The Matrix Resurrections’ Jessica Henwick on Keanu Reeves

Photo: Dave Bennett/Getty Images

In Lana Wachowski’s long-awaited return to the franchise she made with her sister Lilly, Resurrection MatrixJessica Henwick lives every ’90s kid’s dream. Step into the Wachowskis’ virtual playground to play as Bugs, a rebellious blue-haired gunslinger looking for the Messiah named Neo (Keanu Reeves). Bags was once a simple window cleaner, but when she saw a bald man in a suit trying to jump off a rooftop, she recognized him as Neo and the photo woke her up. His knowledge seduces her. Bugs believes that if she can find Neo, he can once again become a symbol of humankind’s freedom. She’s not a new Morpheus (this honor goes to Yahya Abd al-Mateen II), but she does carry that character’s idealized spirit and unwavering beliefs, while adding a youthful energy to the ancient wars whose scars still shape this universe.

Hinwick, who was 6 years old the matrix first unleashed, resurrection is the outstanding performance she was building in order to follow a remarkable path last year, when she starred in the horror film led by Kristen Stewart. UnderwaterSupported in Sofia Coppola’s Drama on the rocks, and presented tenacious action scenes in a post-apocalyptic adventure love and monsters. in a resurrection, it is almost impossible not to identify with the character of the British-Chinese actress: Bug is the personification of the audience. In the swoon-worthy sci-fi romance that sees Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) find each other again, Bugs talks about the excitement of seeing Wachowski playing at a track the matrix repeatedly.

Speaking with Vulture by Zoom, Henwick discussed the realities of working with Keanu Reeves, her strenuous physical training, and where she rests on the distinction between choice and fate.

What is your first memory of watching? the matrix?
I remember it clearly. I was in Malaysia, was staying at a family friend’s house and heard about it the matrix Many times before, but I’ve never seen him before. I found a copy of it and was too young to watch it, but I put it down and it amazed me. It really imprinted itself in my mind. I had never before thought of the idea of ​​reality and the idea of ​​what we see as constructive.

Much of the film is a series of déjà vus and appeals to earlier films. In what ways did it feel surreal to be in those groups?
I was very pleased that Kayan, with his character, dressed in costume and hair, and doing a voice, came along. It was wild. I can’t imagine what it was like for him. There is a clip that just came out; We’re in the cinema and the original movie is projecting in the background while we have a scene standing in front of it. I remember Keanu staring at the screen and saying, “When was the last time you saw that movie?” He said, “I mean, it must have happened when he came out.” So he was just staring, and I was looking at little Kian and I thought, Holy shit.

That must be very confusing. What directions did Lana give during those kinds of scenes? What are your impressions of her as a director?
In this scene, she was more focused on making sure that exactly the right moments were playing out on the projection. I remember we had to do a lot of times because it just wasn’t in sync with what we said. Either we fell too far or were left behind. I’ve never worked with a director like Lana. It’s very intuitive, and very straightforward. It kind of goes with how you’re feeling on the day. Of course, she’s been living in this world for 30 years, so she knows him better than anyone else. Her attention to detail focuses on the laser.

Bugs are a witch with guns, and she spends much of the film fighting hand-to-hand against clients. Next to Neo, she probably has the most action scenes. How was the physical training for this movie?
It was long. He was sweaty. [Laughs] I got hurt in this movie more than I’ve ever been because of anything else, because we’ve only been aiming to shoot for four or five months – and then with COVID, and all the shutdowns over and over again, on this for 11 months. It’s been a long time doing stunts and I don’t think my body was ready for that. But the most interesting thing is to learn how to handle guns. I’ve never worked with them before. I was kinda afraid of them. It’s really tough when you’re shooting and you’re getting bribed and everything just goes out loud. It’s really hard not to blink. I studied really hard to make sure I didn’t blink, because this is such a free gift that someone doesn’t know how to shoot. And I wanted to feel that Bugs could do it behind her back.

Bugs sees Neo as a hero, the kind of messiah character who needs to return to free more humans from the Matrix. With your two characters spending most of the movie together, what was it like working with Keanu Reeves?
I love him. He’s maintained a fun you wouldn’t always expect from someone who’s been on the job all his life. He comes every day to find himself fresh, ready for action and full of ideas. Sometimes you work with reps who have a lot of experience and just want to do it their way. And Keanu is not. He walked in and said, “Well, how about this?” It feels very refreshing. It’s like a puppy dog.

I am always amazed at the difference in tones between the freedom of reality and the overwhelming oppression of life within the Matrix. For example, Bugs presents herself within the simulation with blue hair, sunglasses, and an all-black chic aesthetic—she’s a lot weirder and more painful there, when in reality she’s a lot more conservative (and more subtle dressed).
Yes, you tried to find the common thread because you don’t want to feel like two different personalities. So I actually tried merging them together a little bit. It’s much darker and heavier in the real world than it is in the Matrix world. What I found cool was with someone like Bugs, her appearance in the real world is very different from her appearance in The Matrix. Her appearance in The Matrix is ​​how she wants to be seen. For me, this was kind of an interesting pick psychologically. Who would want to see this? Why do you want to be seen like this? Why is this a choice?

There is almost a supernatural aspect to being a lifeguard that chooses his appearance and personality.
Think the matrix It was the original modern superhero movie. I don’t think this movement would have happened without her the matrix. It kind of proved that there was a huge audience for those stories, that you could make them great, that you could get access to them by people from all over the world, of all ages. It had such a mainstream success. I think a lot of those superhero movies have a lot of debt on them the matrix.

Bugs and this version of Morpheus are the new blood in the franchise. They share a kind of brother and sister relationship as they track down Neo. How was the filming with Yahya?
Filming with Yahya was great. We read chemistry together and have a mutual friend who’s been working with him go down. So I felt comfortable going to the movie knowing I already had a relationship with him. Which is just cool. He should put his headphones on. He’s in his own space and really comfortable in his own skin.

What are the most memorable scenes for filming?
There’s a scene where Keanu and I are just talking to each other, Bugs and Neo, and I remember that at the end of the day, Keanu came up and shook my hand and said, “You did a really good job today.” I was very nervous about this scene. It was my test scene. But we didn’t actually shoot that scene until one of the last days of my life. So there was 11 months of waiting to do the audition scene again. The anticipation was through the roof. I don’t like waiting that long because then you start thinking about a scene too much. For some people this doesn’t work, but for me it doesn’t. I like this Keanu style, which is to keep it fresh, keep it fun and find it in the moment. But [in this case] There was no way for that to happen.

The decision between living with the truth or lying — the red pill versus the blue pill — was not presented as an option in resurrection. It is more about quantity. Do you believe in choice or fate?
Oh, I think it’s a choice. It is always an option. I mean, I’m Asian. So I grew up with a level of superstition and this kind of relationship with fatalism. But I think we are masters of our universe.

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