The captivating world of The Matrix made its long-awaited return to theaters this past week when The Matrix: Resurrections hit cinemas and streaming screens worldwide. The early 2000s saw Matrix movies dominate discussion and the box office alike, hauling in well over $1 billion dollars combined across its three films. While reviews for the fourth installment have been polarizing, Resurrections does what any Matrix film sets out to do: it gets its audience thinking.
The Matrix: Resurrections represents a new beginning for a number of the franchise's founding stars, but it's also an opportunity for new names to establish themselves in the mind-bending universe.
Ellen Hollman's Matrix Experience
Speaking with The Direct in an exclusive interview, Resurrections star Ellen Hollman noted that it didn't take much for this particular project to pique her interest:
"It is one of the most epic cinematic pop culture phenomenons in the history of humankind. I don't think that The Matrix attracts you. It's this synergy. It goes both ways. And it happened perfectly the way that it did. And I'm still pinching myself."
After an 18-year absence, Resurrections marks the fourth live-action Matrix film in the franchise. Unlike its two preceding sequels, however, The Matrix: Resurrections follows the Terminator: Dark Fate route in that it primarily serves as a "continuation" of the one that started it all:
"This is not to be known as the fourth in the franchise. This is, if anything, this is a continuation of the original. It once again makes us question our reality, but [director Lana Wachowski] goes above and beyond in this one, not only regards to nostalgia into reuniting Neo and Trinity but in a whole other context."
According to Hollman, that "whole other context" comes in the timing of its release:
"I feel like it's so timely. This has been such an incredibly harrowing year, my God, nearly two years on a global scale. And to have something that is reintroduced to our lives at this time, it really puts things into perspective. We were all locked down, regardless of where you were the past year, globally it hit everyone, and it made you reevaluate your life's choices. What am I doing? Why am I doing this? I don't think it's a coincidence that once again, Matrix perfectly arrives when it's meant to arrive, here to remind us of those choices or the illusion of choice. I really do think it's unbelievably kismet, and unbelievably timely."
Hollman's contributions to The Matrix journeyed beyond acting in front of the camera. The veteran actress is known across the entertainment industry to be a stunt extraordinaire, performing her own action sequences in AMC's Into the Badlands and CBS's NCIS: New Orleans.
While The Matrix was a new challenge to her physically, Hollman emphasized that she felt right at home on the film's set:
"Even while I was filming, there was never a question as to whether I deserved to be there. There was never a moment where I'm like, 'I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I belong here.' I've been in the industry nearly 20 years now. At this point, this is where I belong. There is no other place that I am meant to be than right here. There was a question of 'oh my God' physically this one's gonna be a doozy because this particular role they were looking for something very specific from a physical standpoint, not just facial features but height and size and everything. They either wanted to hire a stunt performer who could act, or she wanted to hire an actress who is able to do action. So fortunately, with my history in mixed martial arts, I was able to, hopefully, exceed your expectations. There was a bit of, 'Oh, okay. This gonna be intense.' That's what's so exciting about it."
Even with two decades in the industry, Hollman noted she is always looking to push herself to new heights. While she has yet to star in a comic book blockbuster, she has one brief superhero credit to her filmography. Hollman portrayed X-Men's Rogue in the short fan film Gambit: Play for Keeps. That project gave Hollman a small taste of what it was like to embody the white-streaked mutant, and she's ready for more:
"Growing up, I was actually a total superhero nerd. I particularly love the X-Men, and my favorite character was always Rogue. I just loved her southern sass and just the way she hurt [enemies] by being the way she was. She didn't apologize for her weaknesses at all, which was just human touch really. It was just in her energy and presence. From the comic standpoint, she really jumped off the page to me and my siblings, and I used to always watch X-Men like the cartoons on Saturday. I have Rogue's first appearance comic. I have one of her first action figures still in the box. So to embody Rogue would be incredible. I'm telling you after all this action in Matrix there may be some natural white streaks."
Hollman can be seen in The Matrix: Resurrections in theaters and streaming now on HBO Max.