‘The Matrix Resurrections’ star didn’t want to do a Morpheus impression
Ever since we first heard rumblings that a fourth installment in The Matrix franchise was in the works a few years back, no matter how wide of the mark the scuttlebutt turned out to be in the end, the one constant was that a younger version of Morpheus would be a key part of the story.
Laurence Fishburne revealed that he wasn’t involved with the project because nobody had asked him, but it was months after production wrapped that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II confirmed that he’d be donning the tiny sunglasses and bestowing verbose nuggets of wisdom to those around him.
Of course, those to have seen Resurrections will be fully aware that it isn’t quite as simple as a straightforward Morpheus Jr., but Abdul-Mateen II was keen to stress in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that he wanted to veer as far away from doing a Fishburne impression as possible.
“Definitely playing a character and portraying Morpheus 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 sort of a growth and a rebirth to go through for his own self.
To me 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.”
Jonathan Groff was told the same thing by director Lana Wachowski when he signed on to play the rebooted Smith, and both actors hark back to the originals while managing to put their own unique stamp on both the characters and their performances, so it was a successful experiment that worked as a tribute rather than a rehash.