Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on paying homage to Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus in The Matrix Resurrections
Taking on a character as iconic as Morpheus is no easy feat. And that's why Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who is playing a "different iteration" of Laurence Fishburne's character in The Matrix Resurrections, went into the movie with a clear goal of paying homage to the legendary role while also doing something new.
During EW's Around the Table for the upcoming fourth Matrix movie, Abdul-Mateen reveals he always knew "it was my job not to give a literal impersonation of Laurence Fishburne's performance as Morpheus but to understand that history."
"I was fortunate enough to play a character who was aware of the history of the Matrix but also growing into his own, he had a growth and a rebirth to go through for his own self," he says. "I looked at that as an opportunity to create a character with some freedom and expression and to really find out what it was that I, as Morpheus, liked about myself and what I had to contribute to the world and what I had to say in this universe. That was something that I really enjoyed."
Abdul-Mateen explains that he took full advantage of the "opportunity to learn more about the world and also to pay homage to the performance that Laurence Fishburne presented to us and then to really add onto that in my own way."
Directed by Lana Wachowski, the new Matrix film sees the return of Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) after their death in 2003's The Matrix Revolutions. Their minds are somehow trapped back inside the Matrix, the virtual world projected into the minds of humans by machines far in the future to keep them ignorant of their apocalyptic reality. They appear to have no memories of their lives together until a blue-haired, gunslinging hacker by the name of Bugs (Jessica Henwick) and a man named Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen) enter the scene to wake the man known as the One back up.
The Matrix Resurrections is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max. Watch the full video above now.