Spoilers for The Matrix Resurrections below.
Carrie-Ann Moss is widely known as the clone-slaying, bullet-dodging character of Trinity in the Matrix franchise. However, in real life, the actress is less high-tech and more serene. Keeping to the motto “simple and sincere,” Moss feels most alive in nature and doesn’t even have an Instagram.
Prior to the launch of the highly-anticipated The Matrix Resurrections—the fourth installment in the acclaimed sci-fi franchise, arriving 18 years after the original trilogy—Moss spoke with ELLE.com about reuniting with Keanu Reeves for the film, training for action scenes, and the importance of being present.
Moss unplugs from the matrix of our busy modern-day society, through the practice of yoga and meditation. Our conversation reminded me that moments of darkness are natural, that we should all treat ourselves with a bit more grace, and how reprogramming our thoughts can lead to true freedom.
How was your approach to Trinity this time different than it was 20-plus years ago? How was it the same?
There’s something quite unique about doing a Matrix film. We’re really bringing the past into the present. It’s 20 years later for the characters of Neo and Trinity. It’s 20 years later for the world of The Matrix. It’s 20 years later for me and Keanu. We have so much more life experience.
I did a lot of work on Trinity. It wasn’t until we started fitting the character that I really grasped who she has become. We did a lot of training, which helped me to ground myself into the character and realize who she is now.
Even with all the preparation, in each moment between action and cut, I let all of that go. I would just be present. The biggest challenge today is to stay present. So, that was fun to practice.
It’s really unique to work with Lana [Wachowski, the director] because I trust her so much. Lana is the most visionary filmmaker and artist. She is a master worldbuilder. I trust her vision. I felt this way in the first three movies, too: I wanted to serve her vision.
In this new era of the Metaverse and NFTs, what role do you imagine technology plays in society in the future when the Matrix takes place?
In this highly technological world, the constant question we have to be asking ourselves is, “What does it mean to be human?” For every person, the answer is going to be different. But for me, it’s a question of, how do I ground my humanity while everything around me is becoming so high-tech?
The answer for me is to be in nature. Nature shows us everything. It’s so beautiful, soothing, and fierce. I live in the North East where there are big, beautiful trees whose leaves turn this incredible color. Then, they just die. Their leaves fall to the ground and become covered in snow and darkness. But there’s a seed planted in that ground that will grow again come springtime.
If only we could give ourselves that same grace. If only we’d understand that we will go through those dark nights of the soul. Life can’t just be shiny all the time. We think life has to be shiny, shiny, shiny. We’re only showing up when things are great and talking about things when they’re great. But there’s a journey that has to unfold.
In the movie you kick, you flip, and you even fly. Can you walk us through the process of training for such high-action scenes?
I learned these moves physically, but I also had to go through the mental preparation for them. For instance, when Keanu and I took that leap at the end of the movie, there was a long period of training for that.
Every day we would train on different heights. We’d get higher and higher and higher, and get more comfortable on the wire. I did a lot of what I call “mind training”, where I was training my mind.
See, I’m not comfortable with heights at all. So I spent a lot of time in my hotel room in the dark with a candle lit just visualizing myself taking that leap. To the point where I was almost in an altered reality. I was mentally training to be capable of doing that. I value breaking free of the limitations in my mind. This was a massive limitation that I overcame.
You and Keanu Reeves are quite the iconic pair. What was it like working together again after all these years?
Working with Keanu again was really the highlight for me. That, and working with Lana. We’re like a little trio. I genuinely care about Keanu and respect him. I have such a fondness for him.
We’ve been through this journey together already, so to come back and do it again 20 years later was magical. From the first day we reunited on set, it was like no time had passed. It was very special to be working with him.
How did you film your character emerging from the Matrix?
That was the most challenging aspect of making the film for me. We were submerged in this warm goo. We had to be weighted down to stay in those tubs. Plus, I had a breathing tube in my mouth and I was fully naked. So, it was very vulnerable and very hard.
When Keanu and I leaped off that building, it was also challenging but ultimately fun to overcome. It was especially hard to do day after day after day submerged in that goo. Really hard. I am also a little claustrophobic, so I had to get through that.
At the end of the day, I was surrounded by people who want me to be able to overcome my limitations. They care so much. You can really feel their support. When I was practicing [emerging from the Matrix] for the first time I was like, “I have to get out of here!” But they were like, “No pressure, let’s take our time, let’s go slow. If at any time you have to get out, put your hand up, and up you come!” It was a team effort.
Even jumping off of the building with Keanu, I have a great picture of all the people it took to accomplish that. There was such an excitement that all of them had. It was electric the day that we did that. It meant so much to all of us.
One of my favorite quotes from the film was, “We can’t escape our programming.” What programming from your own upbringing have you had to override to get where you are now?
A lot. I think any human on this earth is overcoming different bits of programming. Often we don’t even know we are being programmed. Sometimes you feel like you have broken free of the matrix, and then you get stuck in another matrix. In the movie, we talk about the matrix being a technological system. Yet, individually we all have matrixes that are just in our minds.
I’ve studied a lot of different concepts from yoga, to meditation, to psychology. I learned that between the ages of zero to seven, our brains are completely open to being programmed. In our first seven years of life, we are being imprinted over and over again. That subconscious mind continues to rule our lives in adulthood, and we don’t even know it.
For the last 30 years, I’ve been interested in unraveling the stories we have, those voices in our minds. I remember being in kindergarten or the first grade. I was so proud to read out loud to my class. When I read out loud, the teacher chastised me saying, “You must have memorized that!” I was only six at the time but I remember being ashamed, like I did something wrong.
That’s just one example, but we all have millions of those. Someone said something to us that stuck, and we could be acting it out now. Often we don’t even know it’s there. Life offers these opportunities all the time. When we feel inflamed by something someone said we think it’s the thing that’s happening at the moment. But if you unravel it you go, “Oh yeah that reminds me of how I felt when that teacher told me that I wasn’t telling the truth!”
It’s all very fascinating and is what makes life interesting, and I love that! Because you can always overcome, redirect, or empower yourself from that glitch you have in you. We always have the potential to grow.
You are a creator of Annapurna Living, a place for women to “take charge of their own experiences of reality.” What have you learned in the process of helping women empower and transform their lives?
It’s been such a labor of love for me. The core philosophy is that no one has it figured out. No one is walking around having completely figured out life. Everyone is struggling. Everyone has their own individual struggles. We tend to have this projection of perfectionism as a culture, especially on women. But we can be empowered to say, “I don’t want to do that. I don’t need that. I’m not playing in that arena.”
I love sharing that with other women. Especially with women who don’t have the time, or don’t have access to a cool yoga class in LA or NYC. Women who are busy and may have children. We demystify the entire experience of spirituality to know that it really is just between you and you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to have any perfection. It’s your experience.
What has your journey as an actress taught you about yourself and about life?
Everything. Because, whatever you do, there you are, right? Part of why I think I have a strong spiritual practice is because having a career in Hollywood is stressful. There’s so much rejection, you don’t have any control over things. It’s not easy. So I had to find a way to navigate it without losing myself.
That’s why I have delved so deeply into my spiritual practice. It’s really supported me throughout my career. Meditation has helped me know I can close my eyes, breathe, and let everything go. I can connect to a stillness that’s inside of me. Once you touch that stillness, you’re changed. You can access it at any time.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io