Most actors, when talking about their signature role, usually talk about them in that sort of, “Look, it’s a job and I did that job as best I could and I’m glad people liked it,” kind of way. Which, fine, it makes sense. But deep down we all kind of want the actors playing these characters we love to love them just as much as we do. And then there’s Carrie-Anne Moss, who makes no bones about how much she loved playing Trinity in the original Matrix movies and, now, can’t believe she’s back to play her again in The Matrix Resurrections.
She said, honestly, the thought never crossed her mind that she’d get to play Trinity again (which, since Trinity died in the third movie, that makes sense). To the point that after filming that final scene in The Matrix Revolutions she wound up crying because that’s how much Trinity meant to her. So, ahead, we talk about all that and, honestly, it’s so refreshing to talk to an actor who just loves a character as much as Carrie-Anne Moss loves Trinity.
Especially after the way the third movie ends, did you honestly think that this fourth movie would ever happen?
No. It never crossed my mind, honestly. I was completely shocked. When I heard it was, I didn’t see that coming. I think other people maybe had thought about it? And you hear about there’s going to be a reboot or whatever, but I didn’t ever think I would be a part of it.
It never even crossed your mind? I know how the last one ended, but at the same time, it’s like, how do you make a Matrix movie without you?
It never crossed my mind. Truly never. It never crossed my mind.
So what was the first official contact you had from anyone about this?
Lana texted me. And then we spoke on the phone. And I was completely in shock and thrilled at the thought, but I was like, wow. It almost feels like this gift, you know? I mean, it really did feel like that. Like, oh my God, I get to go back with these incredible artists. I get to rediscover this incredible character 20 years later. I mean, I know I’m explaining that I was shocked, but I’m still shocked.
Well, it is shocking.
Totally. And I remember the last day I shot the third one when Trinity dies, and it was a long day of grief and letting go of her. And I remember Lana and Lilly and me and Keanu, and I was weeping, they were weeping, and it was like I said goodbye to probably the most important character that I’ve ever played. Absolutely the most important character that I’ve ever played for myself and to these people that I had made this with. It was like goodbye.
That was actually shot on the last day of shooting?
That was my last day for me. And I remember walking out of there and thinking, wow. I was ready to move on in terms of the fact that I knew that I wanted to start a family. And I had gotten married before I shot the second and third, and I wanted to have a family really badly. But I knew that I obviously couldn’t do that while I was doing this kind of action and stuff. So I knew that saying goodbye to her meant that I was saying hello to a new phase in my life. But I also just felt… I mean, it was painful to say goodbye. I had the wherewithal and the emotional awareness to appreciate every single day that I worked on those films. I knew that it would come to an end. And I knew that I wanted to fully experience every single day, meaning the first Matrix I wasn’t married and I wasn’t in a relationship, so I would show up every day on set even if I wasn’t working.
I wanted to see. I wanted to see Laurence fight. I wanted to see Keanu fight and Hugo fight. I wanted to see those scenes that I’d read. I wanted to see what was going to happen. Maybe I didn’t go every day, but I went a lot, you know? Today I can’t do that. I have a whole family and it’s like, right?
A lot of actors are like, “Well, it was a job, and I think I did my job pretty well but I went onto something else.” It’s nice to hear how much that character means to you and it makes sense you would be emotional.
Right. I did an interview earlier and she was asking me about what it’s like to watch my movies and if I had went back and watched those three movies. And it’s like, I’m amazed at what the movies are about, and I’m always interested in delving deeper, but every scene has a story that was happening in my real life. And not that I think that on every scene, but big things, right?
You go, oh my God. I remember that day. I was going through that thing or whatever. And so that’s what’s so interesting. It’s almost like looking at a photo album of my life, especially these Matrix movies. I was growing so rapidly because of the challenges that the movie was asking me to do, which I just loved. All those physical challenges. And being amongst those just incredible humans that are all just these artists. And I was just growing so quickly. The acceleration of my personal growth is just like rapid fire. And so when I see those movies, I see them as this trilogy. And then I also see the backdrop of Carrie-Anne and what I was going through. And it’s so interesting to go back.
It’s funny, you mentioned ending the third one and then having a family. At what points do you tell your kids like, “Hey, by the way, there is a large group of people out there who think I’m one of the coolest actors.”
I’ve never said that.
Well, I know. But you know that there’s some truth to that so how do you explain, “Before you were born I played this character who is extremely popular”?
I don’t know. I don’t have a relationship really to that concept. I’m always super moved when somebody tells me that the movies affected their lives or that Trinity affected them. And I’m in awe of that. When I was a little girl and I wanted to be an actor, it was because I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to be a part of storytelling. I wanted to impact people in the way that I felt impacted. And so to actually get reflected back to me in moments by other people that they had that impact, it’s quite moving for me. But I don’t think about it much, so it’s not my reality. And so with my kids, I don’t really remember. I think I really had made this decision that I want to protect them from the business because they didn’t choose it and we didn’t talk about it. They didn’t know. I don’t even really know that they knew what I did at all. People would come up to me and say, “Are you Trinity from The Matrix?” And they didn’t know what they were talking about, you know?
How do you explain that to them? People coming up to you in public. I guess that’s what I was more wondering about.
I do remember one moment somebody asking me if I was Carrie-Anne Moss, and I think I was just like, baby in arms, trying to get from point A to point B, and I wasn’t really in the mood. I wasn’t unkind, but I was just doing something that really needed my attention. And when I’m with my family, it’s all about them, you know?
Oh of course.
When my children were little, I didn’t sign autographs if they were with me or anything like that. I just didn’t. I thought that was going to be so weird for them. So I just knew. I had my lines in the sand that I had made for myself. And I just, I said, “Oh, no,” like that. And when we got in the car, it was like, “You lied! Mom, you lied! Why did you lie?” You know what I mean? And as somebody who was talking about truth all the time? And I just looked at them and I said, “Sometimes you guys, I just don’t have it in me.”
So you told this person, “No, I am not. You are mistaken.”
Yeah, the person wasn’t sure. I get all the time, “You look like the girl from The Matrix.” I get that a lot. And I go, “Oh, okay. Yeah.” I think the first conversation that I had with my children I think was with my boys. I don’t even think my daughter was born yet. Was that, sometimes, in the work that I do, sometimes people think that people who do what I do are special. And I said, “But we know that everybody’s the same. We all have the same blood running through our bodies. We all have a heart. We all have our lives. But sometimes we may be around someone who thinks that because I’m an actress or that I was in this movie that I’m, you know.” And I think that sort of was the first time we ever talked about it. I can remember that conversation in the car. Children, this is what I always thought about when I think about my family growing up as a kid. When you’re a kid, you’re front and center in your life, right? In your mind, right? And your parents are everything to you, but they’re in the background. But if you’re the child of an actor, it’s very easy to have your parent just take this space that I never wanted that for my kids.
That makes sense.
And I think my children, maybe right now with the movie coming out, maybe it’s going to shift and change a little bit, but I would say that I don’t think that they experienced life thinking that their mother was someone special.
What were you thinking while you were filming the first one? Or maybe even finished filming the first one, but it hadn’t come out yet? Were you thinking this is going to be a hit?
I remember The Phantom Menace was the movie everyone was looking forward to. And then this comes out a couple of months before and just changes everything.
I wasn’t expecting anything. I’ve also made my mental framework that I don’t expect anything from anything in this business because you have no control. You never know. And so that’s really served me really well. And it’s been pretty easy for me to do that. I remember with the first Matrix, I was with some friends on a trip and a few of the people were in the business and knew there was some phone number you called and you got all the box office whatever.
Oh, right. I remember that.
I don’t even know! I don’t even know. Okay, I have no idea. I still don’t. You know what I mean? And so somebody in the group told me, “Holy crap. The Matrix is killing it!” And I’m like, “What does that mean?” I know it’s show business, but I’ve never really understood the business part so much. I’m always professional and all that, but I had no idea. Nobody was calling me and telling me.
A couple of weeks ago it came out Charlie Cox is now part of the MCU and people are hoping that means a lot of other characters who were on the Netflix Marvel shows might be, too. Do you want to keep playing Jeri? People enjoyed you on those shows.
Yeah, I loved playing her. That was really a fun role to play. I didn’t know that information! So thank you. See, I have to get my information through people like you. So that’s exciting. Oh, how great. He’s such a lovely person. Well, that would be cool. I don’t have any expectations. Again, expectation is just the food of disappointment! But, cool. That’s cool.
‘Matrix Resurrections’ opens via theaters and HBO Max on December 22nd. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.