Film Interview: Neil Patrick Harris – The Matrix Resurrections, Or Analyzing Mr Anderson

December 18, 2021

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Neil Patrick Harris plays The Analyst in The Matrix Resurrections.


As a fan, as an artist, what does stepping into the world of The Matrix mean to you?

Well, there are very few franchises, really, outside of Lucasfilm’s and comic book superheroes, that have really taken the cinematic landscape the way that The Matrix did. To have, 20 years ago, a movie that people still talk about that resonates, that’s as relevant as ever, man, that’s a very rare situation and a pretty big deal. So, I was a fan of the first film, as well as a bajillion other people. And when I was asked to participate small-scale in this current movie, I was armed with a fan box filled with pills that I was willing to jump in and take.


That’s great. Can you talk to me a little bit about your character as Thomas Anderson’s therapist? What’s the dynamic of that relationship like?

I play his analyst and we’re working through his personal quest for meaning, as one tends to do when seeing an analyst, and I sort of help him with a lot of the emotional landscape.


What’s it like working with the person who created the Matrix, Lana Wachowski?

Lana is a visionary, I mean in really every sense of the word. She single-handedly created this latest iteration, and her fingerprint is on everything, from the shot selection to the wardrobe, to a light that comes in through the windows. She’s just so aware of it all, and it is all taking place in the mind of someone who has her own very amazing, personal transformation of truth for herself. To now come at this material from a much more confident lens, that’s just… it’s inspiring to witness. She doesn’t direct by sitting in a tented room, behind the action, with a director telling the actors what to do. She’s draped over the camera, adjusting the shot as we’re filming it, talking intimately to everyone while it’s happening. And that would be the case if she was doing an intimate two-person scene, which you might expect, but she operates that way even when it’s a huge scene with crowds, all of this activity and effects and noise – she’s still in a sort of Jedi sense of control. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crew or a cast, to be honest, who would not die on a sword for her. She commands and has earned a great amount of respect.


What amazes me is this movie takes place in a lot of other-worldly environments, and yet you are plopped in the centre of this quintessential, overstuffed, gorgeous therapist’s office. What was it like to work in such an amazing practical set?

It was fun. It’s always strange when you go into a location that you’ve just encountered, but you’re supposed to pretend like you have existed in there and actually decorated it yourself. And you’ve read all the books on the shelves, and you’ve thrown every pillow and know it all. I sort of felt like a dog that enters a new house. It kind of wanders around, sniffing, picking things up and setting them down, and making small circles. I needed to be comfortable with my surroundings… but it’s also intentionally a safe space for Thomas. A place that he can go to ease his mind. So, the colours were more intentionally pleasing and it was a bit of a sanctuary. And for someone whose sole job is to help, to have made it a nice place in which to exist – it was great.


Working across from Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss – what is it like to share time with the original Neo and Trinity?

I had more than a few instances of “Pinch me, wow, this is actually happening.” Getting to do a scene with Keanu Reeves is awesome. Getting to do a scene with Keanu Reeves as Neo is even more exciting. He’s such a smart man and he’s such a joy to work with. He was on set all the time. He was always focused one hundred percent on his performance, even though he was always doing so much that he deserved to be distracted – he’s also thinking about action sequences, the choreography that he worked on. He was always lovely and calm and top of his game. And I think Carrie-Anne is one of those rare actors that seems to get sexier as she ages.



She’s just amazing. She’s still able to do all of the moves in the rehearsal training rooms. She brought her kids, who are teenagers now, and she still managed to want to jump off a building and do fight sequences… and would still want to talk to everyone. She was kind of the mother hen of it all; she was just such a cool normal person. She’s the kind of dame you want to go camping with and have in your lives forever.


What do you hope audiences will experience when they see this film?

I feel like it’s such a great companion piece to the first movie, and yet it’s not dependent upon audiences having seen the other – it more than stands up on its own. I think audiences will find it visually remarkable and enthralling. As a companion piece to the first, it’s very different in style from what they have seen before. And I think that’s intentional, based on Lana. It’s totally different and yet in the exact same world. I’m excited for people to see just what that means.

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