Keanu Reeves Discusses the ‘Novelty’ of Reprising Neo for ‘The Matrix’

Keanu Reeves is one of the world’s biggest action stars, a man who is known for his gentle, open nature as much as his tendency to choose fan-favorite roles. These days, in the midst of a major career resurgence, Reeves is earning more fans than ever before.

Furthermore, with the actor set to reprise one of his biggest roles of all time, many people are taking to the internet to discuss what they can expect when the fourth installment of the Matrix franchise hits the big screen. In the summer of 2020, Reeves himself opened up about what it has been like for him to step back into Neo’s iconic shoes. 

Keanu Reeves became famous for his role in ‘The Matrix’

In 1999, Reeves was already an established Hollywood star. He had appeared in high-profile movies like Speed and The Devil’s Advocate — however, that was the year that he became a massive superstar, when the first film in The Matrix franchise was released. As the cybercriminal and computer programmer Neo, Reeves earned major critical acclaim, even from those who had spoken negatively about his acting talents in prior years.

Reeves went on to reprise the role of Neo in the two films that followed, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. He has remained closely associated with the franchise, and to many, the character of Neo is one of the greatest film characters of all time. With a highly-anticipated fourth film set for release in late 2021, viewers are thrilled to once again see Reeves in the role that helped boost his career to incredible heights. 

What did Keanu Reeves say about reprising the role of Neo?

Keanu Reeves poses at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards
Keanu Reeves | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In an August 2020 report from Interview Magazine, Keanu Reeves gave his thoughts on reprising the role of Neo. When asked how different it felt to play a character like Neo as compared to a character like Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Reeves said “I would say there are more similarities than differences in the sense that you’re taking who the character was in their history and internalizing it to where they are now. It’s kind of traditional work in that sense. In terms of how it felt, I would say that there was a novelty to it, because I haven’t really had a chance to do that. The only way you could feel that was to have the circumstance of doing it… So it’s pretty extraordinary.”

Reeves said that it felt “odd” on occasion, to transform into the character of Neo, stating “We wake up as who we are, but there’s so much that we’ve lived in the past and that continuity of self. And in this one, you just don’t do that every day. So then it’s almost like, ‘So if you woke up and you were 20 years older, what do you think you would do?; You’re actually doing that. You’re waking up 20 or 30 years later, playing that person, and they missed that whole other thing. So, it’s kind of cool.”

What do fans know about the fourth ‘Matrix’ film?

Very little information has been released about the upcoming Matrix film, the first in the franchise since 2003. No details on the plot have yet been released, with several key cast members claiming that the production has been kept intimate in order to maintain secrecy and to create a more interesting, dynamic film experience. 

The cast is star-studded, and in addition to Reeves, actors like Christina Ricci, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra, and Jessica Henwick are set to appear. Returning to the franchise are original stars Jada Pinkett Smith and Carrie-Anne Moss, according to IMDb. While a great deal of the film remains under wraps, Reeves himself has opened up several times over the past year about the movie, and how he feels about playing Neo once again. 

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