemas 26 December.