‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Reveals His Very Personal Morpheus Audition Process

The Matrix Resurrections brings back familiar sci-fi franchise IP and characters. However, some of the film’s most iconic characters are replaced with different actors. As a result, writer/director Lana Wachowski held an audition process for these roles. Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II recently recalled his audition for The Matrix Resurrections Morpheus role. It was surprisingly more personal and intimate than one would imagine.

Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus recast to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in ‘The Matrix Resurrections’

'The Matrix Resurrections' actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II with dress shirt in front of AFI logo
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

1999’s The Matrix introduces Morpheus played by Laurence Fishburne. The name comes from the Greek mythological god of dreams. This notion fits in line with the movie’s commentary on reality. The Matrix Resurrections‘ Abdul-Mateen and the original iteration both offer Neo (Keanu Reeves) a red and a blue pill to decide if he would like to wake up in the true reality.

Audiences may recognize Abdul-Mateen from a few other big roles, including W.D. Wheeler in The Greatest Showman and Black Manta in Aquaman. However, he also starred as Russel Thomas in Us, Bobby Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Anthony McCoy in Candyman. Abdul-Mateen has a bright future ahead of him past The Matrix Resurrections.

Morpheus auditon process was very personal with Lana Wachowski

Collider interviewed Abdul-Mateen about his role in The Matrix Resurrections. He gave an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at what went into bringing Morpheus to life in this new iteration. Abdul-Mateen recalled the Matrix audition with Wachowski for The Matrix Resurrections, which is much more personal than one would imagine for a big Hollywood blockbuster project.

“Especially for a movie like this that takes so much attention to filmmaking detail and to story, storyboarding into laugh and action,” Abdul-Mateen said. “So, obviously the movie was a top priority, but the spirit the movie was made in … It was almost as if the film was a byproduct of the experience that we were having.”

Abdul-Mateen continued: “I probably spent an hour and a half talking about my past, my relationships, and friendships, family. Maybe 25 minutes on my feet acting. We sort of came to mutual decisions with that type of process.”

The Morpheus actor brought up this intimate setting a couple of times during his interview with Collider. Abdul-Mateen talked about The Matrix Resurrections in a secondary manner that put personal experience over the typical Hollywood filmmaking process.

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ is dividing

The Matrix Resurrections is a sequel unlike any prior installment in the franchise. Wachowski’s newest sci-fi movie seeks to make sense of the series within a more modern understanding combined with a love story between Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Some critics and audiences praise it for taking creative swings with strong performances. However, others criticize the movie’s self-awareness and flat action sequences.

The Matrix Resurrections hits theaters and HBO Max day-and-date on Dec. 22. This is the final title that Warner Bros. is confirmed to give the day-and-date option, with future titles likely going exclusively to movie theaters.

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