The last time 8days.sg met Jessica Henwick was sometime in June 2015. The British-born Eurasian, whose father is British and mother a Chinese-Singaporean, was in town to promote HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones where she played the whip-cracking Nymeria Sand, one of the bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal).
When she wasn’t answering questions about the Emmy-hoarding show — where she was the first actor of Southeast-Asian descent to be cast — she was busy responding to rumours that she was in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This turned out to be true: she played X-wing pilot Jessika Pava, a role said to be written especially by director JJ Abrams.
Post-Star Wars, Henwick went from aerial navigation to throwing punches and kicks on Marvel-Netflix’s Iron Fist where she jacked the spotlight from lead Finn Jones (sorry!) as sword-wielding pugilist Colleen Wing. (Hey, Kevin Feige: Greenlight Colleen Wing her own spin-off series!)
Outside the realm of action, Henwick flexed her dramatic chops in the Kristen Stewart-fronted creature feature Underwater (on Disney+), the post-apocalyptic love story — and creature feature — Love and Monsters (on Netflix), and Sofia Coppola’s marital crisis dramedy On The Rocks (on Apple TV+).
Cue to the present: Henwick is gearing up another dust-up, this time in The Matrix Resurrections, the highly-anticipated third sequel to the iconic sci-fi game-changer The Matrix, where she plays Bugs, a blue-haired hacker fixated with searching for Keanu Reeves’ Neo Anderson, the One who saved humanity by sacrificing himself at the end of The Matrix Revolutions.
And it’s a meaty part she almost missed out on. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Henwick, 29, said she had to choose between a role in The Matrix Resurrections and a role in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. And there lies her conundrum: She could only audition for one or the other, with no guarantee that she would get either. “It was a red pill, blue pill moment for me,” she recalled.
In the end, she settled for working with director Lana Wachowski on the fourth Matrix chapter and the rest is history. “I’ve had a great working relationship with Marvel,” she explained to EW. “I’ve obviously done Marvel TV, so I was already in the universe. I knew that joining The Matrix is not an opportunity that you get every day. Lana has had so many offers to make more Matrix films. I just knew it was now or never. Whereas, obviously, Marvel is a huge, wonderful company that makes films very, very regularly.” (Again, Mr Feige, if you’re reading this: Colleen Wing spin-off!)
Speaking to 8days.sg over Zoom from LA, Henwick — who almost came to work in Singapore at the suggestion of her pal George Young — shares more of her surreal experience working on The Matrix Resurrections as well as an update of the John Wick spin-off she reportedly pitched to Reeves (John Wick director Chad Stahelski is in The Matrix Resurrections, too).
Watch our interview with Henwick here:
The Matrix Resurrections opens in cinemas on Dec 22.
Photos: TPG News/Click Photos