Will Smith reveals why he didn’t play Neo in 'The Matrix'

Lawrence Kim
February 15, 2019

To put things in perspective, The Matrix (1999) grossed over $463 million worldwide on a $63 million budget; the sequel, The Matrix Reloaded (2003), raked-in $742 million; and the final film of the franchise, The Matrix Revolutions (2003), brought in $427 million. He describes the pitch being after he made Men in Black. He was in the middle of a critical and commercial hot streak following Bad Boys, Independence Day, and Men in Black.

'As it turns out they're geniuses.

It was at this point in the YouTube video that Smith turned his baseball cap backwards and reenacted the pitch meeting, acting as the Wachowskis.

Will Smith is giving his fans the real reason why he turned down a leading role in The Matrix for Wild Wild West.

Will Smith also thinks Keanu Reeves was the flawless cast and doesn't feel the movie would have turned out as well, had he taken the role.

While he added that he wishes he had given the role a shot, he stressed that Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne did amazingly in the film. "If I had done it, because I'm black, then Morpheus wouldn't have been black", he said. But while Smith has some regrets, he thinks it was all for the best considering how flawless Reeves and Laurence Fishburne were in their roles. "They were looking at Val Kilmer".

"I did turn down Neo in The Matrix", Will admitted, saying he wasn't proud of his decision!

"'And then, we're gonna invent these cameras, and then people can see the whole jump while you're stopping in the middle of the jump'", the actor continues, before joking: "So I made Wild Wild West".

'I probably would've messed The Matrix up, I would've ruined it. It was a misstep that he, and everyone else, can trace back to The Matrix pitch meeting, in which the Wachowskis attempted to sell the biggest blockbuster star on their high concept movie. "I did y'all a favor", he concludes. "Ruled by increasingly ghoulish special effects", writes Janet Maslin for The New York Times. "It cares far more about herding audiences into theaters than about what they hear or see".

Watch Smith's full animated explanation above.

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