Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks ‘Watchmen,’ ‘Matrix 4’: ‘I’m Not Nervous At All’

Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans. 

“I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in my own take to it. I’m looking forward to doing the same thing in the world of the ‘Matrix.’ I think that’s also an important story that we’re going to tell as well,” Abdul-Mateen told Variety on the red carpet at the HBO’s “Watchmen” premiere on Monday night.

Abdul-Mateen will have a leading role in “Matrix 4,” starring opposite Keanu Reeves’s Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity. He played coy about how he landed the role: “I had an audition; there was nothing out of the ordinary for what that process was. I met with [writer-director] Lana [Wachowski] and we talked.”

The “Aquaman” actor will appear as Cal Abar in “Watchmen,” which is based on Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel of the same title. He stressed the importance of adapting the material well.

“Working with HBO, working with Regina King, the cast is excellent, the expectation of this is that the bar is high,” he said. “There’s also precedence, there was a film and there was a graphic novel.”

But when it comes to satisfying the fans, Abdul-Mateen said he’s “not nervous at all.”

“People are going to bring a lot of love. They love Zack Snyder’s ‘Watchmen.’ They love Alan Moore’s ‘Watchmen.’ They want to love our ‘Watchmen,'” he continued. “I think it’s going to be very polarizing. People will watch for those same reasons. They have a hunger. They want something special. They want it to be good. People are going to love it and people are going to not like it. But both of those people are going to tune in and are going to talk about it. I think it’s really exciting.”

“With the ‘Matrix’ as well — there’s the same energy,” he continued. “When you make something that tons of people love and that are loyal to a lot of times people don’t like change. I think it’s all from a place of love. It’s easy to identify. We can’t waste time worrying about that energy.”

“Watchmen” debuts Oct. 20 on HBO.