“The Acolyte’”s Carrie-Anne Moss Credits Childhood Scottish Dance and ‘Muscle Memory’ for Nailing Fight Scenes (Exclusive)

Moss tells PEOPLE how training for the Disney+ 'Star Wars' series reminded the actress of her hard work on 'The Matrix' films

<p>Disney+/Lucasfilm</p> Carrie-Anne Moss in


Carrie-Anne Moss in 'The Acolyte'

Carrie-Anne Moss has made fight scenes look effortless ever since her gravity-defying, butt-kicking debut in 1999's The Matrix. For her entry into the Star Wars universe, the actress relied on muscle memory to get into fighting shape.

In an action-packed scene with costar Amandla Stenberg in the new Disney+'s series The Acolyte, the actress, 56, spent five days a week for three weeks with a group of trainers learning “Force Fu” — a special form of Jedi martial arts using the Force — to convincingly portray Master Indara.

“I was a Scottish dancer, I played sports, so I had that in my muscle memory,” she tells PEOPLE, adding that she learned The Acolyte’s fight choreography like a dance. “Basically, you're going to learn the first four beats, then the next four beats, then the next four beats. … They would videotape it for me as well, so I could go home and practice in my hotel room.”

Related: 'Matrix Resurrections' Stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss on Their 'Joyous' 24-Year Friendship

<p>Disney+/Lucasfilm</p> Carrie-Anne Moss in 'The Acolyte'


Carrie-Anne Moss in 'The Acolyte'

While rehearsing with a stunt person, two additional stunt people also performed Moss' moves alongside her so she could be “watching them at the same time.” Shooting the actual scene, helped, too.

“When you actually shoot, it's a little bit easier than the training, because you are shooting it in such little pieces,” she explains. “Obviously, the pressure's on, but I like that pressure.”

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Training for The Acolyte reminded Moss how much she “enjoyed” being a part of the onscreen action. “It felt pretty epic in the moment,” she admits.

In 2021, she had to get into fighting shape for The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment of The Matrix film franchise. She reprised her role — alongside costar Keanu Reeves — and explained the intense process.

“I had weight to lose, I had strength to gain, I had fights to learn, I had big scenes to mentally prepare for,” she told The Guardian in 2021. “For months leading up to it, it was a lot of physical work, to get into Trinity in a way that wasn’t me trying to be someone I used to be, and not trying to be 30, or trying to have the body I had when I was 30, and at the same time, being gentle with myself about that, too.”

Related: Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss Would Love to Team Up in a 'John Wick' Movie: 'Let's Get on That'

<p>Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma/Getty</p> Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in 1999's 'The Matrix.'

Ronald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma/Getty

Carrie-Anne Moss and Keanu Reeves in 1999's 'The Matrix.'

Pushing herself to peak physical condition for The Matrix films, however, was well worth it for Moss, who tells PEOPLE the first blockbuster movie was life-changing, paving the way for her future projects, including the 2000 thriller Memento, the 2014 drama Elephant Song and the Marvel series Jessica Jones, which ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2019.

"I think that it [The Matrix] gave me a certain level of confidence that was helpful, and it demystified the whole business for me," she says, adding, "The thing that's so transformative about being in something like that is that you're getting to know such high-level people, people that are on pedestals, basically. You get to know them, and they're just like you. They're amazing, kind and wonderful, and you realize that there's no secret, that you can do well, too.”

More than 25 years since The Matrix premiered, Moss remains grateful for the film.

“I’ve just had so much good fortune, so many blessings that came my way, and I was so grateful and still grateful to this day for the opportunities that I've had," she says, adding, "I'm a very lucky, very blessed person.”

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The Acolyte airs Tuesdays on Disney+.

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