Almost 18 years after the last connection of the Wachowski sisters The matrix, their reality-turning world returns to the big screen with the highly anticipated 2021 Matrix resurrections – and, despite their apparent death in Matrix revolutions, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are back. The exact manner in which their miraculous resurrections occur is something best left to the Warner Bros. film, billed as a “meta-love story” by critics, to be revealed in its time with the characteristic flair of director Lana Wachowski. However, franchise fans can certainly count on the latest Matrix film to continue its legacy of genre-defining action sequences and revealing fight choreography.
In anticipation of Matrix resurrections‘, CBR spoke with martial artist and actress Ellen Hollman (Love and monsters, Spartacus war of the damned) about his secret role in the action movie. Although her role is being kept a secret, Hollman was more than happy to share the incredible experience working with the Wachowskis and what it was like to appear in one of the most memorable action films of this decade. .
CBR: Matrix resurrections is easily one of the most anticipated action films of this decade. You have a role in the movie, so I’d like to know what thought went through your mind when you first received and read the script?
I have to admit it was surreal. It’s one of those experiences in your life that feels so good to you. You feel like you’ve been through this moment 1000 times, but it doesn’t fully soak up even when you’re sitting at the table reading or rehearsing countless hours of choreography, or when Lana is hugging you in. his arms for the fifth time that day. It was something that felt so good to me like I was meant to be there. Everyone gave him 1000% of their efforts. There was equal enthusiasm across the board for this incredible opportunity.
I’m sure you can’t say much about your role in the movie, but can you give a hint as to what you bring to the world of? The matrix?
We can’t say much about it. However, a new trailer has been released … titled “Deja Vu”. It essentially affects many matrices, many realities. How many Neos are there? How many of you are there? How many of me are there? So, for the discerning eye, you will be able to do your due diligence. However, I am not yet in a position to say anything in particular.
Oh, I love that the trailers have so many clues that make you want to go back The matrix to solve it. It’s kind of the subject of the whole series.
This is also what Lana is. The trailers are super sneaky, like if you blink you’ll miss a huge clue. So they are designed to be watched over and over again and you will get something different out of them. This is interesting because I will have so many of these Easter eggs sent by friends all over the world. They’re like, “Oh my God, we just saw that part and that part.” Like, I haven’t even seen that. How did you get it? I had one recently where someone sent me a screenshot. They’re like, “Is that you ?!” I’m like, “Yes, you got it.” So that’s what’s funny about it, though. It’s just very similar to the original episode of this franchise, the original Matrix. It makes you think.
As someone who is also a martial artist and often does their own stunts, I would love to hear what it was like to work with the fight choreographer on this topic.
So we actually had my husband, Stephen Dunlevy, as one of the stunt coordinators, then we also had a supervising stunt coordinator, Scott Rogers, and then we had Jonathan Eusebio, who is one of the coordinators and a choreographer. incredible. So there were a lot of hands in this pot given its epic scale. The stunt team behind Matrix 4 is 8711 Action Design.
8711 is basically my extended family. My husband has been a part of this stunt team for years and years. At its head is David Leitch, who directed dead Pool and Atomic Blond, as well as Chad Stahelski, who directed the ensemble John wick franchise. Chad has six black belts in many mixed martial arts and happens to be my mentor in jujitsu and a little fun – speaking of Easter eggs – a fun little nugget here is that Chad Stahelski originally voiced Keanu Reeves in the original The matrix. He went on to dub it and over the years has grown into a fight choreographer, stunt coordinator, second unit director, and now he’s one of the entertainment industry’s top and most prominent directors. .
Being able to train alongside Chad and his team for years and years – just because I’m into the action genre; Plus, I love to fight with boys and girls, of course – that’s how I was able to keep the tools sharp. Chad, who also has credit in this film, Lana Wachowski was his mentor. That’s how it’s just a big family. He basically put a nice word to me saying, “I know what she can do.” He trained me in judo and jiu-jitsu for years.
So Lana wanted to hire someone who was either a stuntman who was also an actress, or an actress who could also do the acting. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the last aspect of this. I will never take credit for being a stuntman because I am not. They are amazing individuals who work hard to get to where they are. So yes, it is very precise. No, I am not a stuntman. However, I am a mixed martial and an actress. So given those credentials, I was able to perform what Lana wanted me to do, which was hands down the most physically demanding role I’ve ever had in my life.
Build from this, The matrix The series is really known for its special effects and practical effects. I’m curious how many green screens have been used on set and whether they made it more or less demanding to act? I’ve heard some actors find them isolated, while others like the freedom to imagine a world around them.
Great question. On the contrary, this film offers an authentic new interpretation of the matrix. Lana wanted everything to be as convenient as possible. What do I mean by that? This means that when you run on top of a rooftop 40 stories above the ground, chased by SWAT helicopters, it actually happens.
Oh good? So you don’t run on a small platform and jump on a mat?
Truly. They actually do. You can see it on Reddit – so I’m not revealing anything that I’m going to be in trouble for – you can see two people jump out of a 50-story building in San Francisco and then be pulled upwards multiple times. It really happened. So, without revealing the scene in particular, there is a moment that I believe will be one of the most memorable and iconic moments in movie history – given the physical hurdles that were required to make it happen. and come to fruition. You have two people jumping from a building at sunrise and there is no green screen or net. It actually happens.
Well, now I can’t wait to see that!
My husband coordinated the stunts John wick 4 in Berlin, and when I went to visit him and, ironically, I shadowed Chad who was directing on the set, Lana was doing a screening with friends and family of Matrix resurrections, which in itself was surreal. You’re sitting in a theater in Berlin with Keanu, Chad, a handful of people watching the first cut of Matrix 4. That alone was absolutely surreal, and seeing those hands-on moments being captured onscreen is a whole new level. It’s almost intuitively that you know if it’s real or not.
To emphasize this fact: there are no tips. She did that. I think I have a few more gray hairs because of it, but it’s totally worth it. I could retire now, basically that’s what I’m saying. [laughs]
If you could break a triangle and suddenly star in any action franchise or work with a specific choreographer / fight director – like, say, Donnie Yen – who would it be?
My wish would be to continue on my path of production and direction and to be at the head of my mentors, like Chad Stahelski in the coming years. I feel like I’m on the right track to get there.
Well there are plenty of John wickfate, so maybe we’ll get to see you play in that too!
Thank you. I really appreciate this.
Watch the reveal of Ellen Hollman’s character in The Matrix Resurrections, which is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
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