Will Smith turned down The Matrix
- Bang Showbiz
- 15 February 2019
Will Smith has revealed he turned down the lead role of Neo in 'The Matrix' as he wasn't impressed with the film's pitch and so chose to do 'Wild Wild West' instead
Will Smith turned down 'The Matrix' for 'Wild Wild West' because he wasn't impressed with the film's pitch.
The 50-year-old actor revealed that although he's "not proud" of his decision after meeting the film's writers, Lana and Lilly Wachowski, he chose not to make the film, which was hailed by critics at the time as "the most influential action movie of the generation", something he regrets to this day after he saw Keanu Reeves play protagonist Neo in the film.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said: "All right this is one of them stories I'm not proud of but it's the truth. I did turn down Neo in 'The Matrix'.
"They came in and it was like they'd only done one movie, I think it was called 'Bound'. And they came in and they made a pitch for 'The Matrix'. As it turns out they're geniuses. But there's a fine line between genius and what I experienced in the meeting."
Mimicking the writers at the meeting, the 'Suicide Squad' star said: "So, dude, we're thinking like, imagine you're in a fight and then you, like, jump. Imagine if you could stop jumping in the middle of the jump. But then, people could see around you."
Looking unimpressed, Will admitted: "So I made 'Wild Wild West'."
The 'Men In Black' star has nothing but praise for Keanu's performance in the 1999 film and the sequels as well as Laurence Fishburne, who portrayed Morpheus.
He said: "I'm not proud of it, but ... Keanu [Reeves] was perfect. Laurence Fishburne was perfect."
Although Will missed his chance to play Neo, he joked that due to changes in casting if he had been in the film, he probably did fans a "favour".
He quipped: "If I had done it – because I'm black – then Morpheus wouldn't have been black because they were looking at Val Kilmer.
"I was going to be Neo and Val Kilmer was going to be Morpheus, I probably would've messed 'The Matrix' up, I would've ruined it. So I did y'all a favour."