2021 was a big year for Ellen Hollman. She can be seen in one of her biggest projects to date, starring in “The Matrix Resurrections.”
Directed by Lana Wachowski, “The Matrix Resurrections” is the long-awaited fourth film in the groundbreaking franchise that redefined a genre. The new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic Neo and Trinity.
For nearly a decade, Ellen Hollman has been a jiu-jitsu practitioner and co-instructor for Gracie Academy’s Women Empowered Program. She also trains alongside her husband, acclaimed Stunt Coordinator Stephen Dunlevy and his world-renowned stunt team 8711 Action Design; best known for the “John Wick ” franchise, “Deadpool 2,” and “Atomic Blond,” to name a few.
Ellen is known in the industry for doing her own action, including her stunts in “The Matrix Resurrections,” and has showcased her ass-kicking in CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans”.
Ellen Hollman On “The Matrix Resurrections”
How was filming “The Matrix Resurrections” different from other films you’ve done before?
To be a part of one of the most iconic, pop culture phenomenons in my lifetime certainly raised the stakes! For Lana Wachowski to trust me to become a mirrored version of her beloved Trinity was an incredible honour and challenge. It was a great responsibility that required countless hours of watching how Carrie Ann moved, acted and embodied her character. It was my first-time mimicking someone that not only pre-existed but reached the hearts and minds of millions of people. No pressure, right??
What was it like to work with such a renowned cast as the one from “The Matrix Resurrections”?
When you hear the name Keanu Reeves you immediately envision a larger-than-life icon too great to imagine as human. The truth of it is, he’s one of the most sincere, kind and generous men that I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. I’ve been fortunate to know KR for several years now as my husband has been part of the John Wick franchise, including Stunt Coordinator on ‘John Wick 4’. His stunt team, 87Eleven Action Design, were the brilliant minds behind ‘Matrix Resurrections’, ‘John Wick’, ‘Deadpool’, ‘Atomic Blonde’ etc. They have been my jiu-jitsu/judo family for years so sharing the mat with Keanu is familiar territory…it’s the main topic of most of our conversations! Aside from Keanu, Carrie-Ann Moss was incredibly supportive as well, a true star. She literally held my hand when I had to chop off my long blonde locks for my role of Echo, reminding me to breathe. Also, Jess Henwick was a pal and former castmate of mine from ‘Love and Monsters’ and there was the moment Lana Wachowski cast me. We both did our best to not burst with excitement when I became part of the family. We failed miserably!
How has your training in jiu-jitsu helped you become a better actress?
Jiu-jitsu has taught me patience, discipline and how imperative it is to work smarter, not harder. This particular martial art isn’t based on size or strength, instead, the foundation of jiu-jitsu is based on knowledge and skill. This is why a 120lb woman can choke out her 240lb husband when he leaves his dirty boots on the nice rug, just ask Stephen Dunlevy.
How has being a producer changed your perspective on acting?
I’ve been in this crazy business for nearly 20 years and many times you learn how to work more effectively by things going awry. Every hurdle that occurs on a set is a chance to learn. As a performer, you are told what to say, what to wear, where to stand and many times how to perform. It’s incredibly challenging at times, but your responsibility is limited. As a producer you have to have your head on a swivel, predicting the myriad of things that can cause the train to go off the track before they even happen. Is it madness for me to say I enjoy these hurdles? Perhaps. But it allows me to exercise more of what I’m capable of than ever before. I’m hyperactive by nature so if I don’t keep busy, I may chew the furniture.
Published by HOLR Magazine