Everyone has a lot of questions about The Matrix Resurrections. How are Neo and Trinity back? Why is Morpheus different? And why has Niobe, played by a returning Jada Pinkett-Smith, aged so much?
Smith's character's new look was revealed in a recent trailer and has had everyone wondering why she has aged when Neo and Trinity have not. Speaking to the actor alongside co-star and series newcomer Priyanka Chopra, we asked about her Smith's return as Niobe and how long it took to get into make-up every day. Below, find our Q&A, edited for length and clarity.
When you first read the script, what was the most interesting aspect? Was it where your character had gone, or something else, like the developed relationship between man and machine?
Smith: It's so layered, but definitely, man versus machine has been on me heavy. [Laughs] The ideas in the movie in regards to that theme are deep, and so that was definitely a big draw for me, but also that the birthing of this particular journey of the Matrix was very personal to [director] Lana [Washowski]. That also was a big part of why I wanted to participate.
Jada, you're wearing a lot of prosthetics in this movie. What's the prep time and how was acting in that?
Smith: It was quite an experience, it took about five hours each day to have it put on, and then, to have to sit in it all day was something else. It's just like, "Oh my goodness!" But what I loved about it was that it gave me an opportunity to really immerse myself into another version of Niobe. Not to give too much away, but a woman in that stage of her life, who is still in the position that she's in, it's pretty awesome, it's pretty dope. You don't see that a lot.
Priyanka, you play a character we've actually met before, in the third Matrix movie. There, she was a young girl. What was it like stepping into a franchise of this size, into a part that has so much speculation around it? Was it daunting or was that all part of the fun?
Chopra: It wasn't daunting to me, because I'm not doing any heavy lifting. [Laughs] I've been invited to this amazing party, and I get to participate with the coolest cats in town and be a part of this movie that has been iconic. Just to be able to watch each one of these cast members do what they do and to be able to work with almost every one of them – to hear from Lana herself what the Matrix means to her, because she's probably the only one in the world who can actually tell you that. To be able to just be on set, and be able to play, was really an honour for me.
For both of you, what do you think you will take away as your most treasured Matrix memory?
Smith: Man. I think the most treasured moment for me is the fact that I was able to participate in the film as a whole, to be a part of the Matrix journey. And to be part of such a revolutionary project. That for me is everything.
Chopra: I flew down from India to meet Lana in San Francisco. And I walked into the room and she and [producer] James [McTeigue] were sitting there and they were talking to me about the movie, my part, and we spoke for about half an hour, and she just looked at me and she had her assistant bring out this freshly printed copy of the script. There's something about getting a freshly printed copy of the script and you're like, "Duh duh duh duuuh!" It was really ceremonial. And I walked out with it like, "oh my gosh, I need to go put this in a safe!"
The Matrix Resurrections is in cinemas from December 22. The sequel is also available on HBO Max in the US from the same date. For more, check out our guide to the best sci-fi movies of all time.