January 30, 2001 -- The cast of the Matrix films is getting better-looking by the moment. Comely singer Aaliyah, who proved her acting chops in Romeo Must Die, has joined the sci-fi franchise for Warners/Village Roadshow Pictures and producer Joel Silver.
The plot of the highly anticipated sequels is closely guarded, but Variety reports that Aaliyah will play a character named Zee, who will gain prominence in the third installment.
She joins returning cast members Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and Hugo Weaving. Jada Pinkett Smith is another new recruit — she'll play Fishburne's love interest, Niobe.
Sibling directors Larry and Andy Wachowski are reportedly still looking for an Asian martial arts star to kick the films' action up a notch. They have already been turned down by Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
Aaliyah just wrapped her second film, the vampire flick Queen of the Damned, in which she plays the title role.
The 22-year-old singer, whose full name is Aaliyah Haughton, hails from Detroit and released her first album, Age Ain't Nuthin but a Number, at age 15, which she followed with 1996's One in a Million. Her most recent single, "Try Again," was part of the Romeo Must Die soundtrack and earned her a Grammy nomination.
Back-to-back shoots of the Matrix sequels begin in March in Australia.