“The Matrix: Resurrections” Star Jessica Henwick on Leveling Up to Spar With Neo
We are just a month and change away from swallowing the red pill and seeing Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix: Resurrections. As we near the premiere date, some of the film’s stars are starting to talk about their experiences making the movie. Granted, no one is spilling any beans (or blue and red pills, as it were), but for newcomers to the franchise like Jessica Henwick, getting to take part in Wachowski’s iconic sci-fi series was an intense experience. Not only was leveling up to The Matrix‘s caliber of fight choreography a challenge—to say nothing of doing it with Neo himself, Keanu Reeves—but so, too, was the sudden three-month break in filming due to the pandemic.
Henwick plays Bugs, a new character with a very familiar tattoo—a white rabbit—the very same tat that once lured Neo (Keanu Reeves) into his original quest in the very first film. Henwick is one of the film’s new faces, alongside Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Christina Ricci, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. They’re all joining Reeves and fellow franchise veterans Carrie-Anne Moss and Jada Pinkett Smith. For Henwick, no stranger to epic productions having worked on Game of Thrones (she played Nymeria Sand, one of the Sand Snakes) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (as X-wing pilot Jessika Pava), the action sequences and shooting style of The Matrix: Resurrections was next level.
Speaking to Collider about her new anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus, Henwick dished on her experiences entering the world of The Matrix:
“That’s somewhere I felt pressure because those fights are so seminal [to The Matrix]. Those moments from the original have stayed in my head, so many of those fight beats, [so] that was really where I was intimidated going into it. I knew I had to be performing up here. You’re performing with Keanu. It’s John Wick. He knows what he’s doing. You can’t hold him back, in any way. I had to give it my all. I devoted myself to it. We trained pretty hard in the run-up and we kept training all the way through filming. When we were shut down for COVID and we went off three months, I still was at home training every day, even though we didn’t know if we were going back. When we got shut down for COVID, Lana said, ‘Well, maybe that’s it. Maybe we won’t come back and film the rest of it. Maybe the new Matrix will go down as this legendary film which is incomplete, and no one will ever be able to see it. Maybe that’s what this is meant to be.’ And we were all going, ‘No, you have to finish the film.’ But she really did toy with the idea of just calling it quits…For me, even though I didn’t know whether we would come back, I couldn’t think about that, and so I trained throughout the entire break because I just had to focus. I just had to be positive and go, ‘No, we’re gonna go finish the film. We have to. This can’t be how my Matrix journey ends.'”
We know that they did come back and finish filming and that Henwick’s Matrix journey will continue to the film’s premiere date. The Matrix: Resurrections hits theaters and HBO Max on December 22.
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Featured image: Caption: KEANU REEVES as Neo/Thomas Anderson in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and Venus Castina Productions’ “THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures