While Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are returning to their Matrix roles as Neo and Trinity for Resurrections, the rest of the cast is filled out with mostly newcomers to the film franchise. Among the new talent is Aquaman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who took on a new version of the iconic Morpheus character (before heading back to work as Black Manta in the Aquaman sequel). Abdul-Mateen II has been on a most impressive career trajectory in recent years, with roles including Candyman, Black Mirror, and the upcoming Ambulance (among many others). Still, despite plenty of work in recent years, working on The Matrix Resurrections made Abdul-Mateen II feel like a "beginner" again.
"Funny story; I tried to come in and knowing that we were going in a different direction and that Morpheus kind of wanted to have this rock star type of look and vibe," Abdul-Mateen II told ComicBook.com. "I came in with my idea, the line I pitched. I said, 'Okay, I got it. So Morpheus, he's going to have this short haircut and he's going to dye his hair red, and then we're going to do these really cool designs and these parts and things like that.' And Lana's like, 'Hmm, okay. Let's just go bald.' I'm like, 'Golly, that's just the opposite of red with parts in the fade and things like that.' So, but yes, it was collaborative. It was semi-collaborative. I'm going to be honest. It was semi-collaborative. I didn't have any control over the designs, but once I got it on, I got to style it and put the personality on and things."
It was a quick process, getting acclimated to a Matrix film. Sadly for Abdul-Mateen II, Matrix veteran Reeves admits he didn't have very much specific advice for the newcomers. "I'm not great with advice. So I just wanted to be supportive and available and open and just say, 'Thank you for being here. And let's make a film and let's have fun doing it and do the best we can.' Yeah," Reeves said.
Abdul-Mateen II is stepping into a role named after a character which was brought to life originally by Laurence Fishburne. The new actor seems to have earned Reeves' approval in the part. "I spoke to Laurence [Fishburne] a bit," Reeves said. "Yeah. I think Yahya did an amazing version and his own Morpheus, and I think how Lana Wachowski wrote the role and what it can mean inside of it, just a sentient program. Anyway, I don't want to give too much away. But I think it's a very interesting, and in the film, delightful evolution of the story."
On the set, Abdul-Mateen II remembers the moment which instantly separated The Matrix Resurrections from anything he had experienced prior. "It was one of the first days filming in San Francisco and I mean, this movie kind of, it could really make you feel like a beginner all over again," he said. "I'm on the roof in San Francisco and Lana says, 'Action.' And I come out and I do my movement and all of a sudden there's a helicopter that comes up and reveals itself and it's 15 feet away and you can't hear anything and it's a helicopter. Oh man, it was just madness. And I'm way on top of the roof in San Francisco and I said, 'Okay, I guess this is what it means to be in the Matrix.' It was just mind blowing and really surreal at times, the things that we were asked to do."