Carrie-Anne Moss interview
by Burly Brawlin' Smilin' Jack Ruby
Next up in our marathon coverage, the lovely Carrie-Anne Moss aka Trinity, the ass-kicking, black leather-wearing femme fatale we all wish would come up to us in a bar and begin speaking drunken gibberish that made no sense.
Anyway, Carrie-Anne is quite pregnant at the moment (dispelling all those "she's a virgin" rumors), but happily going and doing press for The Matrix Reloaded and yapping at us press types about the film. The roundtable got spoilery, so this is a bit censored, but whatever. Straight from the top, we asked her about the new romantic elements involved between Trinity and Neo and if that was a challenge of sorts. "It wasn't challenging, it was beautiful," Moss admitted. "I liked that, I liked finding more layers to Trinity and having her change. From the first Matrix, I always thought of her as this warrior who had this secret that had to do with her purpose and with Neo and if he was the One or not. In the second and third one, I got to really have a more softer side of her come out through being in love, because things change when you're in love. I mean, I personally, my whole life changed when I fell in love. So I really had to put that into it."
It was widely reported early on the Carrie-Anne had broken her leg on this one, so we asked just how much harder Reloaded and Revolutions were for her. "It was much harder for me," Moss said. "But I knew what to expect. The first time around, I had no idea. I was very, you know, 'ignorance is bliss.' I just wanted to be in this movie and do what I could. The second one was much harder. It was a lot longer. And I broke my leg right away during training. It was tough. I broke my leg in the beginning of training, so that was six months before we started shooting. So I had 8 weeks where I was really forced to sit out and watch. It was brutal."
What's interesting about The Matrix Reloaded versus The Matrix is that Morpheus isn't the "prophet" he's implied to be in the first movie. In Zion, there are many who think that Morpheus is just a crazy person. So, of course, the question came as to why Trinity so fervently believes in Morpheus and Neo. "I always had an idea about Trinity, about her back story," said Moss. "One thing that I always thought about her was that she was taken out of the Matrix very young, like 11 or 12. And I always thought that her conviction was just very strong. What I love about Morpheus in the second one is that you almost start going, is he crazy? Whereas in the first one, it's just like there's Morpheus and you believe in him. But all of a sudden you go, how does he know what he knows? And so many people are doubting him and other characters are going, the guy's wacky, and you suddenly have this whole different perspective. Whereas for Trinity, I've always believed that she so full-heartedly believes in what she believes in."
The oh-so-elusive Wachowski Brothers were asked about again, particularly in how they were different one film to the next. "Well, they grew," Moss suggested. "They're definitely evolving as human beings, growing and changing just like all of us have changed so much. They're even more committed and even more dedicated. And they also had so much more on their plate. They were setting the tone for the whole thing, so they're responsible for inspiring a big group of people. I don't know if you remember at the end of the movie, all the people that it took to make it? I was just, 'Oh my God, ya know?' And every person, from the set decorators to the set painters to the construction, people were so inspired to work on this film and really cared and really wanted to do it. And why? Because of them." Were they more or less stressed out? "Well, after 270 days of shooting, they were pretty thin!"
As Carrie-Anne was really a B-movie veteran prior to The Matrix and her character has become so iconic - despite roles in such varied projects as Chocolat and Memento - we asked if she was ever worried about being typecast as Trinity. "No, I don't think like that." Moss replied. "I feel a lot of different things about that, but the first thing that comes to mind is I'm just so grateful that I got this job and got to do these movies. It's, like, the highlight of my career. I'm not looking to go bigger and attain something more. This is like, if this is it for me, then thank you God, it was great and I had such a good time. I'm kind of about living my life. I want to be an actor, but it's not the be-all end-all for me. If I play strong, powerful women for the rest of my career, thank you God."
That said, do you ever tire of all the leather? "Yeah, a little bit," Moss admitted sheepishly. "But I got to wear so many different things this time around. But by the end, when I got to take it off, and I knew it was the last time I wore it, although I felt sad. The brothers gave me, as a gift, my jacket and my glasses suspended in this glass thing. It really ought to be in a museum, 'cause I don't know where it would go in my house. Toilet paper on it, I don't know. And it has pictures of, like, all of the journey of her, and you can plug it in and it lights. I didn't want to keep anything when I was finished because it was like I gave everything I had to play her for two years, and I loved it and thanked it, but I was ready to find a new experience."
As you've seen in the trailers and the stills, Trinity has a bad ass motorcycle chase and, YES, that is Carrie-Anne on the bike. "It was really challenging for me and I really didn't know if I would do it until the day that I actually did it," Moss said. "I didn't want to feel pressured. I didn't want to endanger my life and another actor's life based on wanting to please someone. Although I felt responsible to do it, I also knew that, in the end, I had to be really responsible for that. So I trained like crazy to learn how to overcome my fear on the bike."
But, you trained your ass off for it, right? "Months," Moss replied. "I started out on a really little bike, and I worked myself up. My fear being that, if I fell off that bike and I have no helmet, you know? And this actor that I adore on the back . But on the day that I did it, I didn't allow myself to doubt myself for one minute. Whereas like, on the wire and doing other stuff, I have kind of a process that I found that I would do in action sequences, which is where I come in kind of serious, I'd give it and give and then I'd have a bit of a breakdown somewhere. Sometimes I'd need to have that breakdown in order to overcome it. It's like I'd have to go, 'Oh, I can't do this' to "OK, fuck, I can do this!' Whereas on the bike, I was like, Today, Carrie-Anne, you don't get to indulge in any part of our neuroses about who you are as a person and la la la. You are going to be hardcore serious. This is about having a goal. So for that week, and afterwards . . . Sometimes, I drive my car now and I think about it, and I get overwhelmed by it. It was absolutely terrifying for me." Did the Wachowskis pressure you to do it? "They wanted me to do it," Moss admitted. "They let me know, pretty early on, that they expected it of me." But they did tell you that you didn't have to do it, right? "Ummm . . . I wouldn't say that they did," Moss replied in all seriousness. "They really wanted me to do it and it sells the whole thing that I did what I did, and I understand why I needed to do what I did because without it, it wouldn't have worked. You needed to see me on that bike, you needed to have those shots."
Damn. The Wachowskis are pretty hardcore, eh?
Moving away from writer-directors threatening to kill their actors in elaborate stunts, we asked Moss what she thought of the film's philosophy. "I love it and I believe in it strongly," Moss enthused. "I really believe in the philosophies of the movies - having a purpose in life, being aligned with that purpose, being committed to that purpose. Believing in something. Being awake. Choosing to see life how you see life. Being part of a team, supporting other people to be the greatest people that they can be. Supporting other people in having their purpose executed. Love."
Yeah, but fuck all that, what about the big fight scenes you're a part of. "Keanu's fights are just incredible to me," Moss said. "I wish you could all see the extent of his commitment, because you would respect him even more. He is unlike any actor I have ever met; any person I've met, actually. Physically, he just takes himself to the edge. He is willing to do whatever it takes to learn. He is so hardcore with himself and so hard on himself. It took that kind of commitment. He's the One, ya know? I don't think there's any other actor that could have played that character. I know it. And without any kind of movie star bullshit. He's not in it to be hot and strong and aren't-I-cool? There's just none of that. He's there because he loves this character and he loves the brothers and he loves the movie and he really wants to be in them."
Finally, as a follow-up, we asked about why impossibly well-choreographed martial arts were so important to these movies which are, for all intents and purposes, actually really exhaustive fables about the human condition. "Because we made two movies and the expectation was greater," Moss suggested. "It's different, though, now. We've seen so much martial arts in films that it doesn't have quite the impact, I think, that the first film had in terms of that was like the first time that some people ever saw that kind of stuff. But I mean, that brawl with Keanu and all those Hugos? That's unbelievable. Then you incorporate special effects in that, and you just have something that is so incredible."
And that's the lovely Carrie-Anne Moss talking up her role as Trinity in The Matrix Reloaded. Tomorrow, well, shit, I don't know. Maybe it'll be Laurence Fishburne, which would be cool as he was really fun and caustic. Or maybe somebody else. We've got a long way to go, peeps (and yeah, I think both me and the Nick-ster (Nick-son?) are going to review the Animaxtrix DVD so it's ALL MATRIX, ALL THE TIME.
Before, of course, we drop it like a hot potato on May 16th and move on to covering whatever the next one is. Such is liff.
The Matrix Reloaded hits theaters from Warner Brothers on May 15th.