Interview with Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) from The Matrix (1999)

By Paul Martin February 7th, 2012, in Official Interviews

This is an archival interview with Carrie-Anne Moss, from the now defunct official Matrix website.  She played Trinity in each of the films.

MATRIX: How did you first come to get your part?

CARRIE-ANNE: I auditioned in the regular way, first for the casting director and then for the Wachowski brothers. After that I did this most amazing three day process of screen testing for the film. The first day of which was 3 hours of running, kung fu and taping all these different fights. A really intense 3 hours of just brutal training from which I couldn’t walk for days.

MATRIX: Have you ever done anything like that before?

CARRIE-ANNE: No, I have only ever done a karate aerobics class. I think the screen test felt so brutal because I tried so hard, I really went at it 190% so the screen testers would know that I could do it that hard, but afterwards I literally couldn’t walk. In my training for the film I tried to take it a little slower. During the government lobby scene just before I had to do my cartwheel on the wall, I hurt one of my ankles so badly I felt sure that I had broken it. I kept my boot on, which I think supported it. The adrenaline of those three days of fighting kept me going, and when the weekend came by I couldn’t walk. I still can’t walk every morning when I first get up, and that was what, four months ago?

MATRIX: Did the cast sport masseuse, Longie, help you any?

CARRIE-ANNE: Yes. Longie is the absolute king of our movie. He didn’t help my ankle so much because your ankle is a really difficult thing to heal, you just have to keep off of it, but there were a couple of mornings when I showed up for work with such severe neck pain that I couldn’t move my neck, and I was in tears thinking, “Oh my god I’ve got to find him”. He really saved me. He helped me to get grounded at the beginning of the film as well, I was really nervous and unsure. He said some great things and helped me a lot, kept my body really open. But it has been painful work. I’m supposed to be getting a massage tomorrow, but I’m not going to Longie. I’m going somewhere I can get a really caressing massage; his are really intense. He really helped Larry and Keanu as well.

MATRIX: I understand that Larry and Andy (Wachowski: the directors) really wanted you in this film.

CARRIE-ANNE: It means a lot to me that they did. I was very overwhelmed with it all at first. I can imagine the extent to which they must have had to fight to have me in this film. I imagine that the powers that be in Hollywood would have wanted someone more famous. Those two guys must have believed in me so much.

MATRIX: Deservedly so, considering the footage coming in.

CARRIE-ANNE: I feel like I have really accomplished something. I have a couple of scenes where I think: “I wish, I wish, I wish I could do that again”, but overall I feel really proud.

MATRIX: The part of Trinity was a physically demanding part. How was that to cope with?

CARRIE-ANNE: My first fight in the movie was unbelievable because I was doing things I had done well a couple of times, but wasn’t terribly consistent with. Sometimes I would get it and sometimes I wouldn’t. It was like being an athlete and hitting my peak. I hit my peak the days I shot. It was like this power that was bigger than me took over, and I felt it in such an amazing way. I had amazing confidence, which was one of the things that Yuen Ping [the fight choreographer] and his team really worked on with me, they said it was my biggest thing and I agree with them. They would say all you need is someone to believe in you, and they’re right.

MATRIX: I can’t imagine you’ve ever run up, or done flips, off of a wall.

CARRIE-ANNE: That cartwheel was one of the hardest things. I learned that three days before I had to do it, then I had to run up a wall which made it even harder. The weekend before I had to do it, I was in the training center in tears saying: “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!” I am very emotional. Amongst all these men I am the emotional faucet. If I don’t get something right I get tough and I want to do it again, but I also cry like a baby. I really didn’t think I would be able to do that one. Then my ankle went bad.

MATRIX: That happened before the cartwheel?

CARRIE-ANNE: Yes an hour before.

MATRIX: How did you manage?

CARRIE-ANNE: I have no idea. The nurse could not believe I could walk. I told her that she could not tell anybody. Well, everyone knew because I fell over on it and I was screaming: “Oh no!” But nobody knew the extent to how bad it was.

MATRIX: So how did you keep on filming?

CARRIE-ANNE: I honestly have no idea, I didn’t take anything. I guess it was just adrenaline, because as soon as the weekend came I couldn’t walk. And then Monday came and I was back on set and did it all over again. But I am paying for it now.

MATRIX: How about telling me about Larry and Andy.

CARRIE-ANNE: I love them. They are two incredible people, two of the greatest men I have ever met. As filmmakers they are brilliant. Just yesterday for instance, we did the last shot of the movie; they told me to just cross here and do this, and when I looked at the screen I was amazed because I had no idea of the shot they had created. The composition, their style, their unbelievable artistic creativity and the way that they shoot, every single frame is unbelievable.

MATRIX: Everything down to the smallest transition shot.

CARRIE-ANNE: Yes. And they are cool, they speak in a language that I understand, which is really unusual. Every once in a while I meet a director that I can get. I would be really happy to work the rest of my life with them, with Keanu and Laurence and Hugo. I would be so happy to never work with anyone ever again but I would be out of a job. I feel so completely spoiled. I have been a huge fan of theirs since I saw ‘Bound’.

MATRIX: Was it a long shoot?

CARRIE-ANNE: It was 9 months for me. It has been the best time of my life.

MATRIX: What’s next?

CARRIE-ANNE: Rest. I have no idea. It is going to be hard to get another job. I have been spoiled with my first big movie. I couldn’t have been more lucky.

MATRIX: It’s been great seeing some of your scenes. That Government lobby sequence is amazing.

CARRIE-ANNE: Can you imagine it on the big screen! It’s going to be awesome. This was all so long ago that I am going to be blown away when I see it all again. We have been acting for the last month with no action, so it will be really fascinating.

MATRIX: What does ‘The Matrix’ mean to you?

CARRIE-ANNE: When I first met the guys [Larry and Andy] I had not read the script, but had got the vibe of it from a couple of scenes that I had auditioned for. I got the script right after that and when I read it, it reminded me of one time at school when a teacher proposed this question to the class: ‘What if, right now, our sitting in this classroom is just a dream? What if our lives are just dreams?’ And in that moment, even though we didn’t have big discussions about it, a seed was planted in my mind: it was the first time I thought that maybe life is not the way I was told and taught, maybe things are different. You grow up believing in evolution or religion or that the world is flat, and whatever you’ve been told is what you believe. I thought that day it could be something different, something I’m not aware of. Sometimes I’ll be walking through life and I’ll go, “Am I dreaming? How do I know this isn’t a dream?” That’s kind of the Matrix.

MATRIX: Thanks Carrie-Anne.

Interview by Spencer Lamm

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