When it comes to iconic sci-fi and fantasy series, Jessica Yu Li Henwick has already covered so many major bases. She flew an X-wing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She went to Westeros as Game Of Thrones’ Nymeria Sand. She entered the Marvel arena as Colleen Wing in Netflix’s inter-weaved Iron Fist, The Defenders and Luke Cage. But next up, she’s ticking another massive movie dream off the list: plugging into The Matrix for Lana Wachowski’s mysterious fourth chapter.

If her character remains unannounced – and details on what The Matrix 4 even is are currently scarce – Henwick teases that she’ll be very much involved in the series’ signature slow-mo fight sequences. “I haven’t seen a cut of the film, so I don’t know what’s in it and what isn’t, but I trained every day for months,” she tells Empire in The British New Wave issue. “There are a couple of cast members who didn’t have any physical stuff and they were so sad. How can you be in The Matrix and not get to do any of the good stuff?”

As for her own wishes, most of those were granted in a film that paid off a life-long dream. “I grew up thinking Matrix was the coolest thing ever,” she says. “Bullet-time, the multiple agents, the pills and the rabbit! When I signed on, I said the three things I want are a leather jacket, sunglasses and some wire work. I got two out of the three – I’ll leave you to guess which ones.”

This month’s issue of Empire is a massive celebration of The British New Wave, showcasing 26 incredible directors, writers and actors driving cinema into a new era. As well as cover stars Emerald Fennell, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Bukky Bakray and Riz Ahmed, the issue also features major new interviews and exclusive new photo shoots with stars like Gemma Chan, Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù, Morfydd Clark, Olly Alexander, Henry Golding, Weruche Opia, and Olivia Cooke, and writers and directors including Rose Glass, Rob Savage, Remi Weekes, Kate Herron, Francis Lee, Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Prano Bailey-Bond.

Empire – July 2021 covers – British New Wave issue

Find a copy on newsstands from Thursday 10 June, or pre-order online here. The Matrix 4 is expected to arrive in UK cinemas from 22 December.

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