The fourth installment of The Matrix is coming to theaters soon. How do you see the whole Matrix phenomenon?
It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the twentieth anniversary two years ago. New York Magazine even dedicated their cover to the film. Wonderful movie, wonderful trilogy – though “wonderful” is probably not an adequate word to describe it. Amazing, fantastic, groundbreaking, revolutionary, changing lives – not only personally, but also artistically.
Can you still remember how you felt when you were filming the first part?
It was a feeling of new beginnings. Which I really enjoy. Like when I was twenty-two and moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to try my luck as an actor. And when I went to do the first Matrix film, I was getting ready to go to Sydney for seven months and I had that sense of “Okay, what’s going to happen now?” I feel like that every time I leave town to work as an actor. That’s a great part of the job.
»Mit Programmcodes habe ich es nicht so sehr, es liegt mir mehr, mit meinem Motorrad durch eine schöne Landschaft zu fahren.«
What do you like so much about new beginnings?
That sensation of going into the wild blue unknown is just a lot fun.
What would it be like to live in a virtual world like the one in The Matrix?
I’m more of a nature person. I can’t write code. I love riding my motorcycle. There are so many wonderful locations to ride: the mountains, by the ocean, through the desert.
You’re already fifty-seven . . .
Admittedly, I probably did that more often when I was younger. But I don’t want to be nailed down to the idea of how you should be at a certain age. Sure, there are certain constructs or traditions, but I don’t want to be trapped by them.
»Du musst erst mal verstehen, wer du bist, und dich langsam auf dieses Ich, das du sein willst, hinentwickeln.«
Do you feel drawn to the Asian way of life and philosophy? You’ve often delved into that in your roles, like in Little Buddha or Man of Tai Chi, but also in The Matrix.
I’m not a tai chi master, but I find the pillar tenets of Buddhism fascinating. I first came across them while filming Little Buddha: how to put yourself in the other person’s position and in that way understand them. How to examine your own behavior and so put an end to suffering. I sometimes read books on Asian philosophy. And looking at Japanese art and Japanese gardens, I have always been drawn to that. There’s this relationship between nature and form that helps you to get centered.
How do you connect with your internal self?
You know, mud wrestling. [laughs] No, seriously, it’s kind of a trip. You have to know who you are and who you think you are and who you are trying to be. But I’m not a Buddhist, and I’m not adept at meditation at all.
But you do sports?