'The Matrix 4' Star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Teases Cutting Edge Camera Rigs, Ambitious Tech

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has made the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and in the midst of profiling his rise to stardom, the magazine has extracted some details from him about his involvement in The Matrix 4.

In case you forgot, there's a new Matrix movie headed for theaters and HBO Max later this year. In lieu of a proper title, we're left to call it The Matrix 4 for now. The film is scheduled for a December 22, 2021 release and that's only four months away.

THR has an in-depth cover story about Abdul-Mateen II, who stars in this month's Candyman sequel/reboot and who will be reprising his role (with more to do) as Black Manta next year in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for his 2019 performance in HBO's Watchmen. In The Matrix 4, it's been rumored that he's playing a younger version of Morpheus, the character played by Laurence Fishburne in the original Matrix trilogy.

We have no confirmation on that yet but, if it's not true, the absence of Fishburne is curious, although maybe no more or less so than co-director Lilly Wachowski deciding to sit out this sequel, too. Whatever the case, being on the set of The Matrix 4 left Abdul-Mateen II starstruck. Here's what he said about working with Keanu Reeves and director Lana Wachowski:

"I remember Keanu and his first line. I looked up, and there was Keanu, and I said, 'Oh shit, I'm really in The Matrix.' It was just Keanu in that voice. And the technology that Lana incorporated and the filmmaking, camera rigs that I've never seen before. It's so ambitious. It was really interesting to be making The Matrix 4 at a time when the world was so warped and when reality was so distorted. It could creep in a little bit if you let it."

Stop the Presses: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Is a Fan of The Office

The Matrix was a pioneering film in terms of visual effects; it gave us bullet time, whereby the camera slows down and allows the viewer to explore the scene from different angles even as bullets fly through the air. We can only imagine what kind of tricks Wachowski has cooked up for this sequel.

THR's full profile of Abdul-Mateen II contains some other interesting tidbits about him and his life. Like James Earl Jones, an actor known for his iconic voice, Abdul-Mateen II overcame a stutter; and like many of us out here in TV land, he's a fan of The Office. Is it just me or does hearing that make anyone else's brain enter a bullet time state?

Here's what he had to say about the beloved NBC sitcom and its characters, including Michael (Steve Carell), Dwight (Rainn Wilson), and even the oddball Creed (Creed Bratton):

"Michael Scott just has a big heart. As soon as he gets on your last nerve, he just redeems himself. I don't know how, but he's also excellent at his job. They have the highest-performing branch [of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company]. He always comes through in the clutch. Dwight is just classic. I like Creed, too. You can't sleep on Creed. Creed does not have one wasted moment."

The Matrix 4 arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22, 2021.