Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t look like she had aged a day in the almost two decades since first becoming involved in The Matrix franchise when she appeared in a stunning, flowing red dress on the “green carpet” premiere of the much-anticipated latest installment to the series, The Matrix Resurrections.
However, Niobe, the character she is reprising for the film and who first appeared in 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded, does look noticeably more wizened than co-star Keanu Reeves, thanks to Hollywood effects makeup providing much of the wrinkles and scars on the war-worn character’s face.
In case you’re not already familiar, the Matrix franchise centers around people in the far-flung future trying to break free from being enslaved by a convincing computer simulation of reality masterminded by artificial intelligence. Reeves is reprising his role in the latest film as Thomas Anderson, who in the previous films was a long-prophesized “chosen one” who is meant to be the savior of humankind.
While Niobe’s role in this latest film is still somewhat mysterious, Pinkett Smith did divulge a little about what it was like to return to the character all these years later at the IGN-hosted San Francisco premiere Saturday evening.
“It was definitely, it was a bit challenging, you know, but…five hours of makeup. And it wasn’t until I actually had the makeup on that it clicked. I was like, oh, ok, got it,” she said.
In terms of how she portrayed the character, and not just the makeup process, she said seeing herself in the mirror fully realized as the older character lent itself to the choices she made as an actor.
“I really had to think about it, just as far as, like, my body, my voice, all of those things,” Pinkett Smith said.
In terms of how making Resurrections differed from her experience on Reloaded and Revolutions, she said with a smile, “It was different because I didn’t have to train.”
“She’s not flipping around. She’s still a badass, she’s just not flipping around in this one,” Pinkett Smith went on to say.
Check out The Matrix Resurrections when it hits theaters and HBO Max on Dec. 22.