Carrie-Anne Moss Still Wants a Piece of the Action

a woman in a black suit
Carrie-Anne Moss Wants a Piece of the Action© 2024 Ramona Rosales. All Rights Reserved

This story contains spoilers for episode 1 of The Acolyte.

The first few minutes of The Acolyte, the latest—and sorry to Mando and Grogu, but hopefully greatest—Star Wars series, are a goddamn blast. Mae (Amandla Stenberg) squares off against Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) in a cantina-set duel that blends knife-fighting, kung-fu, and lightsaber wub-wubbing into a bar fight that would make the Road House crew jealous. Just when you think you're watching the first of several dances between Mae and the Jedi Master, Indara takes a knife to the heart. Wait. That's not supposed to happen. What gives?!

"Right away," says Moss when I ask her (respectfully) if she always knew The Acolyte would send her to Force-ghost heaven just seven minutes into the show. "[Series creator Leslye Headland] really wanted to have that impact right away."

Moss, 56, is Zooming in from her New Hampshire home, just a day after a Memorial Day appearance on Good Morning America, filmed in the heart of Times Square. She's back in the press-tour weeds for The Acolyte, which debuted its first two episodes on Disney+ this Tuesday night, but she had to make it home in time for her daughter's birthday. These days, Moss, who portrayed the legendary action hero, Trinity, in The Matrix films, takes life easy, enjoying the Granite State, running her lifestyle brand for women, Annapurna Living, and grabbing whatever opportunities come her way. And that's exactly how she likes it. "I have control over my attitude, pretty much," she says. "It's the only way I can stay open and trust. I'm very grateful that I still love what I do."

With The Acolyte's big twist finally out in the world, Moss opens up about Indara's death, the wonders of New Hampshire, and why bullet time still hits like nothing else. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Moss is enjoying living away from her old Los Angeles digs, secluded in New Hampshire. "I just really love the day-to-day mundaneness of my life," she says. "I found a lot of joy in it."© 2024 Ramona Rosales. All Rights Reserved

ESQUIRE: How’s life in New Hampshire?

CARRIE-ANNE MOSS: I lived in California for almost over 30 years and left about four years ago, dreaming of this very nature. We came out here every summer; my husband's from here. It’s very familiar, but making that big leap from L.A. is a big deal.

My partner's from Bedford. It's the best suburb—bowling alley, barbecue place, all of that.

There was a time in my life when I wanted to be close to a coffee shop. I wanted to be in the energy of the city. But now I make great coffee. And good food, because there really aren't any restaurants where I live. It's just a different vibe. Slower. You know, I feel like the most decadent days are when I don't have to leave my house. It's just like—I'm so happy to be home, which is a great feeling.

I’m the same way—I love when I can do interviews from home.

Right. I was just cleaning, wrapping presents, doing dishes, and I was like, Oh, I gotta get ready!

I want to congratulate you on The Acolyte… but I do have your time of death in the show at six minutes and 40 seconds.

I love that initial scene. That was the thing that Leslye really talked about in the beginning. It was hard to do. You usually have months to learn action. For The Acolyte, I had three weeks [to prepare], Monday through Friday. You learn it like a dance. The first two weeks, I was like, I'm never gonna get this. At about three weeks, I was like, Okay, I got it. Up until then—they actually put me in this really gorgeous hotel—I would leave in the morning, look at my bed, and I'd be like, I'll be back! Then, I'd crawl back to my hotel room and use hot water bottles and ice.

Even with the early exit, I feel like you convey that Indara is a character who has existed for decades and had a whole life in the galaxy.

There's a lot of talk about the Star Wars world with people that have all that information. But I tried to just sort of stay open to it. Of course, you get information from the script and the wardrobe. I mean, there's so many things that are just supporting you to step into those clothes—and it just makes you hold your body differently. Looking at backstory, trying to bring my truth to it, and finding a way to do it the way I would do it… You just trust your director—I could with Leslye. You trust yourself, cross your fingers, then hope it works.

Headland has said that The Acolyte is inspired by The Matrix, calling the fighting style in the show “Force-fu.” I feel like we’re living in a time when The Matrix is a part of our culture outside of the films. “Red pill, blue pill” is in the lexicon now.

It was such a unique film at that time. I’d love to pick it apart a little bit more now that I have a bit more wisdom behind me. But I don't really think about it. I mean, I will see things and think, Wow, that really reminds me of The Matrix. But that's been happening since the beginning. 70 commercials doing bullet time, remember? Cartoons were doing bullet time.

Sometimes I watch shows with my kids. And they're making a spoof of me, Keanu, and Laurence. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, that's hilarious. Honestly, I wouldn't know any of that if I didn't have kids, because I don't watch television on my own. I read and I like to go for walks. I do watch stuff, but I tend to watch most of my stuff when I go away to work. At home, I'm pretty busy. So my kids are like, Look at this!

If The Matrix came out today, it’d almost be too on the nose because of what we’re seeing with AI. Because it is that real and present.

It’s like, what's real? What are we all individually plugged in to that we don't even realize we’re being plugged in to? It's so interesting. That's one of the things that I love about moving to New Hampshire. I have just friends that think all kinds of different things. You have to always be critical of your own thoughts.

the acolyte
Playing a Jedi Master? Harder than it looks! "I would leave in the morning, and look at my bed, and I’d be like, I’ll be back!"says Moss. "Then, I’d crawl back to my hotel room and just use hot water bottles and ice."Christian Black - Disney

It’s hard to even find the space to do that.

It’s talking to people, right? Having human contact, which is so important. Like, I'm working right now in Canada—I'm doing FUBAR with Arnold Schwarzenegger. And it's so fun. But I'm stepping out of my life and I'm out in the city and finding all my little tiny things that make me feel good. I’m making friends with the Uber drivers. What I always love about what I do for work is not only not only the work part, but the life part.

From other interviews, and this conversation, you do truly seem to—as much as one person can—separate work and life, for the better.

I do. I love my life. When I first started acting, I loved getting my suitcase out and going on trips. You felt like you were doing something, right? You're working. There's this self-worth thing to it. Now that I have a family, it's much harder to leave. I just really love the day-to-day mundaneness of my life. I found a lot of joy in it. But then I go out there and try to be present, then I bring home so much great stuff.

Earlier, you said that you’d love to revisit The Matrix with the wisdom you have now.

I'm meaning maybe [films] two and three, and some of the really large concepts in there. There are a few things in there that I understand, but I just want to watch it again. I looked back at everything, you know, jumping in [Resurrections, the fourth film] for sure. And yet, it was like a starting point that was so brand-new and so different. It almost feels like it didn't happen. For so many years apart, it was such a surprise. And then it was such a joy to be a part of it and to do it, and it's over and done. And you're just like, Oh, wow, I did that.

matrix resurrections
Moss reprised the ass-kicking Trinity in 2021’s Matrix: Resurrections. "It almost feels like it didn’t happen," she says. "For so many years apart, it was such a surprise. And then it was such a joy to be a part of it and to do it, and it’s over and done.Warner Bros.

If Resurrections is truly the ending, are you happy with it?

I loved the ending. I really don't spend any time thinking about these kinds of things, which is just a protection mechanism. You finish something, you move on, you’re so grateful, you grow your hair out, stop looking like your character, and start finding yourself again. Then you walk into something new and you're like, How do I find that? Then you're talking about it a year later. Like talking about The Acolyte, it was a year ago, if not longer. I don't remember. But it feels like a lifetime ago.

It does sound like intense work.

It was. It was cool, though. I loved it. I was really grateful, because I loved that, in The Matrix, there was such a great vibe of remembering how we do action. Lana [Wachowski] really set up a tent. And it was this magical world; they're practicing jumping off the building over here, then I'm practicing the motorcycle over here. And then, coming back into The Acolyte and walking into their version, it was like, I know this world really well and I’m really enjoying it. I realized coming out of The Acolyte that I enjoy action more than I thought I did. That's fun.

One last question: You said in another interview that you're a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. Did you watch the final season?

I don't think so. What am I missing? Tell me.

I don't want to spoil it, but Larry is imprisoned for giving a water bottle to a Georgia voter, becomes left-wing hero, then it goes wrong in a very Larry-David way.

I'll have to. I watch TV with my kids— I jump in wherever they are. I feel so grateful for shows like that, where families can sit around the TV and laugh. It's so important. There are times where my goal is to laugh as much as I can. We love South Park and Modern Family. When I'm lying on the couch, I got one kid over here, one over there, and my husband over there, and we are laughing, that's the best vacation I could ever have. I don't need to go anywhere.

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