Matrix 4: Jonathan Groff on how he went about playing his Agent Smith-like character

Jonathan Groff in The Matrix 4
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Matrix Resurrections is something of a mind-melter. The trailers have already shown how the fourth installment in the franchise has a hugely meta outlook, with shots recreated from the first Matrix. And, weirdly, there are characters returning played by all-new actors, while others are returning cast members.

For instance, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back as Neo and Trinity, despite dying in The Matrix Revolutions. Jada Pinket Smith returns as Niobe, though a much older version. Morpheus is back but played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. And even Agent Smith returns, kinda, with Jonathan Groff as a character very much akin to Hugo Weaving's iconic agent. While interviewing the cast of The Matrix Resurrections, Total Film and GamesRadar+ spoke to Groff – best known for his lead role in Mindhunter – about playing Agent Smith. 

"[Director] Lana [Washowski] was interested in the new programming of certain characters," he says. "And so, as far as giving nods or winks or references to things that had happened previously, I allowed her to drive the car and would be ready and willing to do anything she asked for at any moment. So, the process for me was making something my own and trusting her to mold and shift it as it went along. 

"It was such a thrilling process. Lana used to really into everything being exact and pre-planned. She about 20 years ago and it was like a comic book. And this was very in the moment, you come to set ready for it to go any which way. The articulation of the choices being made by the character was a combination of what was written on the page and what had been planned. If it was a fight, then there was fight choreography, and then the magic of things sparking in the moment. She would sometimes say, like, 'Go over here, no, actually go over here!' She was thinking a lot on the spot. And it was a real thrill ride, the whole thing."

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.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.