Jonathan Groff Says Getting to 'Fight Neo' in 'The Matrix Resurrections' Is a 'Childhood Dream' (Exclusive)
For Jonathan Groff, being a part of The Matrix franchise is something he's been thinking about since he was a teenager. Now, with The Matrix Resurrections, he's not only a part of the universe, he's one of the major baddies, and he couldn't be more excited.
Groff walked the neon green carpet at the premiere of The Matrix Resurrections at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, and rocked an appropriately Matrix-inspired ensemble including a jet black suit over a black mesh shirt.
"I feel incredible," Groff, 36, told ET's Matt Cohen at the event. "It's so exciting that the movie is finally hitting theaters, that fans are finally gonna get to see this new fourth installment and I think they're gonna be excited."
In the film, Groff stars as a new iteration of Agent Smith, the nemesis of Keanu Reeves' Neo. The role — originally played by Hugo Weaving in the initial trilogy — sees Groff and Reeves go toe-to-toe in a grand fight scene that left a big impression on the star.
For Groff, one of the most impressive things about the production was director Lana Wachowski's eye for creative and groundbreaking filmmaking and her desire to make every detail feel real and powerful, "From the costumes to the sets."
"In my fight scene with Keanu, our set was practical. There is no CGI. When I'm punching through a wall, Lana wanted it to feel authentic and grounded and real," Groff recalled. "So there's this mix of practical and sort of CGI together to create something really specific."
Getting to be in a fight scene with Reeves' iconic character was something that, in itself, blew Groff's mind from time to time.
"[I remember] waking up, having my eggs in the morning in Berlin, sipping my coffee and thinking, 'Today, I'm gonna go fight Neo,'" Groff shared. "It's like childhood dreams coming true on so many levels."
The Matrix first hit theaters in 1999, and had a profound impact on filmmaking and pop culture. Its visual legacy has endured in the two decades since, and Groff feels it's the compelling nature of the stalwart stars and their characters that has made it such an iconic work.
"I think it's the fact that their characters are so cool, so epic, so intelligent. And then the actors, Carrie-Anne [Moss] and Keanu — that play those parts, these iconic action stars, are so genuine, real artists," Groff said. "So they're real people inside of a big franchise."
The Matrix Resurrections hits theaters on Dec. 22 and will be streaming on HBO Max.
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