May 2003
The Matrix Reloaded : An Interview with Jada Pinkett-Smith

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

The Matrix Reloaded: An Interview with Jada Pinkett-Smith

One of the most powerful African-American couple in Hollywood who have lasted a long time in the business has been Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. Married for a long time, they each have their share of film success on their own. Another couple out there who are doing thing is the Smith Family, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Will, of course, was nominated last year for his portrayal of Muhammed Ali in Ali, a film in which Jada had a role in. Now itís her turn to be in the spotlight. Personally recruited by the Wachowski Brothers, the character of Niobe was created just for her in Matrix Reloaded and the sequel to that film, The Matrix Revolutions. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Jada Pinkett-Smith talks about her role in both the film and the video game, Enter the Matrix.


WM: Was doing this film live up to your expectations or go beyond it?

JPS: In all honesty, having been in the video game and in the movie, yeah, it did live up to my expectations.


WM: What did you go into this film thinking?

JPS: I just wanted to do some cool stuff. I just wanted to have the opportunity to do some cool and interesting things. I have loved this project since day 1 when I had the opportunity to see the animations they had of Trinityís first action sequence in the first Matrix. Before they even picked up a camera to shoot the Matrix I had met with the Wachowski Brothers several times and fell in love with them and fell in love with this project and at the end of the day, Iím so happy to be even thought about for the 2nd and the 3rd that they actually created this Niobe character for me. That in itself is extremely flattering. Itís been a wonderful experience just having the opportunity to sit with the boys and work with Keanu, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne (Moss). Iím A-Ok.


WM: What is about you that they wrote the character Niobe just for you?

JPS: They never said. I have no idea and I never asked. Iím here now.


WM: Do you remember the day you got the call and what your reaction was?

JPS: What happened was that everybody was a little nervous. I was nine months pregnant. I got a call saying the Wachowskis wanted to see me. They have a roll for me, I was told. In fact, I was told that it was created for me but I was pregnant. I was like, ďI canít believe this. Youíve got to be kidding me.Ē And I had heard through the grapevine that this was a possibility but I never listen to that stuff. So I went in and met them and I said, ďListen, weíre going to work it out. You need not worry about me. I will get you what you need. Just tell me what you need and Iím going to make it happen. Iím still working out. Iím doing this and doing that.Ē They were like, ďJada, donít even worry about it because whatever we need you to do physically, weíll push it back towards the end of the movie.Ē Then I was like, ďCool, well then weíre in business.Ē


WM: How high could you kick?

JPS: They knew high I could kick cause they has seen in the first go around for the first film, I went through 2 weeks of training with them and everything. They knew I could get down.


WM: With what you have on this film and what Will (Smith) has done in his films, is discipline a problem at home with kids?

JPS: No.


WM: Have they seen Mommy kick butt?

JPS: Man, let me tell you. Between Willow, my bonus child and Jaden, Trey is just elated. Heís through the moon. He canít believe that Iím in a video game. He got an opportunity to play the game. He was like, ďThat video game is so cool.Ē And he plays everything, so if I can impress Trey, Iím really doing something. They are at the age 10 when your parents get a little corny and they are like, ďWhatever.Ē So, that was pretty impressive. With Jaden and Willow, every time she sees Niobe, she goes, ďThatís Mommy.Ē, which is good because Willow always wants to be Superman or Spiderman, and I will tell her that sheís Superwoman but she insists sheís Superman. Now she has a female superhero she can look up to.


WM: What is the object of the game (the Animatrix)?

JPS: If you saw ďFinal Flight of the OsirusĒ then you saw that the ship got destroyed and homegirl got to the mailbox before the ship went down. The whole video game is about me and my crew finding that drop and getting that message that was left on the Osirus and finding out what happened to the Osirus. In ďMatrix ReloadedĒ, from that drop I get the information about the machines digging. So the video game starts before the actual movie (Reloaded) starts.


WM: Did you have to do extra work for the video game in terms of getting your image on screen?

JPS: Oh no, I did a month of facial capture. I did a whole new dialogue because itís a new script. I also did 4 months of motion capture and I had to film for the video game also. Thereís a lot of film in the video game thatís not in ďReloadedĒ. Thatís all new footage. Itís all new storylines. We find out a lot more about my character, Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity in the video game movie that intertwines with ďReloadedĒ.


WM: Were you tired after doing it?

JPS: It was a lot of physical work. Fighting with nobody, throwing kicks, running, shooting, climbing walls, rolling down steps, flipping, you name it, and I did it. Doing scenes that are just in this big empty space and I have to pretend that Iím getting into this car and it was crazy.


WM: What was it like the first time they yanked you up in a wire?

JPS: I loved it. I wished I had more to do on those wires because I really felt at home with them. It was very easy to me. It came to me very naturally.


WM: Was this another job or part of it?

JPS: Itís part of the job. I really did look at it as one big massive project, which made it easy because all of the stories are so intertwined with one another.


WM: What do you think of your action figure doll?

JPS: I just said to make her chest a little bigger. Just kidding!! I love it. I think itís cool.


WM: Besides your husband being in the business, why is music important to you?

JPS: I think itís important to everybody. Itís the pulse of life really. Itís the sound of your heartbeat. Music is the rhythm of life. Itís the vibration of the soul and song, to me, is like the voice of God, in its true form when itís not manipulated. When I hear chants, itís undeniable. It doesnít matter what culture youíre from, or what color you are, if it moves you, your body canít help but move to it.


WM: With the completion of both Matrix films, are you done with action films? Where do you go from here?

JPS: Iíll love to do more action films. Actually Will (Smith) and I would like to do an action comedy together now. We donít have anything in mind yet, but that will probably, in all honesty, the next time youíll see me do a film. It will be with Will. I donít think Iíll do anything before then.


WM: What about the sitcom you two are producing?

JPS: Oh yes, we have a new sitcom coming out hopefully. Itís with UPN and weíre hoping it gets picked up. Itís with LisaRaye, Duane Martin, and Elise Neal. Weíre very excited about it.


WM: Will you occasionally make an appearance on it?

JPS: An appearance? Yes, I will, if they pick us up.