Keanu Reeves on ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ and what he didn’t think he would be doing at 57 for the film
by Marriska Fernandes
It’s been 18 years since the release of the last Matrix film, “The Matrix Revolutions.” Canadian actor Keanu Reeves, now 57, returns to resurrect his onscreen character Neo/Thomas Anderson in “The Matrix Resurrections,” the long-awaited fourth film in the hit franchise that began with “The Matrix” in 1999.
Those movies redefined a genre.
The new film follows Anderson, who faces the option of returning to a world of two realities: one everyday life; the other what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a construct, he must choose to follow the white rabbit once again.
Reprising her role as Trinity is Canadian actress Carrie-Anne Moss, who stars alongside new additions Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Christina Ricci.
When it comes to action franchises, Neo and Trinity have long been hailed the it couple. In “The Matrix Resurrections,” it is humour, heart and humanity that drive the narrative, with an endearing love story brought back to life with Neo and Trinity.
In Toronto for the Canadian premiere last week, Reeves spoke about his long-standing friendship with Moss in an interview.
“It was really lovely. I think people can relate to the idea of having a dear friend and not seeing them for a long time and then coming back to reconnect. It’s like you never left. That’s what we had. It was really easy, comfortable to reconnect, and roll up the sleeves and go to work.”
There’s a reunion scene at a coffee shop where Thomas sees Trinity. It’s an emotional moment for both actors and viewers. The chemistry is powerful and palpable.
Speaking about that moving moment, Reeves said: “I was certainly welling up with emotion with the scene in ‘Resurrections’ where Thomas Anderson and Trinity are having a cup of coffee and as she walks away … without giving too much away, but seeing Trinity leave and walk out the door was very emotional.”
Reeves, who was born in Beirut and raised in Toronto, has been in the acting business for more than three decades and is known to be the hardest working actor in Hollywood. He said he was thrilled to get the call from co-writer and director Lana Wachowski to make another “Matrix” movie.
It’s been 22 years since Reeves played the very physical role of Neo in the first film. Was there anything he didn’t think he’d be doing in the new one at 57? He grinned at the question.
“Leaping off a building.” For a breathtaking action scene in the film, the actor actually jumps off a 43-storey building, 170 metres high, alongside Moss.
“I was not expecting to be doing that. It was in the script. I had the assumption that we would do it with computer-generated images and support. But Lana really wanted to make it real. I mean, we were connected with wires obviously. We can’t fly. But yeah, it was thrilling.”
Reeves has long been known for his role in “The Matrix.” If every character is a little bit of the actor who plays them, how much of Keanu is in this resurrected version of Anderson/Neo? Reeves paused to reflect. “I would say the question, ‘What is the matrix? What’s the truth?’ I would say that’s very close to me. I really enjoy that part of the character of Thomas Anderson/Neo. I feel like Thomas Anderson is the one who has the question and the feeling, and Neo is the one that starts to kind of activate ‘What can happen? How can you find the answers? How can you make the connections? How can you help?’ So it’s cool to have those two sides with the character.”
In the new narrative, the characters grapple with themes of reality while reflecting on the question of “What is real?” Reeves, too, has immersed himself in themes of reality and technology, and finds hope in it.
“I think of the ‘Matrix’ films as tools. They’re entertaining, there’s action; ‘Resurrections’ is funny. I find them as cautionary tales, like this can be the consequences of our technology in our interactions with machines and with each other. And I find them hopeful.
“In ‘The Matrix Resurrections,’ Lana has explored artificial intelligence and programs becoming sentient and existing in the real world. There’s commentary about the kind of blending of technology and humanity, how we interact. I feel like it gives us ways of seeing into our own lives, to question constructs of control, inspiration to how we want to be, who we want to be, how we want to interact.
“And I think one of the messages of the films is that love is key.”